Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Brand New Year – Take a Fresh Look at Your Brand

By Shara Bohach

The new year offers the perfect resolution opportunity to re-evaluate your brand. To take a look back on the past year and realign your efforts for the year ahead.

Personally, we visit hundreds of food and beverage establishments each and every year. Some are just opening and making their culinary mark, while others are well established and well known. They range from the local right down the road to treasured new finds discovered in our travels. As brand marketers, we cannot help noticing, evaluating, analyzing, and discussing brands everywhere we go. It’s just a hazard of the profession.

The most rewarding is when we encounter a brand that we feel has hit the mark and has been executed in all the right ways. No detail too small, everything considered and aligned to the brand. Some are extremely creative, while others are simple and elegant. But overall, there is no question that they know who they are. As customers we are immersed in their distinct message, design look, and interior space. In print and online the brand is defined. Language, tone and design cohesively communicate the same essence.

A successful brand is not the repetitive use of logo, graphics and message on everything. It is an evolving integration of elements that stay true to a defined feel and tonality. They uphold a consistent look and tone in every communication that makes them both recognizable and memorable.

Take a moment and resolve to evaluate your own brand.

The Brand
Many think their logo is their brand, and it undoubtably does a lot of the heavy lifting, however your brand consists of so much more. Every marketing impression creates it. Your brand is essentially what people think and feel about your company. Can you list a few meaningful words that represent your business. Are you about integrity, service, quality, reliability, simplicity? Think about what your business strives to do better than anyone else. Consider a farmers market known for always having the freshest, local produce; a modern, upscale restaurant with inspired preparations and impeccable service; a gourmet product with a reputation of only natural, organic ingredients. This is what you become known for. It's your brand promise to your customers.

Elevator Pitch
Now formulate those few words into a few sentences with a distinct tone and you'll have your “elevator pitch”. This is your answer to “What do you do?” It is not a tagline, positioning statement, or mission statement… although it does play into all of them. The pitch serves as the beginning to your unique story.

The Message
It is critical to stay in front of your customers. Put together a marketing calendar for the year. Plan out a healthy dose of creative, compelling promotions or events, and intriguing communications just to stay in touch and on their minds. The key is to stay visible. Be first after the holidays when nothing else is going on and cabin fever starts setting in. Understand the audience you want to reach and the language they speak when crafting your marketing communications. Don't talk young to an older audience and vice versa. Be succinct. You do not want to frustrate your audience with cryptic marketing messages.

Refresh When Needed
The best thing you can do for your brand is to define it and stay true to it. However, sometimes a brand starts to stale. It might look outdated, or the business focus may change. If you feel that's true, it may be time for a refresh. You might modernize the design elements and color palette or change up some language to better reflect the brand’s evolving personality.

Whether you have limited budget and time, or you have plenty of both, basic principles remain the same to making a lasting impression and cultivating a brand. Stay focused and true. Evolve and know your audience. Avoid adding conceptual noise – distracting elements everywhere to grab attention. These compete for attention, diluting your core message. Always have fun with the journey and stay creative.

Shara Bohach is Owner and Creative Director at Unity Design, Inc. a design firm that specializes in building brands for the culinary industry. In business since 2000, Unity Design has carried out every imaginable type of project from logos to packaging to websites to trade show graphics and all things in-between. Shara has been an active Les Dames d’Escoffier member for over 10 years. Unity Design, Inc. at 440-516-9688 | www.unitydesign.biz

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

COFFEE HARVEST, April 2015



Our delicious, home grown Arabica blend! Yield: 2 miniscule espresso cups of deliciousness. So much work, but worth it! Sharing a few photos of the process. I wish we would have gotten a photo of the super fragrant flowers that started it all.

Monday, August 31, 2015

REAP the Benefit 2015, “Night on the Farm”

Reprinted with permission from Les Dames d'Escoffier Cleveland's blog "Dame du Jour"
By Cynthia Schuster Eakin | Photo By Eric Eakin

REAP the Benefit 2015, “Night on the Farm” welcomed 350 guests into the Ohio City Farm to benefit The Refugee Response in Northeast Ohio.

Cleveland Dames Paula Hershman, Marla Monzo Holmes, Maggie Harrison, Shara Bohach, and Carol Hacker lended their hands as volunteers throughout the evening.

