Building a Lifestyle Around a Brand: Fishbowl

It’s not often that you hear of a business taking a “no rules” approach to building their brand. But that’s exactly what Fishbowl did. Why? Because it resonated directly with their Aussie customers.

Before we jump into nitty-gritty brand talk, let’s quickly recap.

Fishbowl is the Aussie-founded brainchild of uni mates, turned business partners Nic, Nathan and Casper. It’s a healthy fast-food option for people that hate fast food. Combining traditional Japanese flavours into the simple and loved salad bowl, Fishbowl was founded in 2016 with a single goal in mind - change fast food, change the culture. You can read more about how Fishbowl scaled from one to thirty stores here.

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If you have ever stepped into a Fishbowl store or spotted them from across the street, you will know that they have created an unquestionable sense of brand identity. “We knew people would eat with their eyes, and we thought our ingredients look so good - let’s show them all and then let people choose what they want. That’s backed up by this showmanship, which is mixing, matching and passed down the production line. Between that and the music, it becomes a really unique and cool experience.”

Inspired by Japanese flavours and evolved through Australian culture, Fishbowl’s brand was designed based on passions and uses food as a communication vehicle. As co-owner Nathan explains, “we love dining out, we love restaurants and that experiential element of going to a restaurant and hearing a playlist that you love, or bumping into personalities that you love. We also love fashion. So, we were like, can we incorporate that into the design of the uniform? We love design, so can we incorporate and work with our favourite designers to create spaces that we actually wanted to be in?”

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So what’s really behind the branding? Nick Cox, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Projects of Imagination who worked on the Fishbowl brand in collaboration with the founders explains, “I think Fishbowl as a brand is all about self-expression and individuality. That’s sort of where we’ve come from in terms of developing the brand evolution for them. There’s a no-rules approach, which the customer can relate to - and the brand is ever-evolving and that’s the idea. Certain things have some rigidity to them, but there are times when the brand will always evolve and always change and we’re just setting up those guards for the future. The idea is that each store still has its own personality that’s suited to that local context or community, and we try and have a lot of fun with the brand as well.”

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One of FIshbowl’s core brand values is transparency. It is something that has influenced the brand from the get-go and continues to evolve with them today. Nathan explains, “people should see what goes into their food and typically fast food, it’s all done back of house. When it comes to Fishbowl, everything about it is transparent. From the product to the processes to the people to the branding, it’s all on show, for everyone to see and that was a really fundamental starting point for us as a brand.”

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Fishbowls Brand Pillars

  • Change fast food, change the culture
  • Create something special
  • Get better as we grow
  • Make every interaction matter
  • Make the culture better by making better food
  • Transparency, traceability, sustainability
  • Shokunin: “Simply put, [shokunin] refers to an intense dedication, devotion and respect to every detail of our craft.” - Nathan

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