Shady Maple

Unifying Brand & Revamping Website Presence

Shady Maple has the largest Smorgasbord in the USA, the largest Farm Market in PA, a 44,000-square-foot gift shop, and a bustling plaza filled with events. As an icon in Lancaster County, they also have a community presence and state-of-the-art facilities. However, in recent years, their store and smorgasbord visits began to decrease, and they wanted to grow revenue and sales. With no space on their property to expand infrastructure or create additional areas for customers to spend more money, their options seemed limited. Through extensive research, Synapse developed a marketing plan to unify Shady Maple’s branding presence and maximize customer spend during visits. This would allow Shady Maple to reach new audiences with an improved web presence that attracted a younger demographic of shoppers and diners in both local and tourist target audiences.

The Challenge

When Synapse evaluated Shady Maples’ business, we discovered a disconnect between each of Shady Maple’s offerings: Smorgasbord, Farm Market, and Gift Shop. Sporting different branding elements, logos, and marketing tactics, the three main facets of Shady Maple existed disparately and served different target audiences. After evaluating the current clientele demographics for each sect, Synapse discovered an opportunity to increase visits and average visit spending by targeting the millennial demographic. To encourage visitors to enjoy a meal at the Smorgasbord, spend some time shopping at the farm market, and even purchase a souvenir to bring home from the gift shop, Synapse decided to unify the Shady Maple brand, turning the plaza into a destination, rather than separate options for different audiences. This would be accomplished through a brand refresh including color palette changes, branding element creation, new website development, and new digital marketing campaigns.

The former Shady Maple wasn’t serving the client well by converting site visitors to in-person visitors. More than that, it wasn’t ranking in search engines to reach the many new families moving within a 60-minute radius of their location who may have been looking for a fun activity for their family, or a new place to shop. There were improvements to be made to User Flow to point visitors to a goal completion, rather than content alone.

Synapse developed a plan to attract two new audiences: Millennials and new movers, to the local vicinity. Our goal was to convince shoppers who may have never visited Shady Maple, or who had only ever visited one part of the plaza, that Shady Maple would be the ideal spot for their families to purchase their weekly groceries. From there, the goal would be to encourage them to enjoy a meal afterward at the Smorgasbord, or to do some shopping at the Gift Shop, increasing the time on site and average spend per visitor. Our CEO and strategists worked with the Board Members and C-Level Executives at Shady Maple to engineer a solution that would accomplish multiple goals.

The Solution

Synapse stepped in with a comprehensive rebranding strategy that first created an overarching direction and then an internal branding guide for the company, retiring the old, disparate logos. We worked together with C-Level Executives at Shady to develop employee materials, a new slogan, a visually pleasing, user-friendly website, an online rewards program, and cross-promotional items for each facet of the Shady Maple offering. We even stepped in to assist with the production of these items, going as far as to bring our team onsite for a photo shoot and documentary filming.

We developed a messaging strategy to entice families, couples, and singles to “Visit and Explore” the expansive Grocery store and Smorgasbord to create excitement about the experience of visiting their location. Additional messaging that we developed aligned closely with the business owner’s core values which were to “Make Food Fun”. To spread this message to a younger demographic, we turned to the marketing channels this audience spends most of their time on: social media, Google, and YouTube. We developed a series of well-designed social media posts, ads, and videos showing off the amazing space, food, and options available at Shady Maple. We conducted a photo shoot of the Smorgasbord, Farm Market, and Gift Shop highlighting their offerings in an exciting, family-friendly new way. We connected with influencers in the food space, inviting them to visit Shady Maple and share their positive experience resulting in multiple videos with millions of views and counting. Synapse then developed marketing tactics with the Shady Maple team to encourage visits to each branch of Shady Maple through signage, coupons, flyers, and website messaging.

All these tactics were unified by the new website launch, with branding that effectively communicated the value Shady Maple offers: Making Food Fun.

The Result

  • Uncovered a powerful brand strategy that repositioned Shady Maple as an experience rather than a venue only.
  • Generated 10,000,000+ views on YouTube influencer videos increasing web traffic and customer visits.
  • Retired sub-brands to make the parent brand of Shady Maple more prominent.
  • Revamped the website navigation to enhance the user experience, improve SEO, and put the events front and center.
  • Incorporated online gift card purchasing.
  • Made it easier to find the location details and hours on the website.
  • Fully integrated a website loyalty rewards program.
  • Extended the new branding elements to marketing communications including social media and digital advertising.

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