Make it irresistible

Creating a brilliant F&B brand. By Richard Horwell


There are many excellent Food & Beverage product ideas, but without brilliant branding consumers will leave them languishing on the shelves and stick with their usual ‘go-to’ purchase. To put it succinctly – your branding is as important as the product itself.

Let’s review the key aspects of creating a brilliant brand which communicates the message ‘buy me, buy me NOW’.

Your mission – to educate the consumer
In your brand development process you need to ask questions. These will be much the same as the ones your target audience will ask. For example what is unique about this product?’ (i.e. its point of difference); ‘why is it better than the competition’; ‘should I risk spending money on this untried brand?’; ’does this product offer value for money?’ Your branding needs to answer all these questions.

The MOST expensive word in the F&B category is ‘education’. Your product’s packaging is the best place to provide instant education for your target audience. If you’re taking time to educate the consumer, away from the packaging, then you will either spend millions or fail, or both.

Link to what your audience is already familiar with
If you are attempting to break new ground with an idea or base ingredient then you need to add something that the consumer knows. For example, if you are using an unusual culinary herb such as verbena you might add a familiar flavor such as strawberry or raspberry. The key is to make sure the messaging is easy to understand and include elements that consumers can understand instantly.

Trade buyers only want products that will sell, they don’t want old stock taking up room on their shelves. Buyers won’t give you long to prove that your brand works, it’s in one day and out the next, so, make it easy for the consumer to choose your product quickly.

Your research
In order to get your branding right, you need to do your research to answer questions such as these:

1/ Where will this product sell and what brands will sit alongside it? How will my product stand out against them?

2/ What is my brand message? For example, is it based on health, functionality, spoiling yourself or great taste?

3/ Will my consumer be able to read the messages I have on the packaging from a distance, without picking it up?

4/ Does my brand look premium enough for the selling price?

5/ Why should a consumer buy my brand instead of their regular choice?

Getting the answers to these questions is the essential for creating brilliant branding.

It’s all about them
Today we have more choice of food and drinks than ever before. Many consumers want to try something different, but that doesn’t mean they have all day to stand around in-store or go online to research every product. They need to be drawn to a brand that relates to them and says, ‘buy me, I am new and exciting’.

Let me share a brief case study. We worked on a soft drink now called Chillio. The previous design agency had simply splashed the logo across the entire bottle – with no thought to education, messaging, a relevant name or the drink’s point of difference that would encourage their target audience chose the product. In other words, the branding was all about the client, not the consumer. We rebranded it to sit alongside the craft beers so you could be out sipping Chillio without feeling embarrassed you weren’t drinking. The new name highlighted the chilli ingredient in the drink (its point of difference) and the visual design evoked fun, hot days in South America.

Always focus on your consumers, not yourself.

How minimal?
Minimalism has become a trend in recent years with many designs jumping on the bandwagon. However, be careful not to make it too minimal. I have seen some laughable branding 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, in other words, one of the established brands they already know. Find the right balance between doing too much or too little. You also don’t want to waffle; let your branding do the talking. That will mean that the consumer can quickly understand what the product is about.

A relevant name
With the growth in food and drinks products comes a rise in the amount of new brand names, which 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 a few people. After all, some names just sound plain stupid – you need something that 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 Vegan, Fairtrade or Organic? Which of these will resonate with your target audience? More recently consumers are 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 who can respond 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 etc. so larger companies need more time to adapt. However, this is what today’s consumers are looking for and your branding should communicate your business values, whatever your size.

Brilliant branding communicates everything a consumer needs to know in a glance. It speaks directly to your target audience and says ‘buy me, buy me NOW’ in a way that is hard to ignore or resist.

Brand Relations
Richard Horwell is the owner of Brand Relations, a specialist food and drink marketing and branding company based in London. Over the last 13 years, Brand Relations has been behind the launch and development of over 100 brands in the UK. Richard has also built up and sold companies of his own in the Food and Beverage sector. He has over 30 years’ experience in marketing FMCG brands around the world, having lived and worked in the UK, USA, Australia and the Middle East.
For further information, please visit: www.brandrelations.co.uk