Restaurant Rebranding & Marketing
Johnny’s Pizza House
A pizza brand legendary in existing markets, but had no equity in new ones was in need of a rejuvenation from its core passion through how that passion is communicated to the world. Vigor helped find and fuel the brand’s point of differentiation: Sharing.
The Johnny’s Pizza House challenge was multi-faceted. The brand was communicating with a dated image that had no elements of differentiation in an aggressive category in the restaurant industry. The Vigor team needed to figure out what made the Johnny’s Pizza House brand experience completely unique and what got people so passionate about it. In addition, the Vigor team was challenged to:
- Pinpoint key elements of the existing brand that had strong brand recognition in current markets.
- Garner understanding and key insights on what the true
passion for Johnny’s Pizza House was for customers and
- Craft a repositioning strategy for the brand’s future including a implementation into new units and retrofitting existing units.
- Redesign the brand identity with a focus on maintaining elements with brand equity while reinforcing the new passionate purpose.
- Develop a robust toolkit for building upon the brand touch points across multiple media.
- Create a vibrant image of owned graphic elements that can be applied across new markets to create brand awareness and loyalty rapidly.
- Rethink the marketing strategy to reduce dependence on deal marketing initiatives.
Pizza is a hard sector to be in. Easily brands are reduced to deal marketing in order to edge out competition. Johnny’s was no different, but they had something more the brand–36 units strong, 10 of which were franchised– had yet to identify and bolster. At the heart of the concept was a deeper purpose they were living without even realizing it: Community spirit and giving back. Johnny Huntsman started his pizza restaurant because he couldn’t fit people in his home any longer. He gave so much it became necessary to add space. The brand was built on this passion.
Our key insights garnered from our discovery work found that beyond delicious pizza, the people in every locale loved Johnny’s because they were incredibly ingrained in the community. Whether it was concessions at children’s sporting events, or generous fundraising opportunities, every Johnny’s location gave a lot to the community. It all stemmed from Johnny himself, an icon who doesn’t have a lot of time left with us. The team realized the need to immortalize Johnny in spirit, so with a focus on their newly defined passionate purpose the Vigor brand team got to work on delicately shifting the restaurant’s momentum. The ideal of Let’s Share a Slice™ was established.
Through our efforts we crafted a new brand identity that captured the spirit of sharing through the eyes of Johnny. This beacon of giving was easily grasped by the internal stakeholders, which made it easy to onboard the employee-owned company 100+ strong. With their buy-in, the rollout was not only smooth, but also highly successful. The first location to carry Vigor’s newly designed look opened with the largest numbers ever in the history of the restaurant.
The Vigor team compiled the brand’s graphic elements from logo sets, typography, and colors, to tone of voice and interior design elements. The toolkit allowed for current locations to easily begin retrofitting the look while new locations could build unique experiences that stayed in brand.
Project Notes & Results
- The rebranding campaign won recognition from the American Marketing Association in the form of an AMY Award in early 2015
- The flagship location which was the first to carry the completely new identity launched with the biggest day in sales the brand has ever seen
- Johnny’s below-the-line marketing studio has been successfully implementing the brand throughout other touch points using the brand standards successfully showcasing a unified front moving forward into the future