Rants & Raves
July 25, 2020
Top 5 Branding Essentials

Recognizing that concepts associated with brands and brand building are often misinterpreted, I thought I'd offer a few reminders.


It seems that, no matter the brand, manufacturer, audience, or market, these key strategic practices are frequently overlooked, marginalized or dismissed altogether in favor of a quick fix. The problem is that, while you may be saving a few bucks, or getting the work done faster, your competition is relentless, doing everything it can to put you out of business.

Do your homework.  Research is the most commonly overlooked component of an effective marketing plan. As the saying goes, "You don't need a map if you don't care where you'll end up." So make the investment and have a good understanding about your competitors, their value proposition, marketshare and degree of penetration. At the same time, you'll want to know who your buyers are, what motivates them to purchase and how they feel about your offer.

Be distinctive.  In a crowded sales environment, your brand, your product and your offer need to stand apart from, and be perceived as greater value to all others. In food categories, and before any other promotional tactic is considered, this is achieved with emotionally appealing brand imagery and packaging that cuts through the clutter and resonates favorably with key buyers. It remains true that packaging is the #1 sales influencer. To pursue shortcuts and cost savings that can easily compromise brand impact at the most vital point of contact is simply foolish.

Make 'em drool.  Effective brands generate positive emotional responses. When you consider that food is a very sensual category, finding ways to make buyers feel good about your brand and your products is essential. This means that every encounter should be delightful, stimulating and enjoyable. It's like Pavlov's dog. When buyers interact with your brand, including packaging, website, tradeshow booth, advertising, social media, sales literature, etc., their immediate response should be one of excitement, enthusiasm and unbridled desire.

Demonstrate empathy.  Take the time to understand the lifestyle preferences and motivating emotional forces that influence your key buyers. When you demonstrate a clear understanding of their background, knowing what gets them excited, acknowledging what has them frustrated, and recognizing their most pressing needs, you will be better positioned to establish rapport, gain trust (albeit limited - earning trust takes a long time) and influence sales.

Act responsibly.  Building great brands boils down to issues of integrity and reputation. While quality and reliability of your product is essential, how you act can make or break your business. Providing responsive customer service, building mutually beneficial vendor relationships, creating supportive working environments and making ongoing contributions to the community are all worthwhile pursuits.

So there you have it. Just a few tips that should keep your brand in excellent form for the foreseeable future. Are we clear?