Say the word “brand,” and the huge ones, like Nike, Apple, or Coca-Cola come to mind right away. However, branding is just as important for local businesses and organizations (which is why we offer branding services as a Hudson Valley marketing agency). Branding comes down to people remembering your business.
Thanks to Google Trends data, we can tell which new Hudson Valley businesses were remembered by the most people in 2016 (in the form of Google searches). These local brands had the biggest increases in being searched for by name + city between January 2016 and now.
Here are the requirements for this list:
- The brand or business location had to have been launched in the last 12 months
- The brand name had to start the year with zero or little name recognition on Google
- No national chains allowed
- No geography or cities in the business name
- The number of searches for the brand name + city increased by 400% or more in the last 12 months
- The business is located in a city within 30 miles of Kingston Creative headquarters
Onto the list:
Stock Up took root in Beacon in February as a deli, cafe and BBQ that’s a little off the beaten path; it’s tucked into a residential area a few blocks away from Beacon’s main strip.
In addition to having impeccable deli and charcuterie cred (the owners also are of Marbled Meat Shop in Cold Spring), their outdoor branding game is on point: they cleared away the Boars Head umbrellas and patio furniture, put up a really readable sign with a pretty logo, and have fun chalkboard art.
Read More: The Scoop on Stock Up (A Little Beacon Blog)
In 2014, New York State legalized highly-regulated uses of medical marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and severe disability. As a result, five companies were licensed in the state to grow, develop and dispense medical marijuana products.
Etain, a mother and daugher-owned startup, was one of them, and on January 7, 2016, they opened a dispensary just outside of Kingston. Owing equally to the novelty and desperate need for the services that they offer, they were one of Kingston, NY’s breakout brands despite having their advertising heavily regulated by the state.
Read More: Modern Family: How a mother and her daughters are navigating New York’s tough MMJ market (Marijuana Business Magazine)
Founded by a trio of Kingston, NY culinary veterans, PAKT bills itself as an “eclectic southern restaurant” with food that’s a “little bit comfort, a little bit healthy and a lot bit good” across from the UPAC theater in Kingston’s Midtown Arts District.
The location, food, personalities of the owners, and homespun logo all fit perfectly together; PAKT is a brand that sticks with you, and the name is easy to remember.
FULL DISCLOSURE: PAKT sells our coloring books.
Read More: Ten Midtown Kingston Restaurants That Are Feeding our Economy (Kingston Creative)
Redwood is billed a “west coast joint in uptown Kingston,” located on North Front Street. It’s a highly-trafficked, visible location, and the restaurant and rooftop deck generate lots of word-of-mouth, so it’s only natural that searches for “redwood kingston ny” went through the roof in 2016. It’s the perfect meetup spot before and after a Stockade FC game or the Kingston Farmers Market (where they often source prix-fixe dinners from).
FULL DISCLOSURE: We did Redwood’s branding and logo design.
Read More: Redwood… and a Stairway to Heaven (Kingston Happenings)
Located on the southeastern edge of Ulster County, just south of the Walkway Over The Hudson, the Marlboro/Milton area has a real cluster of regionally-sourced restaurants and nationally-known wineries. Perch is the latest, launched by the owner of Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill in Cold Spring.
They’re tucked back a little bit from the main road in Marlboro with unassuming signage, so their brand is built on the word-of-mouth that they’re a champion of local sourcing: Quattro Game Farm, Sprout Creek, Highland Sausage (among others) for meat, Benmarl, Glorie Farm, Millbrook, Robibero, Tousey and Warwick Valley for wine, and too many to name for beer.
Read More: Bringing it Home to Perch (Valley Table)
New Paltz, NY
2016 was a crazy year for the New Paltz restaurant scene. Rock & Rye Tavern at the Locust Tree Golf Course and Shea O’Briens both closed; the manager from the latter took over the former and turned it into Garvan’s Gastropub, a low-key Irish pub housed in a building that was built in 1759. They quickly built up a fanbase with their personal approach; Garvan is the very amiable, visible, authentically Irish face of the brand.
