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CAROLINA, Puerto Rico – Two years ago, the Broaster Co. had an image problem. After decades in business, the biggest challenge to the inventor of the pressure-frying method of cooking chicken wasn't selling its products, but rather guiding operators through unclear program organization.
This year, Broaster kicked off both its milestone 60th anniversary and the completion of a major overhaul that includes streamlining operations for its distributors and the retailers that offer its products. The Beloit, Wis.-based company unveiled the rebrand during its biannual 2014 Distributors Conference, held Feb. 18-20 at the El San Juan Resort & Casino in Puerto Rico.
"The main reason for [the rebrand] was a better brand delineation in the eyes of the consumer and also for the trade," said Broaster's Director of Marketing Chad Vendette. Convenience stores in particular were kept in mind during the rebranding process, and the company expects c-store retailers that offer Broaster products to see positive results. "What they will get out of it is better consumer recognition and consumer expectation."
The rebrand includes a new look through the adoption of a single updated logo that replaces multiple variations of its previous logo. Two new slogans also crystallize what Broaster offers retailers: Genuine Broaster Chicken is "Chicken Perfected," while the Broaster Express Program is "Why People Cross the Road."
Introduced at the conference, the slogans "grew out of what consumers were telling us," Vendette said. "Chicken Perfected" is meant to reflect the company's brand promise that while it may have imitators, Broaster provides the best fried chicken available. The Broaster Express slogan is a reminder that "people will go out of their way to purchase our products."
A Unified Banner
As part of its rebrand, Broaster plans to add value by consolidating its offerings into four distinct brands under a single banner:
- Broaster Express – This branded program is designed for operators that want to offer customers a full line of grab-and-go foods, snacks and appetizers while taking advantage of the branded program name recognition. Stores can build their menu from the most popular Broaster items and choose from easy-to-use pressure fryers or ventless fryers that occupy minimal floor space. Branded packaging supplies and promotional items are included in the program.
- Genuine Broaster Chicken – Typically sold as a menu item at restaurants and other retailers, Genuine Broaster Chicken must be cooked using Broaster equipment and proprietary marinades, seasonings and coatings.
- Broaster Equipment – Broaster pressure fryers are available to retailers whether or not they offer Broaster-branded programs. The company recently upgraded its fryers to offer SmartTouch controllers, which include a complete library of preset cook times and product photos along with other features. Broaster also offers a line of other equipment, such as display cases and holding cabinets.
- Broaster Foods – This program offers a variety of ready-to-cook frozen food items for the operator, including shrimp, mozzarella sticks and potato wedges. Operators do not have to be licensed or use Broaster equipment to use Broaster Foods on their menu.
The Online Experience
The company's upgrade isn't just limited to business operations, either. Broaster gave its website a complete overhaul, improving navigation and offering better resources to distributors, retailers and customers alike. "A website is the brand's front door," said Amy Garrard, account manager at Foodmix Marketing Communications.
The new website, www.broaster.com, serves as a portal and features a web store where distributors can order printed-on-demand brand materials and point-of-purchase materials, such as customizable menu boards. The site was also specifically designed to be more consumer friendly by offering nutrition and product information and more. "It's a modernization of who Broaster is," Vendette said. "We tried to [inform consumers] without overwhelming them with too much information."
The company is embracing mobile technology as well with a locator app that's expected to be released this month for Apple and Android devices. The consumer-facing app is designed to solve what Vendette calls "a location problem." It lets customers find the nearest Genuine Broaster Chicken and Broaster Express operator locations, and distinguishes between the two.
Distributors from all over the United States gathered at the conference, which began with a speech from keynote presenter Bruce Turkel on the "Power of the Brand." Turkel, an advertising and branding expert who serves as CEO of Turkel Brands, and has worked with companies such as Nike and the Discovery Channel, discussed the "attention age" and the ways in which consumer perception matters as much as -- or more than -- a brand's function.
By taking steps such as making a business about the customers, keeping things simple and focusing on winning hearts before minds, companies can build their brand value -- and "brand value creates desire," Turkel said.
On the final day of the conference, Convenience Store News Field Editor Angela Hanson gave a presentation titled "The Convenience Store Industry: Key Trends for 2014." She discussed the major challenges and opportunities c-store operators will face this year, especially in the foodservice category where retailers can benefit by closely examining their customer demographics and adjusting their offerings to match the way consumers eat meals and snacks.
The conference also featured a mini trade show that introduced distributors to the new aspects of the Broaster rebrand. Along with delving into the details of the updated brands and mobile offerings, attendees examined updated equipment and signage, and learned ways businesses can continue to find success with Broaster.