Politics and Business
How to Brand Your Food Business Successfully
Over the pandemic, the food industry has seen great successes and great losses. Indoor dining had to be shut down in many areas worldwide, leading to lost revenue, and in the worst cases, closures. However, delivered and takeaway food saw a boom, unlike anything the industry had seen before. Companies sprang up to take advantage of these demands, and many businesses were able to make a name for themselves, catching loyal customers in these difficult times.
Success was often found by companies that took advantage of branding. By making a strong brand, businesses could keep in the minds of consumers, even when they weren’t able to go to an eatery in person. Branding was the way many businesses were able to save themselves. So, as the world is beginning to open up again, companies in the food industry should learn from the success of branding and implement it into their business plans going forward.
But what makes branding so important, and how can food businesses take advantage of it best to succeed?
What is branding?
Branding is the act of giving your company a clear and streamlined identity. For a long time, branding was assumed to be solely visual – for example; your branding was your logo. However, as branding has become a more popular area for businesses to focus on, branding has become much more complex and varied.
With the explosion of the internet into our everyday lives, branding has become more than just visuals. Your online presence is very much a part of your brand. This, in part, is visual, but is also made up of company values and the feeling a customer gets when they walk into store or click through your Instagram page.
Branding can be created in several different ways. To name a few, you can cultivate branding through:
- Online presence
- Customer service
- Uniformity of impact
Why is branding important?
Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, had this to say about branding:
‘If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.’
This encapsulates the greatest perk of good branding: customer loyalty. Customer loyalty can depend on a lot of things, from good service to reward schemes. But underpinning it all is branding. Branding promotes trust between a customer and a business. When you have a uniformity of approach to selling, customers know what to expect from you – and if this expectation is good, they will return to buy again.
A survey by Edelmann found that 81% of respondents felt they must trust a brand to buy from it. Clearly, the importance of branding successfully is essential for finding and keeping customers.
Customers want to feel safe in the decisions they are choosing. Often, they will choose a brand they trust over a riskier, but arguably better, choice of company. Even if your prices are higher, or your business is less easy to access for that specific customer, they will still choose you first if they trust your branding.
As Howard Schultz said, if a customer sees themselves in your brand, they will come back again and again. The question is: how can you appeal to the most customers with your food brand?
We’ll find out soon, but first, let’s consider the other benefits of branding. With strong branding, a company can be much more effective with its marketing. Marketing is essential for any business’ success. But, when your target market is already aware of you due to strong branding, they are much more likely to take in your advertising. In turn, your advertising is more likely to be successful.
Typically, customers need to interact with a brand 5 to 7 times before they remember a business. Considering this, branding is essential to keep a business in a customers mind before advertising even begins.
Leading on from excellent marketing, branding is also essential when making a first impression. 48% of customers believe it is at the first purchase when a company can best win their loyalty. And how can a company win loyalty? That’s right, through branding.
A good first impression can depend on many things, but visuals, values, and customer service (three pillars of successful branding) are arguably the three most important. If a customer enjoys being on your site or in your store because it is beautiful, they see themselves reflected, and they feel well-supported by workers, they will be won over.
Visual branding is especially essential for online websites, as a sturdy found a customer’s first impression is made within the first 50 milliseconds.
Why is branding extra important for food businesses?
Branding is a bit tricker for food businesses. Because customers’ natural urges make many food decisions – i.e., the actual taste of the food – branding is less easy to sway a customer. The product itself is incredibly important.
That’s not to say that branding isn’t relevant – of course, it is. It’s just to say that branding, when it comes to food business, has to be handled slightly differently.
Food businesses often operate in certain spheres – you might provide Italian food or Chinese food, or you might be a lunch and coffee kind of business. Within each area, many different businesses are vying for the customer’s attention. So, it is important to show the customer how you stand out from the pack when it comes to branding.
How can you brand your food business successfully?
Logos: Logos were assumed to be the pinnacle of branding not too long ago. Although we now know there is more nuance to branding, it doesn’t mean logos are no longer important. Particularly for food businesses, logos are essential to branding. You can put logos on everything – the windows of your physical store, the bags in which you deliver food, and on your website. Even asking how to come up with a business name that promotes your brand perfectly is important to think about. That, and getting the right logo is tricky – you want to invoke the taste of your food (not an easy task!). Using the right colors is a simple way to do this – using greens for a healthy food business or reds for a pasta place. Invoking the taste of your food is tricky, but when done right, it will attract the customers you want.
Packaging: Product packaging is essential for building a food brand. If you deliver or sell food in packaging, your packaging must fit into your brand. This can include adding your logo, but you uplift your packaging even further. By adding text onto the packaging of, say, a sandwich, you can make reference to your values. For example, you could have a block of text talking about how the lettuce in your sandwich was sustainably sourced if that aligns with your company values.
Social media: More than ever, social media is essential to branding for businesses. Within the food industry, social media can be a great way to showcase to the customer what your food looks like before they buy it. The tone of voice you use online – both on your website and on your social media – is something worth thinking about. Will you use a formal tone? Or a more casual tone? When using a more formal tone, you are likely to attract older generations – those who are professional. A formal tone will likely suit a fancier, classier restaurant. In contrast, a more casual tone will attract younger generations. For those looking to attract this demographic, keeping on top of internet trends can help to market your business successfully.
Influencer marketing: Alongside social media, influencer marketing is a new form of branding we’ve seen a surge of in recent years. Influencer marketing can be great for a food business’ brand, especially as the choice of influencers you work with can say a lot about your brand. By using mom blog for marketing, you can attract families to your restaurants. By using young public figures, you can attract the younger generations. In the same vein as social media, your choices regarding influencer marketing should be well thought through to bring you the most success in branding.
Branding is key.
Branding is key to any business. But considering the highs and lows the food industry have been through in the last eighteen months, branding is essential for those running food businesses. Ensuring you make a good first impression brings in new customers, and your strong branding should keep them loyally coming back.
Food connects us; once you’ve won over a customer, they’ll keep returning, and in doing so, keep your business strong for years to come.
Don’t underestimate the power of good branding. Use it to your benefit, and watch your business go from strength to strength, even when unexpected obstacles come up.