While 2022 didn’t start off quite so different from the 21 months that preceded it, the Year of the Tiger is feeling a lot brighter here in Los Angeles. Filbert the Beaver predicted an early spring, the Rams are in the Superbowl, and Southwest announced the return of in-flight cocktails. The decline in omicron cases doesn’t hurt, either!
To be fair, 2022 started on a pretty high note. Our our branding and marketing client Wetzel’s Pretzels took a #WetzInALifetime trip to the Rose Parade. (It’s not a long trip—they can see the parade route from their corporate offices!) From our original concept drawing of the “Dough Rider” to real-life float adorned with flowers and seeds, it was amazing to see their team throwing the “W” and wearing the varsity jackets we designed — live on TV, and Instagram. Huge shout out to @ethanfromthirst for streaming the whole parade for us before heading to his food truck to sling pretzels and lemonade at the tailgate.
Speaking of in-flight cocktails (and marketing)
We’re pretty excited by the return to normalcy in air travel. The RFPs started flowing again last year, we’re expecting some big opportunities here in LA and throughout the US! The challenges faced by airport concessions over the past couple of years are mind-boggling, but some of the changes created by the crisis are bringing us closer to the airport of the future. Advance ordering and cocktail delivery are two of our favorite developments, not to mention replacing boxes of RFP binders with digital submissions.
A bright future
Our bout of optimism is helped by the bright futures of our restaurant marketing clients! Maybe it’s the vibrant Valentine’s vibes – Jason Smith’s gorgeous creations for Gigi’s cupcakes, the reimagined red velvet lattes at Mimi’s, and the perfectly pink, housemade strawberry cheesecake at Marie Callender’s. Plus, there are so many restaurant openings to market. There’s a sexy new Sol in Irvine that’s bringing serious Baja resort vibes. Followed quickly by a fun Solita in the heart of Anaheim’s stadium district for all the post-game action. And our lockdown-savior Cadoro is pivoting from home delivery to a new take-out bakery with all our favorite bread-based foods.
All things considered, the future is looking pretty bright! Wear your masks, support the restaurants you love, and we’ll see you at the Hollywood Bowl this summer! It’s their 100th anniversary and we’re just getting started on the new marketing, concession and wayfinding signage for this year.
Start Here: Why You Deserve a Brand Session
Jump in with both feet. Just keep swimming. Ready. Aim. Fire.
We’re all for moving fast and being decisive, but there’s something to be said for starting at the beginning. When creating a new business, or trying to change the direction of an existing one, it can feel like you spend all of your time talking about it. And you probably are, but are you talking about the right things?
Even if you spend every hour of the day talking about your new business, it’s important to stop, take a breath, gather the team around the table, and have a real conversation about what you’re building. Not about which sconces should go in the dining room or whether you can afford that really cool oven, but about the guiding principles of your brand.
We know that sounds heady and intangible, but it’s actually very practical. A brand session is critical to bringing your team into alignment on the big picture—it defines your true north. You may have a perfect, complete vision of your new business, but if it only lives inside your head, it’s almost impossible to transform that vision into reality. If everyone on the team has a slightly different vision of the goal, you run the risk of ending up with a mish-mash of a brand.
We kick off every branding project with a brand session for one simple reason: to define the brand in a way that brings everyone together on the same path.
The session itself is what’s really important; a guided conversation that explores the most critical aspects of your new business. We’ll dig into the areas that are key to your success, things like: the values that are the foundation of your brand, where your concept falls within the bigger market, and the things that make you stand out from your competition.
We customize each session, based on each client’s needs, but what remains the same is the results. Not only do you walk out of the room immediately after the session with a better understanding of your own brand, but but we wrap things up with a brand summary report, ready to be shared with potential investors and landlords, and incorporated into training materials.
Bottom line? It’s time to start at the beginning and build a strong foundation for your brand. Then, you can get that cool oven.
This past weekend, the 46th Walker Cup returned to California for the first time in 35 years, teeing off at the Los Angeles Country Club. The legendary golf match is a biennial team competition that pits USA against Great Britain and Ireland— three countries that sure do love a good lawn mower. The Match is held over two days as 20 amateur players vie for the team title and national pride.
The impressive grounds of Los Angeles Country Club North demanded an impressive and refined dining experience for fans and participants alike. Wolfgang Puck Catering won the dining contract with a strong proposal last year. Can you guess which LA marketing agency helped them with it? Yep, Six Degrees LA at your service. As the event drew near, we joined the marketing team to make sure the signage and print elements were also up to par.
We don’t want to brag, but we’ve had plenty of experience in both special event branding and venue branding.
Our design sensibility led us to create clean graphics for each of the food stands; the menus were packed with flavor synonymous with California and Wolfgang Puck, including wood-fired pizza, street food, and farmers market staples that showcased LA’s rich cultural core to the rest of the world. Our work kept things simple and straightforward so attendees could get back to the action on the fairway.
The trick for big events is understanding the flow of space and the variations of deliverables needed to fit it. Experience teaches you how each piece fits together, in order to drive the customer towards the product. The job of a restaurant marketing agency like us is to take the list of food offerings from Wolfgang Puck and create print-ready materials.
For this event, we created menu boards, menus for tent posts, and a brochure dining guide that helped people find food options on site. Our font choices and unique icons reflected the local, fresh energy and helped the food experience at the Walker Cup feel very SoCal— even with the sound of posh accents all around.
