How We Used Storytelling to Spice Up a Japanese FnB Brand

The Client
Meet SanGyu a modern-day fast food FnB brand that serves ricebowl-based Japanese dishes. Targeting Indonesian Millenials and generation z that looks for practicality, and extra elements of fun on top of their delicious everyday meals.

We’re brimming with excitement when we first taste the product, but we cannot say we’re not feeling nervous about the task, knowing that out there, many similar products are thriving in the market. Yet, we’re sure that a solid brand identity and visual direction will help the brand to go through extra mile of their true potential.

The Problem and The Strategy
As a Japanese food brand that faces intense competition, we see the main potential threat for SanGyu, is to be sunked in the sea of similar competitors. From the get-go, we know that we need to imbue our branding and visual strategy, to create a layer of differentiation that makes the brand unique, but at the same time feels relevant to it’s core target market. Relevancy, is crucial for the task because the principal that owns the brand have emphasized their intention to build strong brand efficacy in the heart and minds of the consumer.

Our Visual Exploration
We would like to paint a distinct association with the brand’s Japanese roots, that’s why our first step in our visual exploration is to gather references and study the style and characteristics of Japanese typography.

We found out that Japanese display fonts regularly share characteristics that feel light, airy, and curvy features while at the same time showing distinction on their weight. These characteristics are the exact quality that we tried to replicate and show within the finalized output of SanGyu’s logotype

Finished with the logotype, we then started to create more context within the brand. We try to find the right brand expression that could add layers of distinction to the brand while at the same time enriching the consumer journey throughout their interaction with the brand. We thendo a research for an appropriate context that can embody the fun part of the brand.

It is a matter of time until we realized that Japanese culture is rich with cute characters, fun storytelling, and witty angle throughout their brand communication. We asked ourselves, why don’t we create a similar approach, and tweak it in a way that fits the brand?

That’s why we decided to create a story-based brand expression. With three distinctive characters that we called Shiba Sankyodai (Shiba Brothers). The story that we invent revolved around them, three mysterious Shiba creatures with different skills and abilities that are adopted by an elder man with a rice restaurant.

This is the complete story that we invent
Once upon a time, the three brothers disguised themselves as abandoned puppies to look for shelter. This led to their meeting with the poor, lonesome GyuDon Chef, San. He took the brothers in as if they were his own and thoughtfully raised them. Soon, the restaurant was magically flooded with customers. Little did San know, the Shiba brothers have a secret. Blessed with hidden gifts, the Shibas silently helped San make his business prosper.

We chose Shiba as our main character due to their iconic characters and familiarity with Japanese culture. We ended up falling in love with the illustration of the characters and chose to use their tails as our logomark. Japanese’s family / clan stamp inspires the style for the logomark.

The Story, the characters, and each element of brand expression are then translated into each design touchpoint of the brand. This then resulted in a unique, fun, and remarkable brand experience for the target market, and that is the story of How We Used Storytelling to Spice Up a Japanese FnB Brand.

Special Thanks to Our Team
Art Director // Silvia Isabella
Graphic Designers // Silvia Isabella, Ahmad Ghazali, Mochamad Rizky Nurfakhrezi
Illustrator // Maria Nonita
Animator // Karyn Theo
Brand Strategist // Adrianus Killian
Supporting Designers // Febriana Guntoro

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