Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does "branding" mean? How does it affect a business like yours?
The brand is your promise to the customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you are branding your product...
What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee or family member who works with you should be aware of your brand attributes and be able to communicate these to the customer.
Develop A Logo
A logo is an identifying mark that is placed on your produce or on your farm stand that allows others to recognize your products. A logo could be a simple image or it could be an elaborate design. Just be sure that it relates to your operation. Your logo should appear on all the marketing materials that you produce. Think of it as a signature to your products.
Tell A Story
A brand helps customers and other producers recognize the product and associate meaning to the product. Another part of branding is telling a story. As a local foods producer, telling your story to the customer is critical in order to build relationships and a strong customer base. It is important to remember that most people learn new information by associating it with a type of story. Therefore, when you go to a farmers market, or sell your produce to a hospital, include a posterboard or one page flyer about your products and why they are special to you. It may be the story of how you started your business, or why you enjoy the lifestyle that you live.
Find Out What the Customer Wants- Market Research
This is important because customers needs and wants are constantly changing. As a local foods producer you have an advantage because you probably have face-to-face interaction with many customers. This is an oportune time to ask them about what they would like to see. It sounds odd, but this may give you valuable insight about what the future holds for your particular business. If several different customers are asking about a specific variety or product type, this may be your cue to alter your production and marketing plan.
Be consistent with the branding process. This tip was placed last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip that can be given to you as a local foods producer. If you want your product to have a brand, then consistency is critical.