The Refugee Response empowers refugees to become self-sufficient and contributing members of their new community. Services offered by The Refugee Response include home tutoring, an academic scholarship program and the Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program (REAP). Managing sites at both the Ohio City Farm and Urban Community School, the organization employs farm trainees. These trainees have cultivated and distributed more than 20,000 pounds of produce and have supported the weekly delivery of food to 119 community supported agriculture (CSA) members this past year. Produce grown on the farms is available to trainees and their families, donated to hunger centers, sold on-site at a retail stand and purchased by contract from a host of local restaurants.

Several of the chef and restaurant partners attended the “Night on the Farm” to prepare seasonal cuisine. Music and dance was provided by members of Cleveland’s Bhutanese and Burmese communities. The highlight of the evening was the introduction of Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, who has dedicated his life’s work to spreading the philosophy of non-violence. A journalist, activist, author and “peace farmer,” Arun Gandhi’s work in social and economic justice has touched millions throughout the world.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Breckenridge Tap House @ Oscar's – An elevated taco experience

Don't you love when you have this gut feeling about a place and it pays off better than you even expected?

Taking a day off after three straight days of amazing Colorado skiing, we decided to lazily meander Breckenridge's busy Main Street. It’s a street packed to the gills with various coffee houses, boutiques, pubs and restaurants. A day can easily slip by in the dizzying array of tantalizing scents, sights and sounds. We were drawn to Oscar’s of Breckenridge – Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey – and their Tap House with its rustic, cool decor, and decided on a quick (if a bit early!) beer. With 34 beers on tap, you're sure to find something interesting to try. We went for local brews, and while enjoying them glanced over the menu and were intrigued. We weren’t hungry, so we continued weaving our way thru the town. All the while we kept thinking about Oscar's menu. We knew they had a great happy hour, so it was inevitable we would go back and conclude our day there. Their menu states “An elevated taco experience…” and is right on. It is amazing to have so much precise flavor complexity in every single taco bite.

We started with the Chips and Guac. So good and fresh. Served with a roasted red pepper sauce on the side. We had several of their creative ala carte taco offerings: Blackened Mahi Mahi, Slow Braised Carnitas, and Chef's Choice Seasonal Sautéed Veg tacos. Every single ingredient had its place and stood out, while being the perfect complement to every other ingredient.

Our server, Ashaley Lynn Reynaga also deserves a huge round of applause for being both knowledgeable of the entire pub/restaurant, and for being so accommodating with our usual barrage of menu, ingredient and restaurant questions. She really made the experience.

Oscar's was that unexpected surprise on our trip – of being drawn somewhere and ending up with a truly memorable experience. We love when that happens. Don’t you?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Certified Organic at Frickaccio's

What do diatomaceous earth and fish bladders have in common? You'd have to have attended Monday night's Les Dames d'Escoffier meeting at Frickaccio's in Fairview Park to know!

Photo by Gloria Kemer
Frickaccio's Owner, Dame Terry Frick and Chef Todd Rothman prepared a fantastic evening for lucky Cleveland Dames, full of demonstrations and tips for healthy and delicious vegan cooking, served with vegan wine.

Vegan wine? Isn't all wine vegan? Actually, no it is not. Dame Maggie Harrison educated us on the various methods used to fine (or filter and clarify) wines, which include straining it through dried egg whites or, less commonly, dehydrated fish bladder. Vegan wines use an alternate method. When seeking out vegan or vegetarian wines, one should look for un-fined wines, however, this is not something one can simply find on the label. Maggie noted Barnivore.com as a terrific resource for vegan wine, beer and liquor.

Oh, and if you are looking for gluten-free wines, seek out unoaked varietals. Oak barrel produced wines use wheat paste.

Dinner consisted of an abundant progressive tasting menu, balancing between lighter and heartier dishes, with explanations of flavors, ingredients, and processes along the way. Dames tried various gluten-free and vegan breads and spreads, an organic veggie pizza bagel, Chef Todd's vegan version of a crab cake (made with shredded hearts of palm), portobello bisque, strawberry / hazelnut salad, vegan paprikash, and an almond milk "ice cream" and flourless chocolate cake.

At the conclusion of dinner, Terry demonstrated making fresh almond milk in the Vitamix.

