Like so many other elements of marketing, brand development in the natural products marketplace has evolved over the past 20 years.
Originally, branding was equated with a company name and logo, i.e. something visual or symbolic of that company or organization. The logo, name or symbol was positioned in advertising, product packaging, collateral, promotion, publicity or signage at a trade show.
Moving into the 21st century, companies have become more sophisticated as to how they represent themselves, inside and out. Today, the terms brand and branding refer to a range of emotional connections to the entity behind the brand. And it also serves as a way to differentiate a company or product.
Branding Is Still a Hot Topic
While branding is often open to much debate, it is still a relevant topic and now used widely by supplement industry manufacturers. Creating a brand helps simplify the ability to distinguish products from amongst a wide range of offerings. In a crowded marketplace like supplement ingredients, it gets increasingly difficult for companies to differentiate their products. Creating a brand allows positive demarcation from the competition. The creation of a strong ingredient brand name, for example, also allows for better transfer of the brand and subsequent logo to retail products.
Brands can create trust and confidence. Indeed a strong brand presents a proof of competence for customers, as well as suggesting quality and bestowing an image of prestige to buyers. Furthermore, a brand, especially for a quality ingredient, can demand a higher price. Customers will recognize continuing and distinctive value and are prepared to pay for ingredients that can generate more audience awareness.
A company that builds a strong brand is also better protected from the impact of competitors as well as any crisis that could occur with a product within the same category. In the event there is a product recall or other crisis, branded ingredients will stand apart from the pack and provide a certain bonus amongst customers. Mistakes and market fluctuation can be lessened and reduce the negative impact of sales if you brand ownership.
A vibrant brand determines marketing activities and, therefore, represents an important instrument to influence and control the market. Brand management, as an organization task, can be practically defined as finding the right strategies to build and to cultivate a brand to achieve competitive advantages. The main objective in brand management is to achieve a strong position within the mindset of customers and generate confidence.
A first impression can be the make-or-break moment. When customers think about buying, you want your company to be at the top of their list and be a part of their solution.
While company executives may be great visionaries and communicators and verbalize the tangible differences and distinct advantages for their product brands, more often than not a companys brand qualities are verbalized in a generic way. We deliver quality, We are on time and on budget, We are the leaders and We are innovative. It may be that such claims are true, but they are not distinctive, nor are they unique to a product or ingredient.
Its important to have third-party review and offer feedback. Even the most articulate executives sometimes need help. Branding is a process that, if carefully thought through, could amount to considerable financial success for your organization.
Take Your Time
All too often, companies rush to create and implement marketing campaigns without developing the up-front brand definition work strategy. Brand definition is often called the brand profile. The look, feel, tone and voice of a brand are communicated in all of the customer-facing qualities of your brand.
Meaningful answers that flesh out the brand profile are extremely helpful for your creative and marketing team. Your brand distinction, the unique presentation of your company, is based on these insights. The brand profile, in turn, defines the strategies and marketing materials that will be developed.
How Long The Brand Will Last
Your brands should last as long as you want it to. Barring unforeseen circumstances, such as the sale of your company, or a major shift in your audience or product offering, your brands are the most important and permanent manifestation of your company and its values. It used to be conventional wisdom that a brand would last at least 20 years. In the information age, that seems like a long time, and it is.
In any event, dont plan on changing a brand with any regularity. It takes discipline and vigilance to create, build and maintain a brand. It should work for you in the long haul.
Make sure the brand image you have decided to promote is clear before you start communicating to your target industries. If not, considerable damage could be done that may be difficult to correct at later stage.
If the brand image you create is clear and the communication effective, the awareness that will be created will be of great monetary value to your company and product.
With more than 25 years of marketing experience, Sheldon Baker has developed and managed a wide range of successful corporate marketing programs, and is currently principal and senior partner with Baker Dillon Group . He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .