Living up to ‘ultimate’
Rebranding any brand is almost always a complex exercise, you have to weigh up the value of the brand’s history in comparison to its vision for the future, in order to properly assess the degree of change needed. But this complexity is further amplified when the brand has deep roots in the ethnic culture and heritage of a country. The brand’s impact is then not just measured in business terms but in its responsibility to hold true to the past, almost being a bastion of the heritage of a people.
When we were approached in mid-2012 to look at rebranding Imbizo Shisanyama, it already had an incredibly strong founders story. From its humble beginnings operating out of a cargo container, it had distinguished itself beyond the usual ‘Shisanyama’ experience to being a popular venue for locals, business people, and tourists alike.
However, their branding at the time seemed to not be properly considered and it had a curio shop feel to it, which undermined the brand’s positioning. There was also confusion on the naming of the brand - was it Imbizo or was it ‘Busy Corner’, a name that the patron’s bestowed on the restaurant.
After a few consultations with the client we determined a few key objectives for the rebranding:
Imbizo wants to position itself as an approachable, yet classy African braai experience. It needed to say African without saying ‘Safari Resort’ or ‘Curio Shop’.
The brand’s personality needed to exude style, class and dignity.
With the restaurant's 15-year anniversary coming up, a sense of heritage in the branding was now critical.
We looked at elements that are central to the brand’s experience and identified; socialising (the human element) and the open fire, which is so central to the braai experience. We combined these to convey a feeling of energy and movement. The design’s strength lies in its connection to the flame and it’s positioning of the brand as approachable and people-friendly while achieving a good balance of class and exclusivity.
The new brand identity was a completely new departure for the brand yet it was met with an exceptionally positive response. Almost fatefully timed with the 15-year anniversary, the slogans ‘Africa’s Ultimate Braai Experience’ and ‘Style, Class and Dignity’ have become more than just branding elements standing for everything the brand was, is and hoped to be.
Working with us over the last 4 years the brand has been firmly positioned as a premium African venue. Attracting top African artists and DJ’s as well as high-end lifestyle and alcohol brands wanting to associate themselves with ‘Africa’s Ultimate Braai Experience.’
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