To succeed in the food industry, you need more than just taste.
Your food business needs more than great tasting food to succeed.
Think about your own experiences when shopping for new food products, you don’t even taste the product until you’re already to the end of the buying process.
Why you need a brand.
Creating a brand around your food is not just for the big guys. You are competing for customer attention whether it’s your first farmer’s market, or your product is already on store shelves. There are lots of options out there, so why should someone pick up your product?
The packaging and signage you choose for your product conveys a message to every potential customer. It’s important that you don’t leave that message to chance.
The core of a brand is picking the message you want to communicate to a potential customer. The right message will help tell the story of your product and convince a customer to purchase.
A brand strategy is the reference document for crafting this message across platforms. It is the foundation of what you want to communicate as a brand and who you want to communicate it to. It is the tool to make sure all future content is consistent and aligns with your business goals.
Where to start.
There are many approaches for developing a brand strategy and the more in-depth your brand strategy is, the better your brand identity will be in the long run. However, if you are a food business just starting out, you may not have the time to go super in depth.
Focus on these 4 key categories, and you will be on your way to developing a killer food brand.
1. What is your vision?
This is the “why” of your product. Why are you selling your food product and why does it matter?
People develop emotional connections to real stories. One of your biggest assets as a small business owner is your story, so think about how to share your vision honestly.
A real reason for your food business and product to exist gives customers a real reason to support you.
2. Who is your target customer?
I encourage you to get as specific here as possible. It’s easy at the beginning to want to seek every opportunity and make a universal product. The danger in being universal is you might become so generic in your appeal that in the end, no one relates to you.
Being specific can help you hone in on potential sales channels and the messaging you put out there. For example, if you know you are selling a product that appeals to late twenties active men, then maybe you should start selling at local gyms. Then look into what type of messaging, voice, and visuals other successful brands in this space use to appeal to this customer type.
The more you learn about your target customer, the more you can craft your brand to speak in a way that matters to them.
3. What differentiates your product?
Identify the other players on the market. Better yet, identify who your target customer buys from now. Then determine what makes your product unique.
It’s crowded in the food industry, and there are lots of options to choose from. Leverage your product’s unique value and broadcast it loudly and proudly.
A customer should understand quickly why they should buy you over the competitors.
4. What are your brand attributes?
These are adjectives that describe your brand’s personality traits. Use these adjectives to start molding your findings into a voice and visual language for your brand.
Stick to picking three attributes to keep your brand’s personality well defined. All content and visuals should have these traits. Consistency here will help reinforce your message.
Try to pick brand attributes that your target customer is drawn to but that are different enough from your competitors. Your brand will stand out in the market in a way that is still relevant to your customers.
What to do next.
These four categories will serve as the start of your brand strategy.
Refer back to them as you consider new marketing materials, packaging, and opportunities for your business. If they align with your brand strategy, you can be confident you are in the right place and talking to the right people in the right voice.
You then start to build brand recognition because your business and product looks and feels the same every time a customer sees it. This makes it easier for customers to pick you out as you expand to new stores and sales channels. Ultimately making it easier for them to become repeat buyers.
Put effort and consistency into your brand, and it will make your product memorable in a crowded retail environment.
After that, let your delicious food do the talking!