A delicious balancing act
Located in more affluent suburban and rural areas, the aim was to create a destination where guests could enjoy crafted food and drink, but in a local and cosy pub setting. The trickiest part would be finding the perfect balance between quality and comfort, because it would be key that visitors felt as comfortable dropping in for a coffee with a muddy four-legged friend in tow, as they were putting on their glad rags for a special night out with friends and family.
Another key challenge would be scalability. Whilst we started the project with one pub in mind (The Boat in Catherine-De-Barnes), the growth potential of this new format was already identified, making future locations across the UK an almost certainty. It was essential that the positioning had the flex to work across many pubs, in many locations, and would ultimately lead to a collection of pubs with enough uniqueness to make them compelling, yet with a format that was easily repeatable.
Haven on Earth
To ensure the new format would have longevity, we first set about defining the brand positioning and identifying how this would translate into the F&B offering, service journey and inform the all-important pub team needed to deliver it. Once pinned down, our brand positioning gave the client a clear understanding of their proposition, values and personality, as well a memorable brand essence that neatly positioned the new pubs as a Social Haven.
This established brand essence was woven into the customer journey. We mapped out opportunities for Crafted Pubs to really deliver against Social Haven through ‘Crafted Moments’ that enhance the customers experience when they visit one of the pubs, from F&B fame points to service signatures.
As creators and guardians of the brand positioning, we worked alongside the marketing and operations team to define the direction of the interior design, wrote the brief for the interior design partners, and sat on a panel to select the suggested design that best delivered against the brands proposition.
We take on our guardianship for every single Crafted Pub that is opened, ensuring each pub has the same strategic consideration as the first.
Brand positioning agreed, we next developed an identity that delivered the premium and crafted look and feel the brand demanded. The identity also needed to factor in that future locations may well have inherited pub names that were set in stone given their often centuries-long history.
On top of establishing font types, colour palettes and photographic style, the new-to-market pub format also gave our creative teams the chance to consider every single touchpoint from the get-go. It’s fair to say they ate up the opportunity, spending time developing everything from chalkboards and signage to uniforms and digital comms – finding more and more ways to bring the extra touches of craft so often missing in local pubs.
It's the little things
All too often it’s easy to overlook the importance of the humble menu. As one of the very few things a guest physically holds in their hands, we wanted to make sure the ones we developed felt appropriately crafted. Each one was designed with a focus on celebrating locality and craft, with every drinks menu made bespoke to the pub by including a map of the local area embossed into the leather cover. Because, whilst these pubs are part of a wider collection, we believed it would be these small touches that would give each one a truly independent feel.
The bigger picture
We also knew from the off that photography would be integral to bringing the Crafted Pubs brand to vibrant life. And in keeping with the theme of craft, tired and cliché stock photography was never going to be an option.
Our photography style captures food and drink in the most desirable way, by shooting up close to highlight the rich colours, textures and finishing touches that happen at the pass seconds before service. Of course, it wasn’t just the beer-battered fish and signature cocktails that needed to look their best. It was essential our photography also capture the real moments guests share when they visit, which meant a human presence in our imagery was key from the start.