She then took us on a tour of the new facility and kitchen, and introduced us to Helga, her workhorse of a mixer! Frickaccio's does all of its baking on-site and sends product out to its West Side Market store and retailers, including Heinen's, whom she cites as a terrific partner. Frickaccio's offers around 10 varieties of certified-organic pizza dough balls, including gluten-free They are also trying something new with the new location – an eat-in cafe. Chef Todd looks to introduce creative vegan fare to the cafe-style menu.

Thank you, Frickaccio's, for hosting such an interesting, informative, and tasty evening!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The 5th Annual Brite Winter Celebration in Ohio City

Located in Cleveland's Ohio City Market District, the Brite Winter Festival is a festival of music, art, food, games and more. The attraction takes place both indoors and outdoors…. yes outdoors in the middle of February. Multiple intimate stages were set up throughout the area. Large warming fire pits huddled the masses as band after band, local and national, rocked the cold from the air with their original music. All local establishments participate, making Ohio City heat up on a cold Cleveland winter night.

We had no set plan other than finding a parking spot as quickly as possible and getting out into the evening. Parking is a bit of a challenge when more than 20,000 people descend on an area surrounding the West Side Market at West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue, but we got really lucky and followed someone who was leaving to their car. We grabbed a beverage from an outdoor Great Lakes Brewery tent and got into the music right away. Strolling through the event there is much to see. Art on display or being created… games, food trucks, people. We stopped for a moment, enjoying the sight of thousands of others enjoying yet another fantastic event in Cleveland. No one seemed to care that is was only 8 degrees out, we were embracing the offering of this great city and all the people who made this amazing event happen. The air was still, everyones' frozen breath evaporating into night air, and we were warm and part of something that was just cool. We thought of how it must feel to serve ice cold beer with frozen beer-soaked hands and gloves all night. How one's bare hand might feel holding the neck of their frozen guitar. How those who did never showed it. They just rocked it out and we can stay it was truly appreciated. A thank you to all. We braved the cold, only stopping inside to catch our final act at the Great Lakes Brewery Tasting Room stage. We were simply blown away by the talent of the bands we saw. Wish we could have seen more of them. Here are a few that we especially enjoyed.


Sidney York from Alberta, Canada played on the outdoor Town Hall Stage at 8:00 pm. We sat amidst the firepits and sipped Southern Tier's deliciously dessert-like Creme Brulee Beer. By the end of the performance we were on our feet dancing up front. Fronted by two females, they easily won the crowd over with their high-energy, sweet, addicting electro-pop.
The Ridges from Athens, Ohio played on the considerably warmer Great Lakes Brewing Co. Tasting Room Stage at 9:30 pm. They are an orchestral folk rock band, combining guitars with upright bass, multiple cellos, and other strings. Very cool.

The festival began at 4pm, with outdoor activities until 11pm Establishments continued until 1am If you want to experience something truly special in Cleveland, make it a point to get out to this annual event next year. There is just something about everyone being in the same "stay warm" situation together that makes this event shine so brightly.

Brite Winter is free and open to all. Big thanks to many winter loving sponsors and supporters.
Ohio City Market District – Cleveland, Ohio
www.britewinter.com

For some more reading on the event and the details check this out.

We apologize for the shaky nature of our photography… it was 8 degrees!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Hour at Light Bistro

If you're looking for a really nice happy hour with a chic ambience and great food and drink specials, stop in at Ohio City's Light Bistro. The bar food menu items are $5 during happy hour, and it's not a small list. There is a nice range of choices from a mac and cheese of the day to a specialty burger. We had the very tasty oven-dried tomato pesto flatbread and the fried clams. There are featured wine pours (a red and a white) for $5, outrageously inexpensive beer and many interesting cocktail specials, too. And bonus – it goes past 6pm! Happy Hour is offered Monday – Friday from 2:30 – 7pm. Of course, the dinner menu looked sumptuous too, but we had a date with Ingenuity Fest.

We used to go to Light Bistro all the time for the Vegetarian dinners, but thought they had discontinued them. We were happy to find out they do still run them, they just do not send out emails any more. So we liked them on Facebook to be in the know.

We also learned about their upcoming new restaurant in Hudson, Peachtree Southern Kitchen & Cocktails, which is now on our list to try when it opens this November. We wish them the best on their new endeavor.

Unity Design is a print and online design firm that specializes in the restaurant and culinary industry.