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Customer Experience

Does your brand tell a story?

Stuart Ridley
Business and Technology Journalist

Stuart Ridley is the Smarter Business™ Print Editor and has covered trends in small business, tech and marketing for two decades

Stuart Ridley
Business and Technology Journalist

Stuart Ridley is the Smarter Business™ Print Editor and has covered trends in small business, tech and marketing for two decades

Delizia’s gelato was a trade secret among Brisbane’s top restaurants until the family business started sharing its history with the general public in a major brand redesign. It’s now the number one gelato brand in Queensland and is expanding its Retail reach interstate.

The Delizia story began nearly a hundred years ago in Messina, a Sicilian port city renowned for its gelato, sorbet and granita. 

In a town where many people ate gelato for breakfast (with a brioche and coffee on the side), a young gelato maker named Andrea Catalfamo was winning accolades for his frozen treats. When Catalfamo’s offspring moved from Messina to Brisbane in the 1950s, the traditional recipes and methods came too, and now Andrea’s great-grandson, John Scimone, continues the legacy with Delizia Gelato and Sorbet.

Although state-of-the-art equipment has replaced the hand churns of old, Scimone still creates his desserts using traditional family recipes and methods. Whether it’s a batch of the classic burnt caramel gelato or a more modern flavour such as green tea, the flavour of the gelato comes from potent pastes handmade from scratch with fresh ingredients — plus “a lot of love and passion”.

ice cream

An artisan's eye for quality

Delizia desserts had been admired by Brisbane’s top chefs for many years, but most people didn’t really know who made the gelato they enjoyed on a night out. As Scimone points out: “You can’t sell a secret.” Planning to expand Delizia’s market, Scimone approached Adam ‘AJ’ Hightower at Kwik Kopy Geebung in Brisbane to help him produce some new brand material.

Scimone had already commissioned a logo from a calligraphy artist, because he wanted the essence of his brand to be handmade. “It conveys artisan, like the gelato is created by food artists,” he explains. “The brushstroke logo would have worked 100 years ago and will work in 100 years’ time, because it’s from scratch.” After rendering a scalable version of the logo in illustration software so it could be used in multiple formats, Hightower’s team developed a brand kit with the usual design rules plus clear notes on how to tell the Delizia story. 

“The copy on all your brand material is incredibly important. You can’t sit in the shops and tell every single person your story,” explains Hightower. “Talking with John about his business and his family history, we found a wonderful story that customers weren’t necessarily aware of.”

Four generations of flavour

The Delizia story opens with a simple statement: “Four generations of flavour”, which in anyone’s book speaks of at least a hundred years of expertise, commitment to quality and, yes, passion. Depending on the space available, those four simple words are now followed by prose about the family’s history and personal quotes about their love for gelato.

“If you want your business to grow, first do something that you love, something that makes you happy,” says Scimone. “One of the most amazing things is when I tell a young child what it is I do for a living, and just watching their face light up like it’s the best job in the world. I think that gelato speaks to the little kid in all of us.”

Your origins set you apart: “People don’t buy John’s gelato because it’s ice-cream. They buy it because it’s better than anything else,” says Hightower. “They buy it because it has a story — and John’s gelato recipe has been working for four generations. We wanted people to know that this isn’t a big company that is mass producing all these flavours. These are artisans, coming up with new flavours and unique ways of producing gelato.”

Delizia’s brand story tip

Work with branding experts: “AJ [Hightower] isn’t just a good designer. He owns and runs a business, so he also knows what a business’s needs are,” says Scimone. “He’s created a set of branding rules for Delizia so that we’re consistent.”

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