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Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes: Understanding The Cultural Implications of Your Marketing Choices

Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes: Understanding The Cultural Implications of Your Marketing Choices

When you’re working hard on building your business, it can consume all of your attention. All you think about is what you can do to attract customer attention, convert that attention into sales, and keep those customers so satisfied they keep coming back – all the while telling their family and friends how wonderful your business is, just for good measure. As a result, entrepreneurs, both new and well-established, can develop a kind of tunnel vision where it’s easy to lose sight of what branding and marketing decisions mean in the larger world.

This recently happened to Yum brands. The mega company (they own Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut – chances are you’re familiar with their work) is in the process of opening a new chain of restaurants called Banh Shop, featuring Vietnamese cuisine and the tagline “Saigon Street Food”.

Here’s what the restaurant logo looks like:


Do you see the problem? That giant red star in the middle of the logo was the emblem of the Communist North Vietnamese government. Saigon was the capital of South Vietnam. The two countries were locked in a bitter war that lasted more than 20 years, until South Vietnam fell and the country was reunited. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people fled the country in the years to follow; many of these people form the community that today is an enthusiastic target market for banh mi and other regional dishes.

Guess how they feel about seeing their enemy’s symbol prominently featured in a restaurant logo? Ten points if you said “Not especially hungry, thank you.” In Yum’s defense, they did address the issue and change the logo once a social media campaign (#BanhShopLogoChange) brought the matter to their attention – but the point was that this never needed to happen.

An integral part of the creative process for any business is to periodically step back and look at all of your messaging and say, “How does this look to our customers?” It doesn’t matter if your CEO loves an idea and your creative head thinks it’s pure genius: if your customers find it offensive or hurtful, it’s just not going to fly. Don’t get trapped in your tunnel vision. Getting stars in your eyes can be wonderful if you’re seeking romance – but if you’re trying to build a business, it can be catastrophic.

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office