COMMENT: Creating a successful brand for your new food or beverage product

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Given the huge number of products on our grocery store shelves, it is no surprise that it is a challenge to introduce something new.

Not only do you need a clear point of difference you also need to entice your target audience to try it.

This means having excellent branding as it will draw consumers to pick up your product rather than their usual, familiar choice. Always remember that 90 per cent of a first-time purchase is based on branding.

Let’s be clear: Branding is the message you want to give your target consumer – and it should be ‘Buy Me’.

So, what’s involved in getting your message across to your target consumers?

Educating consumers

When you first start developing your product you will need to ask yourself a lot of questions, those questions will be much the same as the ones your target audience will ask.

For example: “what is unique about this product?”, “should I risk spending money on this untried brand?”, “why is it better than the competition”. Your branding needs to answer all these questions.

The most expensive word in the food and drink category is ‘education’, if you need to take time to educate the consumer, away from the packaging, then you will either spend millions or fail, or both.

The best place to educate your target audience is on your product’s packaging, so your branding needs to be clear and perfect, providing instant education.

Use what your audience already understands

We tend to pigeonhole everything, so, if you are breaking new ground with an idea or base ingredient then you need to add something to the mix that the consumer recognises.

Ask questions

To get your branding right, you need to ask yourself and others some questions:

  • Where will this product sell and what brands will sit alongside it? How will my product stand out?
  • What is my brand message? For example, is it based on health, functionality, great taste, or indulgence?
  • Will my consumer be able to read the messages I have on the packaging from a distance?
  • Does my brand look premium enough for the selling price?
  • Why should a consumer buy my brand instead of their regular choice?

Answering these questions is the first step to creating brilliant branding.

Put the consumer first

Many consumers want to try something different, but that doesn’t mean they’ll spend hours in-store or online researching every product. They need to be drawn to a brand that relates to them and says, “buy me, I’m the new and exciting product you want”.

Always remember that just putting your brand name on the front and thinking the brand will sell is crazy, Consumers don’t care about a ‘new’ brand name, they care about what’s in it for them.

So, make sure your message conveys this. Always focus on them, not you.

Point of difference

In today’s market, a point of difference is essential. This needs to be very clear in your branding and messaging on the packaging. Perhaps your product is vegan, but this won’t be enough as there are so many vegan products already.

So, carefully consider what makes your brand different, then pick the most important ones.

These are the ones you should highlight on the packaging. The less important ones still need to be on there, but they can go on areas consumers will read once they pick the product up.

Don’t go overboard with minimalism

Minimalism has become a trend with many designs jumping on the bandwagon. However, be careful not to make it too minimal. I have seen examples where a designer has tried to be cool but forgotten about selling the brand.

This has led to the consumer ignoring it completely and reaching for the safer option, one of the familiar, established brands. Find the right balance between doing too much or too little. You also don’t want to waffle; let your branding do the talking.

Choose a relevant name

Given the number of new brands, it makes choosing the right name harder and getting a trademark more challenging.

Start by researching your chosen brand name and make sure it is relevant to your product and your audience.

Be clever with your brand name, find something that is simple but conveys your product’s message, not just a name that sounds cool to you and your family.

After all, some names just sound plain stupid – so just because your friends think it sounds great, does not mean it will resonate with your target audience.

Your values

Consumers want brands to be transparent and they want to understand the brand’s heritage and values. Is the product certified to be Fairtrade, Vegan or Organic?

Which of these will resonate with your target audience? Consumers are now looking for certifications like ‘B Corporation’, which commends businesses that give as much consideration to their social and environmental impact as they do to their financial returns.

This move to buying from companies with matching values is an opportunity for new, indie brands as the established companies can’t adapt quickly.

It takes time to remove artificial ingredients and replace them with natural ones, to change supply chains to Fairtrade or a more ethical source or create a business that cares about the environment and its impact on our future.

This is what today’s consumers are looking for and this is what your branding should communicate about your business.

First and foremost, you need to entice consumers to try your new food or beverage product.

Getting your branding right, so that consumers make the initial purchase is crucial.

If your message is attracting them, they’ll make that initial purchase, and your brand will be on its way to success.

By Richard Horwell, Brand Relations

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