Evolving and taking brand ownership of being the best country bakery is a big call, but doing it in not just one town but across multiple locations is quite a feat.
Beechworth Bakery has done just that. Leveraging their provenance and heritage from the small picturesque gold-rush town in North East Victoria, Beechworth is now the quintessential country bakery that is a welcome addition to many towns.
Getting out of the city at the weekend inspired me to appreciate and share another great country brand, the Beechworth Bakery.
When you think of just about any country town, apart from the pub and general store, a good local bakery is essential and can help define the town’s image.
But few have managed to export and retain their strong reputation into other local towns as successfully as Beechworth Bakery has.
The initial brand spirit, inspired by Beechworth and traditional country charm is evident whether you are in Beechworth or in one of the newer bakeries in Bendigo, Ballarat or even Echuca.
The company now has six bakeries across Victoria and southern NSW, an annual turnover in excess of $14 million and serves more than one million customers per year.
Signature products such as the Beestings and Snickerdoodles, made with fresh real regional cream and Ned Kelly pies made with 100% lean beef from the local butcher are the starting point for an extensive menu of what they define as “scrumptious cakes, pastries, pies, breads and rolls just like Nanna used to make”.
They also do some pretty mean gourmet focaccias and sandwiches that wouldn’t be out of place in most urban cafes and are definitely not Nanna-ish.
While the product is important, it is a charismatic leader and a clear passion to create an experience that distinguishes Beechwork Bakery.
Tom O’Toole, founder of Beechworth Bakery says the brand is all about making customers ‘feel at home’. His bakeries are places where you actually want to sit, relax and spend time, not just grab and run.
The bakeries also have the right balance of traditional country spirit with contemporary appeal.
There famous classic delivery truck fits nicely with a celebration of old-fashioned values. They champion personalised service, are immersed in the local community and hero fresh local ingredients. But this doesn’t mean they shy away from modern technology.
Free Wi-Fi is in all bakeries and they have a pretty good grasp of how to best use social media and digital communications to broaden their reach beyond just local word of mouth.
The bakery also understands the value of customer insight. As with many brands, feedback can be shared through Facebook and Twitter but Beechworth also have a traditional comments box in store.
Customers are encouraged to provide feedback – good or bad. Better still, feedback is shared up on the wall in the store for all to read, just like on their social media sites.
This is supported by a 200% unconditional satisfaction guarantee, which states; “if there’s anything about your experience with us that didn’t go well, please tell us about it and allow us to make amends.”
I have yet to test this, as I couldn’t fault them on anything I’ve ordered on any occasion – except having to queue, as they always seem to be busy!
The only criticism I have is their lack of control of their brand identity. There seems to be no consistent brand mark, font usage or visual language. Several different versions of the brand mark exist and used across various touch-points, sometimes within the same bakery.
Beechworth Bakery has a great brand foundation but it needs a visual equities analysis. Understanding what is working against the brand, for them and what is missing (supporters, peripherals, detractors and opportunities) will help them optimise and strengthen the brand’s identity.
If you want to get out of the city and experience the Beechworth Bakery, the closest to Melbourne is in Healesville – about an hour’s drive from the CBD.
Director of Brand Strategy