Thursday, September 26

Bourbon Steak - Part Two

There are times when I feel like what I write about is so gut level obvious.

The brand should be all about the experience it offers to its customers.  Check.

That experience should be directly tied to what your brand can uniquely offer.  Check.

Consistency is key, without consistency you have no brand.  Check.

Well ... not so fast.

Over the summer I wrote about a fabulous experience I had at the restaurant Bourbon Steak in Washington DC.  Fabulous, top 10 ever.

So of course, when visiting San Francisco recently I jumped at the chance to go to Bourbon Steak there, thinking I had another fabulous experience waiting for me.  Bourbon Steak is a brand, after all.

Well ... not so fast.

It was awful.  From the very beginning to the very end, it was a disaster.  Food, service, atmosphere ... it was so incredibly loud that we couldn't even carry on a conversation.  It was awful.

Now my intention here is not to trash the brand, not at all.  But let's learn from it.  Marketing is a spectator sport, right?!?

So what seems obvious, like a brand should always be consistent, turned out to be not so obvious.  What was at one point a benchmark brand for me, suddenly fell off my list because of the inconsistencies.  I'm no longer as interested as I once was.

Truth is that I'll give it another shot for sure, but with eyes wide open.

Lesson learned?  Consistency is indeed King when building and maintaining a brand.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My new book on personal branding is out!  The Personal Experience Effect.


  1. I wonder which of the two was the actual "brand experience." Perhaps it was the second one, and the first one was the fluke? But I'm with you - the first one sounds ever so much better! And consistency is indeed King.

  2. Good point! Plus the restaurant industry is admittedly hard to keep a consistent experience meal after meal, night after night. Thanks for reading! JIM