Read More: Garvan McCloskey will open his new restaurant, Garvan’s, this month (New Paltz Times)
Poughkeepsie is a big-time deli town (just think about the line at the Rossi deli at lunchtime), and there was a real hunger for a non-chain or franchise to open on Route 9. Enter Cibo, which already had a lot of brand equity from their successful Fishkill location.
There isn’t much about them online, but judging from Google, Facebook, Yelp and Tripadvisor, it’s already a tried-and-true fast and healthy-ish lunch option for students and workers who are located near the Galleria mall.
Read More: Cibo (Yelp)
Located right around the corner from Cibo, Gravity Vault is part of a regional climbing gym franchise with a handful of locations, so it makes the cut here. With 13,000 square feet of gym, and a development process that took a couple of years, there was a lot of built-up anticipation for their soft opening in January in 2016; so much so, that their owner Mark Davidson said they didn’t have to do any advertising until the night before.
Part of the reason is that they’re offering a unique indoor climbing experience; unlike most climbing gyms around here, they’re using brightly-colored, uniquely styled Walltopia climbing walls and holds, which are considered exotic in the Northeast. Their owner has said they want to merge the world of casual climbing (think kids, summer camps, and birthday parties) with the rabid, local Gunks and Catskills set. Based on Google Trends, it’s been a success.
Read More: Gravity Vault Comes to Poughkeepsie (Peak Magazine)
Buns Burgers made a huge splash in the local burger scene with a simple, focused model. They only offer a few varieties of burger, a hot dog, a salad, fries, shakes, and beer and wine. The main ingredients all come from places with names; if you look them up, you’ll find that they’re within New York State. And the prices are only a couple of dollars more than what you’d get at burger-focused chains like Five Guys or Shake Shack.
They have a no-frills chalkboard menu and a simple, readable logo that makes you think Ron Swanson is working the grill. Judging from the almost universally glowing reviews, it’s working pretty well.
“This is a hamburger, made out of meat. Add ketchup if you want.”
Read More: Buns Burgers and Properly-Sized Menus (The Dinnermen)
Wappingers Falls, NY
Wappingers Falls is way more than just a stretch of Route 9; it’s also evolved into a charming destination village that has its own personality next to the Beacons, Hudsons, Rhinebecks or Woodstocks of the world. Graceland Tattoo opening in 2003 was a big part of developing that personality; earlier this year, the shop’s owner Adam Lauricella applied some of the same sensibilities to a new farm-to-table restaurant called County Fare (along with co-owner Brandan McAlpine). The best part? It’s right next door to the shop, making that post-ink beer really easy to get.
Read More: Eat and Drink Your Way Through Wappingers Falls (HVNN)
Last but not least is DC Sports, which took over a long-dormant property on Route 9 that 90’s kids remember as Fun Central. DC is already a name in the area because of their successful indoor golf course in Poughkeepsie; this new location is equal parts sports bar, golf simulator, arcade, sand volleyball court and mini-golf course. They have a big, readable sign for their Route 9 location, and word spread quickly among parents that they can have a beer while their child enjoys their birthday party.
Read More: Fun Central Location in Wappingers Reopens (With Alcohol!) (WRRV)
An authentic, memorable brand identity is almost as important as being good at what you do. It makes it easy for people to remember your name, know where to find you, Google you, visit your website, follow you on social media, become your customer and recommend you to other people.
And it’s more than logo design and signage; branding means having an authentic personality and a vibe to everything you do. That ranges from the style of Instagram photos you post, to the artwork on the chalkboard outside, to the paint on your walls, to whether you respond to Yelp reviews or not. It all adds up to being remembered by customers.
Interested in learning about our approach to branding? Check out our article, “How branding can make or break your business.”