Franchise brand breaks the mould to become an authentic local

Spudbar shop front south yarra

Spudbar was founded in Melbourne in 2000, born out of a frustration at the lack of a healthy, great tasting, healthy feed that was quick, convenient and value for money.

It has been on a mission from day one, to create a new category of food offer that fuses natural goodness and big flavours into the nutrient rich gem that is the steaming baked spud. The potential of the brand was clear, the question was how to realise that great potential by taking the Spudbar brand to the next level.

When we began working with Spudbar they had 9 stores around Australia and was struggling to own a space in the market compelling enough to grow the business to the next level.

We were engaged to give Spudbar a complete brand overhaul. We conducted a brand audit to look at the Spudbar brand from the inside out and a comprehensive competition and market review to look at the brand from the outside in. The more we immersed ourselves in the brand the more it became apparent that Spudbar could greatly benefit from a new direction. A direction that was truly grounded in the humble potato, and more deeply connected with a market need.

What Spudbar needed most was a reason for being and that had to come from the brand up. To achieve this we immersed ourselves in their market segment, generated some clear qualitative market insights from customers, ex-customers and non-customers, and led a brand strategy re-think to provide a clear vision for where the brand and its offer could most potently be positioned for success in the market.

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We developed the Spudbar brand charter, a roadmap defining how the brand needed to act, feel, speak and look to deliver a 360 degree experience that delivered on the newly defined brand proposition. We defined the drivers for the brand strategy as Natural Goodness, Surprisingly Delicious, Local Groove, Sassy and Easy. And we identified Spudbar’s brand personality as Real, Lively, Imaginative, Passionate and Engaging. These values and personality attributes were the driving force behind building the new look and feel. Spudbar’s brand image had to richly and evocatively reflect the brand’s proposition of local, authentic and a purveyor of potato heritage.

The key to developing the Spudbar brand identity was unlocking the cues of the visual language of one-off local cafes. Whilst these cafes seem disparate and highly individual, when explored as a group there are many similarities in the way they present themselves to market, often driven by a limited budget. The lack of polished design is a part of what identifies and differentiates these local, one-off cafes and restaurants. An example is their menus, which are often hand written on blackboards, or tiles or paper stuck to the wall, they rarely include photographs of the food. By unlocking the code of visual language for these high-loyalty, non-franchise food businesses, we developed the Spudbar brand identity to work in a similar, non-cookie cutter manner.

Spudbar store interior

Spudbar store interior

Spudbar store interior


Spudbar store

The brand identity design solution included two defining elements that work together to drive the brand experience from a visual perspective. The first is to identify each Spudbar by its location, we changed the organisational mind-set from owning multiple stores, to having local unique store in multiple locations. The stores changed from being called ‘Spudbar’, to ‘Richmond Spudbar’ or ‘Hawthorn Spudbar’, with a new emphasis on the local identifier. The second defining element was the integration of local street art into the store environment. The brand identity system we developed integrated the art work of a well known and very talented Melbourne paste-up artist. For each store a signature piece of art is created, that piece is ‘pasted’ to a prominent wall in-store and becomes a feature of the experience. The greater brand identity also incorporates a suite of ‘spud inspired’ illustrations from the same artist.

Spudbar Graphic

Spudbar graphic
The most defining visual elements of the brands identity are hand-made from the lino-print Spudbar brandmarks, the store signage and interiors, the clipboard menus and a handcrafted typeface, reflecting the D.I.Y nature of local cafes.

In designing the complete brand experience for Spudbar we have developed a suite of elements including, corporate stationary, takeaway packaging, in-store and take home menus, uniforms, internal and external signage, website, marketing collateral, Art Direction of artwork and photography and typography. We worked closely with the client and the guys from Studio Ginger to define the direction of the look for the new stores from fit-out to furnishings.


Spudbar Menus

Spudbar packaging

“The brand definition work and brand identity design Truly Deeply developed for our Spudbar chain of healthy food stores has blown the lid on the potential for our business. We believe what was previously a nine store franchise now has the market positioning, store design and brand image to expand into a significant national network. As a return on business investment I can’t rate the brand work Truly Deeply produce more highly.” says Ant Morrel Spudbar Owner & National Director of Marketing & Sales.

Spudbar’s first two branded and re-designed stores were in Richmond and Hawthorn, two inner suburbs of Melbourne. The results were a ‘dialled-up’ brand experience on all levels. Spudbar has created a space that is inviting and comfortable, a place for locals and a place that is uniquely on-brand.

The strength and long term equity of the Spudbar brand will be driven by the solid strategic framework that has been developed. The strategic framework provides the backbone for the majority of decisions the business will make day-to-day.

Strategy is often seen as a separate discipline to design. For the past 10 years we have focused on the integration of strategy and design to deliver highly unique and effective brand experiences. Spudbar demonstrates how these brand disciplines interweave to create a rich brand experience with layers of meaning and personality, that connect with the market in a powerful way.

Since the launch sales have increased by 20% month on month and continue to grow.

We would urge you to go down to the Richmond Spudbar on Swan St or the Hawthorn Spudbar on Glenferrie Rd and soak up the atmosphere.

If you would like to know more about how combining brand strategy and design can take your brand to a new level, give us a call and organise a lunch date at one of the Spudbar store, because the proof is in the Spuds.


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