Cross-Market Branding: Ralph Lauren

When we think Ralph Lauren, we think world-renowned men's clothing line. But what if I told you Ralph Lauren has expanded its ventures into an different market altogether: the restaurant industry. What do clothing and food have to do with each other beside the fact that you, from time to time, tend to spill food on your clothing?

According to Brand Channel, Ralph Lauren will soon open a restaurant in New York City. Ralph Lauren already has a cafe (Ralph's) in their flagship store, as well as restaurants in Paris and Chicago.

Ralph Lauren has effectively executed branding solutions across new and unexpected markets. The choice of a restaurant is particularly interesting in the subtle marketing communicated in the look and feel of the eatery. The aesthetics and atmosphere is a direct reflection of the recognizable Ralph Lauren brand. Lauren himself was keen not to make the restaurant too fancy, saying "It was not [his] idea to be trendy. [He doesn't] want [it] to be the hot restaurant. [He wants it] to be the restaurant you want to go to twice a week." If this sentiment has truly translated into the restaurant, then Lauren will be feeding not only stomachs, but also the subconscious minds of his patrons. The desire will arise to continually go back to the restaurant--to experience the aesthetics and atmosphere--to immerse oneself in the feel of the brand through buying the product and experiencing it. All things to consider when creating, maintaining, and re-inventing your brand.
Clever or over-the-top?

This cross-marketing venture at least gets tongues wagging if not for the juxtaposition alone-- "A Ralph Lauren restaurant?!"
As long as polos aren't on the menu, I don't think patrons will shy away from this distilled Ralph Lauren experience.