Hunger is an immortal feeling in human beings and so the food industry is an evergreen one. But an important thing to note is that there is fierce competition in this industry and so if you are starting a new food business, then getting a good grasp on food branding is crucial to ensure success. This detailed article on the branding of food businesses and products is intended to give you all the essential strategies that you must adopt to get a good start.
Branding Steps for a Food Business
1) Determine the Core Sector
First, identify the main niche within the food sector that you are interested in. It can be family restaurant-type business, restaurant chains, fast food, food kiosks, packed foods, etc. Depending upon the niche, the strategy might have some variations though most of the things will remain the same.
2) Market Research
This step is applicable only if you are going to do it on a big scale like a restaurant chain, supplying packed foods, etc. It is much beneficial to get market research in such selected cases to get a better grasp on key fundamentals like the core competitors, expected growth, major roadblocks, etc. There are many specialized firms that can carry on this task. Apart from this, there are ready-made market research reports that one can directly buy to study the details.
3) Who Will Produce?
If you are going for packed foods, then this factor must be taken in mind. One can either get the entire setup created for them (plant, machinery) or can go for third-party production. Using a third-party production is the best in the initial stages as it reduces the cost significantly that can be used for marketing and branding purposes. Once the food brand starts seeing growth, it can either add more production partners or can get its own production setup.
4) Profit Share
For packed foods, it is essential to make a plan for deciding the profit share that distributors and retailers would get. One can also use the existing network of a similar non-competing food company to get the distribution done in exchange for a profit share.
5) Understanding the Audience
You must get a clear picture of the main targeted segment of people who will be your customers. This is important to know as it will help in better brand positioning which is an important element in food branding. Once you know your target segment, you can accordingly go for the physical appearance of your product like colors, packaging, fonts, logo, etc.
6) The Message
Pinpoint the main message that your company will convey consistently across all marketing channels. The message must resonate with the target demographic.
7) Right Name and Logo
Just coming up with a random name is not good for your food brand. Most of the big brands spend significant time coming up with a name and logo for their brand because it is too tedious to go for a rebrand later if the name and logo don’t add to your brand value. One basic rule for naming a food brand is that the name must be short, creative and easy to remember. Also, you must acquire the corresponding domain name soon to ensure the safety of your brand online.
8) Identify the Competitors
Take note of all small and big players in the market. Pay special attention to the newer ones and keep an eye on their strategy and operation as newer companies mostly utilize better cost-effective marketing methods. Remaining attentive to other businesses is one of the key essentials in the food branding and marketing sector.
9) Nutritional Claims
You are required to put the nutritional data on the packing in many jurisdictions. Since people are becoming health conscious, you must make sure that the overall nutritional chart provided in your labeling must look good which you can do by choosing good ingredients.
10) Consistent Message
Your message/advertisement must be consistent across all of your marketing channels and it must match the interests of the targeted group who are your ideal demographic.
11) The Visuals
For most customers, visual appeal is a key factor in making choices. So the packaging of your product must be compelling and creative enough to impart a brand feeling. There are many designing companies and freelance designers who can come up with a unique and creative appearance for your food brand. The most common colors used in this industry are red and yellow.
12) Exotic Taste
One good way to make your food/recipe taste different is by trying out products produced in different regions of the world. By getting a different taste, you stand more choices to stand apart from the competition and make a different space for your brand.
13) Control Narratives from the Start
At the early stages, it is very important to control what narratives are set for your brand either by competitors or voluntarily by people. Any wrong perception set in the initial stages would adversely affect your food brand. So be vigilant about your brand perception and counter any fake narratives soon.
People are becoming more conscious of the environment and their health. So keep taking good initiatives to inform people of your stand for such a cause. You can adapt more eco-friendly methods (packaging, operations, etc) and source only hygienic products for your food brand.
You must have certain key values for your brand growth and must stick to them. Your ads, promotions and other branding methods must depict and resonate with the vision consistently.
16) Keep Looking for Gaps
To keep on adding profitable products, you must keep a close watch on competitors and the food industry in general. Any space you find must be utilized soon to add a new variety for your product so that you get the first-mover advantage.
17) Online Ads
Online ads are much more worthy for new brands as they provide a range of options for targeting people and can be started at a much lower cost than offline advertising. Within the online ads industry, two of the best platforms are Google Ads and Facebook Ads with a big audience and targeting options.
Connect with influencers who have a big audience on social media. Using them for your brand promotion can get many people to become familiar with your brand along with building trust value because people trust these personalities.
19) Press Releases
Press releases are one of the significant methods to get announcements related to your brand out to the public. If you select any quality press release distribution service, you can also ensure that your content would get placed in top news portals which will add a big positive to your branding efforts.
20) Photo and Video Content
When it comes to food items, photos and videos generate a far better experience and engagement. So get plenty of photo and video content and spread them across all online platforms through ads, influencers, social posts, etc.
21) Youtube Ads
One of the low-cost and targeted methods for food branding is by using Youtube ads. The ad rates on Youtube are very low as compared to other platforms and with the level of audience base and targeting options it has, you can generate brand awareness soon at less budget than most other marketing methods.
22) TV Ads
Ads on prominent TV channels are a good way to broadcast your brand to a big audience. The only downside is it is too untargeted and requires a much bigger budget than online advertising.
23) Newspaper Ads
Ads in newspapers are also one of the top offline marketing methods. You can choose newspapers by their circulation and their core demographic to come up with relevant budget allocation.
24) Pitching Investors
Once you get the sales rolling even at a low level, you can start pitching investors to get funds from them either as equity or debt. By getting funds, you can scale up the advertising and can generate more revenue soon.
25) Outlet Branding
If you want to open outlets or franchises, then make a proper assessment of all the designing aspects to make the environment look consistent with the brand. The same type of look and feel must be replicated across all your franchises/outlets to impart consistency and give a good feel.
26) Affiliate Networks
You can join big affiliate networks like commission junction that has 1000’s of affiliates ready to promote products and services. Once you get into such networks, many affiliates can start promoting your product for a commission. Networks like these also exist in the mobile app advertising sector so that you can get more app downloads for your mobile app and remain connected with customers.
27) Community Events and Good Cause
You can actively participate in community events and can donate for good cause to get news angle for your brand promotion. You can then get interviews or mentions in newspapers and magazines for being active in such events and can thereby get a subtle promotion of your brand.
We hope that this in-depth article on food branding gives you many key insights. For any doubts or if you have any more points to add, do comment below.