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Brand strategy that engages customers

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

Craft a brand strategy that addresses the needs of your customers. Michelle Holmes, director of marketing at James Coney Island, talks about the tiered brand strategy they've built to engage customers on multiple levels.

Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, vice president of strategy at Savage Brands and my guest again today is Michelle Holmes, director of marketing at James Coney Island. So Michelle, I’m so glad you’re back on Brandonomics.

Michelle: Thanks for having me again.

Robin: Well, I heard you talk at a recent AMA Houston Marketing luncheon and you were kind of outlining the tiered brand strategy that James Coney Island is pursuing, so I was hoping you’d kind of really outline that for us today.

Michelle: The idea is to bring into the brand three levels of restaurants to allow us to not only be fiscally responsible but to keep true to our heritage and keep our loyal customers engaged.

Robin: So tell us, what are the three tiers?

Michelle: Our first tier will be the traditional James Coney Island that everybody’s familiar with. And then our second tier is our JCI Grill brand which is what we’re currently working on in two of our locations. This is where you’re going to start to see the design go towards what today’s trends are with the neutral pallets, the digital menu displays and more sleek and modern lines and then we’re going to ramp up and do limited table service with table runners rather than the pager service. And then our third tier is our Walker Street Grill, and this we actually named after our original location in downtown Houston. And again it’s another example of how to keep our heritage while expanding the brand.

Robin: So all of this is really about you better meeting the needs of your customers.

Michelle: Mm-hmm. Absolutely.

Robin: And growing. Wonderful. Thank you Michelle for sharing that.

Michelle: Thank you.

Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.


A Houston icon since 1923, James Coney Island has a long history of serving the best hot dogs in the city. Striving to offer service above and beyond the average quick-service dining establishments, the restaurants now offer a wide variety of food off the grill and the same great atmosphere it’s had since the Papadakis brothers founded it.

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