The Marketing Decoder: La Brea Bakery; The company is remaking its brand image for the first time in its 25-year history

The Marketing Decoder: La Brea Bakery

The company is remaking its brand image for the first time in its 25-year history



Updated March 26, 2014 11:28 p.m. ET

La Brea Bakery, a company known for its crusty loaves sold in CostcoCOST -1.26%Albertsons and other large grocery stores, is attempting to remake its brand image for the first time in its 25-year history.

One of the largest sellers of fresh bread in the U.S., owned by Swiss baked goods company Aryzta AG ARYN.EB +1.77% , La Brea first started as a small bakery on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles.

But after its national expansion, sometimes shoppers who saw its burgundy packaging with a dough-shaped capital ‘B’ logo mistakenly thought the bread was made by the grocery store, says Ben Steele, executive creative director at Hornall Anderson, the Seattle-based branding and design firm that worked on the project.

The logo is now a “warmer” red with “more energy” to draw shoppers’ attention, says David Bates, creative director on the La Brea brand project for Hornall. The former burgundy and mauve color palette was too reminiscent of “the Cosby Show” he says.

On the logo, the “B” became lowercase with a loaf drawn into the hole of the letter. The accent is meant to make the logo feel handcrafted, a nod to how La Brea hopes shoppers feel about the bread, says Mr. Bates. The bakery’s founding year, 1989, was added to the logo as a nod to its history.

The badge-shaped logo is meant to mimic a peel—the large, wooden, spatula-like tool used to remove loaves of bread from an oven.

Paper bags that cover the bread aresimilar in texture and color to brown deli paper to give the impression the bread is wrapped up individually by a baker, says Mr. Steele. The variety of bread (whole wheat, sourdough, rye, etc.) and the slogan “Baked to be savored. Made to be shared,” wrap horizontally around the package, again to give the feeling of bread lovingly wrapped for each shopper, says Mr. Steele. They also hope customers will think of the bread as premium enough to bring to a friend’s house to share, he says.

La Brea’s president and chief executive, John Yamin, says he first came to Hornall to redesign just the packaging because the company planned to expand into savory pastries, cookies and other baked goods. But he liked the lowercase ‘b’ idea, and then decided to change the logo and brand image, he says. Lowercase cues to employees and customers the company has room “to grow up to become a capital ‘B,’ ” says Mr. Yamin.

Earlier this year, La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles, the company’s flagship bakery and cafe, reopened with exposed brick walls and other modern touches as part of the project. The original logo is painted onto an intentionally weathered brick wall outside “so it looks like it has always been there,” says Mr. Yamin. “It shows our history.”



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