The weekend wrapped up with a resounding win for Team USA, bolstered by efforts from several California players, including a La Cañada native. We’d like to think we were part of the victory–maybe catching sight of our menu boards helped them feel right at home.
Photo by Harry How
If there’s one thing we recognize at Six Degrees LA, it’s that feeling good about where you eat is a must for all people. Shockingly, food tastes better when you’re not having an identity crisis and guilt isn’t choking you up! It may seem simple, but during our many years in restaurant branding, especially as a LA marketing agency with a whole range of clients, we’ve learned time and time again that the dining choices customers make reflect their emotions, desires, and yes—sometimes politics— rather than simply deciding on a food price point. To help make this more complex call, they rely on a perception of a brand from start to finish.
This past week, big restaurant branding headlines coming from Tom Colicchio’s Fowler & Wells in Manhattan and Brad Greenhill’s Katoi in Corktown, Detroit have brought the issue of naming and social responsibility to the forefront. As the NYT and Eater reported, both restaurants have come under heavy criticism for problematic monikers; their historical and cultural implications weighed on the conscience of customers and critics and, ultimately, lead to a need to re-name in order to remain loyal to the brand vision .
And then of course there’s the grumblings over Dunkin Donuts, who are playing the name-game in their own corporate way. Sometimes it’s hard not to throw up your hands and roll your eyes (Come on guys, you sell donuts— everyone knows you sell donuts), but this news cycle just confirms that ethics, ethos, and the bottom-line all drive choices to try and better represent a restaurant to a customer.
We won’t get political and dwell on whether motivations are always pure (because it’s a Monday and no one needs that kind of suffering) but as a LA marketing agency we know that branding extends beyond a name and into skills we’ve mastered— like restaurant logo design and photography revamps— and each element must reflect the brand identity. Usually the situation isn’t as extreme as the issues getting recent press attention, but our role is the same.
Clients come to us when they recognize a disconnect between where they see themselves and where customers see them, and we use strategy, aesthetics, and brand messaging to help create an experience that each guest can feel good about.
Don’t get us wrong, the big name on the sign is important. The one moniker lives beyond every medium, making it the single lasting impression of a brand. But if picking a whole new name feels like an insurmountable logistical nightmare (To-Go bag reprint? Legal footer EVERYWHERE? Bartender pocket squares, anyone?), that’s where we step in and help make adjustments to a brand identity through a whole spectrum of elements. We’ve helped with everything from VIP fundraisers to community murals to sticking logos on Magic 8 balls.
If you have the slightest inkling that you may want a name change, it should be addressed immediately. “Sooner-rather-than-later” couldn’t ring more true (Tom Colicchio and Brad Greenhill would agree, we think). There are tools we can employ to explore the possibility, from market research to guest surveys. Analytics + our instincts can help you be sure your company is making the responsible call.
Can’t wait for the data? Check out our “When Restaurant Branding Should Happen” infographic that takes our signature tongue-in-cheek approach to answering the pesky question.
In any case, fixing a perception problem starts with finding a partner that can handle the logistical and creative heat. Let’s talk— before the angry tweets roll in and well before the pain of chiseling out logos on all those beautiful engraved maple cutting boards.
Pop the champagne and toss some confetti! We’re celebrating a huge milestone with our friends at Black Angus Steakhouse – one million subscribers to their email Prime Club. That’s nearly double the number from when we updated their branding a little over three years ago. We found the sweet spot of success by connecting with Black Angus loyalists about promotions, celebrations, and a consistent flow of news about what’s going on at each of their 45 locations.
Over 200,000 members signed up in the past year, after we launched a brand new Black Angus website. When you have 50 years of steak-making history, it can be a challenge to bring your guests into the digital age with you, but we’ve proven that email is an effective way to connect restaurant guests. We see up to a 17% increase in sales in the day following a key email blast!
Our homepage redesign focused on putting the Prime Club front and center for our daily visitors and making the sign-up process simple. We designed a pop-up that was to the point – sign up for the Prime Club and receive free goodies, mainly a free birthday steak dinner. (Of course, with a sign-up offer that good, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention that in-store sign ups are also going strong.) It’s a bold offering, and one that many marketers would tell you would lead to a low-quality list, but the results say otherwise. Not only do the sales jump after each blast, but the list has low attrition and strong engagement.
To keep up the momentum, we completely revamped the design of the emails, staying on-brand with direct messaging but with a fresh photography style and bold graphic elements. We diversified our promotions, from traditional coupons and LTOs to celebrating National Hamburger Day and highlighting our newest cocktails. We successfully expanded our appeal from the everyday Black Angus diner to include a newer and younger audience (you know, that elusive millennial everyone’s fighting over).
At a time when there are so many avenues for digital marketing, we’re thrilled we’ve found success for Black Angus with organic branded content that actually inspires people to go out for dinner (or lunch, or drinks…). So cheers to steak & success – and here’s to another million members.
Some of us are of an age where we still harbor a (tiny) crush on our first supermodel. We may be all grown-up now, but Cindy Crawford gives us a little flutter in our hearts and reminds us of a time when the world was filled with possibility, and we could go anywhere and become anyone, as long as we wore our Calvins, with a cold Pepsi at hand.
by Amanda, Marketing & Strategy
This year, we’ve had several clients in need of social media strategy, and inevitably, content calendars, as part of their restaurant marketing package. So, we thought it was time to fine-tune our own content calendar template.