Shawn “Big Shake” Davis started working in a restaurant kitchen when he was 12. Now, he’s a culinary entrepreneur with a growing roster of television appearances and a host of brands to his name – including his newest venture to hit Lexington, Kentucky, Big Shake’s Hot Chicken.
What started in a small storefront in Franklin, Tennessee is now a franchise with its sights on world domination. Good news: The food is great. If you haven’t been there yet, you’re playing yourself.
The Big Shake’s team came to us for strategy, design, and social media. Together, we rebranded Big Shake’s with a new strategic and visual direction with tangible roots in Shawn’s story and a flexible look for the future.
Strategy: Positioning Shawn “Big Shake” Davis
The truth is that Shawn’s story is complicated. He is most well known for his appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank, but he was not selling this product. His family of brands is called CBS Foods, or Chef Big Shake Foods. But that company does not include his hot chicken restaurant chain. How can we tell his story clearly, and orient everything around the product that he is selling at Big Shake’s Hot Chicken?
Shawn has a lot in common with the men and women in the picture above. He is the namesake of his brand, and he invented the unique recipes that distinguish his product. Like Bobby Flay, his name is stamped on products outside of his restaurants. Like Colonel Sanders, his authentic recipe is at the core of the Big Shake’s experience. But, like Steve Ells, Shawn is an entrepreneur through and through. His business acumen got him where he is today.
Is Shawn Davis a mascot or a spokesperson?
We positioned him on the spokesperson side, because his entrepreneurial know-how drives his celebrity. Big Shake’s Hot Chicken is another successful venture for him. He isn’t in every ad, he isn’t signing autographs during events, and he isn’t wearing a costume. But you can’t deny that Shawn has a great personality. His charm is a huge differentiator. So, we infuse that charm throughout the brand. And at the end of the day, the brand needs to derive most of its meaning from the food. And Shawn Davis knows good food.
Design: What does a chicken actually look like?
Big Shake’s Hot Chicken was originally Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish. The original logo featured a chicken and a fish high-fiving. We loved it. But in order for the brand to grow, it needed to be simplified. So we drew new chickens. We wanted the identity to retain the original’s playful personality. It’s approachable, fun, and intriguing.
The new identity leans on that playfulness, combining a hand-drawn aesthetic with a throwback typographic treatment that is sophisticated, but not intimidating.
Social Media: Food + Fun
The fact is, the food at Big Shake’s is good. Our job is easy. All we have to do is get people in the door, and the rest is taken care of.
To that end, we relied on compelling photography. Our photographs are colorful and dynamic – effortless, as if you’ve just sat down a meal, not a staged photoshoot.
Shawn knows the customers of his Tennessee locations. We want to continue this tradition of inclusiveness and approachability by letting it inform our social media voice. Instagram captions, tweets, and Facebook posts are written in straight-forward, everyday language. They are direct, easy-to-read, and include no profanity. There are calls-to-action – but these are made in the manner of a friend, not a salesman.
The effect is a social media personality that is personable, never cold or corporate. Every Big Shake’s restaurant is an open door and table for all. Our content strategy reflects that.
We tailored content to the strengths of each platform, being careful to keep posts targeted. By publishing strong content regularly, but not over-publishing, we were able to draw in a loyal and engaged audience. We publish the most posts on Facebook, then Instagram, and on Twitter we remain strategic in our PR-related publishing.
We began implementing our social media content strategy on 6/15. Since then, every Big Shake’s social media platform has seen a significant increase in followers/likes and engagement.
When you articulate your core values, your business will change. And that’s a good thing.
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