Zombies and Runners and Coffee – Oh My! 4 Branding Tips Every SMB Owner Should Know

Storefront of ZombieRunner

Halloween has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to be over just yet. In the spirit of Halloween and all that is eerie and ghoulish, we’d like to introduce you to ZombieRunner – a quirky, zombie-themed running store that knows a thing or two about brand image.

Here are four quick branding tips from ZombieRunner that every small business owner should take to heart:

1. Establish your identiTy.

What does your company stand for? Where does it fit in the world? Once you can answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to establishing your brand’s identity.

Co-founders Don Lundell and Gillian Robinson both have an incredible passion for running. They were in the middle of a 100 mile trail run, and at about 3:00 a.m., were both feeling like zombies. That’s when the name “ZombieRunner” came to them. The combination of running and zombies created a fun persona for their business – and that’s how ZombieRunner was born!

Wall display of running shoes

2. Dress up your space.

Whether you own a physical, brick-and-mortar store or an online business (or both), it’s important to let people know who you are as soon as they step into your space or click on your website.

ZombieRunner’s shop occupies the former space of the old Fine Arts movie theater in Palo Alto. Instead of tearing everything down, they kept the charm of the old movie theater and made it work for them. The converted movie theater sports a real ticket booth, and an overhead marquee that has become one of ZombieRunner’s most iconic features.

Storefront of ZombieRunner

And when you step inside the store, you’ll see all kinds of fun zombie paraphernalia – from zombie survival books to foreboding signs.

Sign that says, "Trespassers will be eaten by zombies."

3. Don’t be a salesperson.

Remember that a powerful brand is one that resonates with people emotionally, not just through an onslaught of promotional marketing jargon. Stay true to what your business stands for instead of getting bogged down with sales speak.

4. Add an element of surprise.

It’s always nice to have that one little unique touch that sets you apart from the rest. In ZombieRunner’s case – it’s the fact that they’re not just for running fanatics, but for coffee enthusiasts too.

Bags of ZombieRunner coffee beans

Its in-house coffee shop has become famous throughout Palo Alto and the entire Bay Area. One visitor from Seattle has even said that ZombieRunner makes the best coffee he has ever tasted (and that’s coming from someone who lives in the state that’s home to the original Starbucks!).   

ZombieRunner drink menu


Remember, your brand image is what people will remember you for. You’ll know that your brand marketing is on point when you can answer the following question: What do I want my business to stand for?

Contact Us

323 N. Mathilda Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94085-4207



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