By Amy Yukas
December 16, 2019
A brand, by simple definition, is a product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. As business and consumerism has evolved, so has this meaning. A brand encompasses much more than just a product. And yes, of course, it is the qualities, benefits and attributes of the product but ultimately it is the consumer perception that is the brand’s value or equity.
The consumer expectations of a brand are developed through all interactions and communication touch-points the brand has with the consumer. This includes packaging (all packaging not necessarily just the primary packaging), website or retailer websites, sales materials, signage, social posts/responses, partnerships, advertising and if you own your own retail store – the consumer retail experience. These are all opportunities to talk to and with your consumers and to build long lasting, trusting relationships.
If you are just starting out or are thinking about a brand refresh, here are some key elements to think about when building a foundation for the brand:
- What does the brand stand for? What does it believe in? How is it different?
- What is attitude that comes out in written communication – copy and responses? Is it humble? Confident? Humorous? Straight-forward? Smart? Witty? Reliable? Trusted?
- Visual Identity. What is the overall visual communication – logo, color palette, font(s), other visual assets that can be used, packaging, web design, photography? Is it sophisticated? Approachable? Whimsical? Clinical? Fun?
- Who are you trying to engage with? Who is your target? Millennials? Gen X? Gen Y? Female? Male? Interests? Values? Geography?
- What do you want to say to the consumer? What is important for consumers to know? What will resonate with consumers/customers? Focus on 2-3, tops.
Building a successful brand means delivering on the brand/product promise and creating a strong emotional connection to the consumer. The result is consumer trust and loyalty.
As an example, look at Volvo – this iconic brand stands for safety, sustainability and luxury. How do I know that? It is clearly communicated in everything – from the website to social posts to the information I receive as a Volvo owner via email and snail mail. It is visually appealing and high end. They are always reminding me of how safe their cars are and how they continue to innovate on my behalf. I am a believer and a loyal customer. I have owned Volvo’s for the last 15 years. And because I trust Volvo, not only do I drive one, last year, we bought one for my daughter.
With over +25 years of experience building brands – like Hidden Valley Ranch, Tazo Tea Company, Starbucks Coffee Company and Pacific Foods – I have learned the most important elements to building brands are consistency and simplicity. Building a brand is not rocket science, but it does take a discipline, focus and patience. The consumer loyalty that results from strong brands is built over time and is a powerful marketing tool.
Please let us know if you need any help with developing your brand foundation. We’d be happy to chat with you and your team.
Amy helps small to mid-sized companies with marketing plans, brand management and new product development processes through NW Food Solutions. Previously she has lead brand and marketing teams at Smith Tea Maker, House Spirits Distillery, Pacific Foods, The Body Shop, Tazo Tea Company and Starbucks Coffee Company.