Why branding is so important in the food industry
Your margins are likely as tight as many customers’ purse strings, especially if you’re a start-up or an independent. With this in mind, you need targeted design and communication first time – and that doesn’t just mean a nice logo and a single press release.
It can pay to get professional help from the very beginning to figure out your brand identity and a strategic path forward. That said, it’s never too late to adopt this kind of holistic approach. So, what exactly do you need your brand to do?
1. Tell the story of your business.
The branding process should take into account what your business is and why it exists. There’s a reason that this positioning exercise is top of the list – it forms the framework for everything that follows. Ask yourself, what are your values? What are your goals? What sets you apart from the competition? The answers to these questions should inform the look and feel of your brand.
2. Tie the whole experience together.
Your brand is much more than your logo; it’s the entire experience a customer has with you. You need to bear this in mind at every touchpoint. These touchpoints include your website and your physical space (restaurant, bar, cafe, pub or shop) as well as the communications you put out, from email offers to social media posts. Consider every detail from fonts to tableware: How do they all work together towards your goal?
3. Let people know what to expect.
We’re all creatures of habit at heart and we (usually) like to know what to expect, especially when we’re being asked to part with our hard-earned cash. If someone’s expecting silver service and they get self-service, they’re likely to leave unimpressed even if you excel at what you do. Create a brand that truly reflects the way you work and this shouldn’t be a problem.
4. Create excitement.
Once you’ve got those elements in place that form the backbone of your brand, you need to generate some excitement to intrigue potential customers and entice back previous customers. The surefire way is to know what you’re good at it and do it to the best of your ability. That enthusiasm is infectious, and people will stay excited for long enough to trust you (see point 5) and become loyal customers (see point 7).
5. Build brand trust.
Your brand is effectively a promise to your customer, and it’s important you don’t make promises you can’t keep. You have to back up the brand you’re projecting with your service and your offering. When you do deliver on your promise, it builds brand trust – the value of which can’t be overestimated.
6. Encourage engagement.
Social media platforms are great for engaging with your audience, not just creating awareness. They’re home to customer-generated content and allow the kind of conversation that gives your business a human face and gets your brand personality across. Engage responsibly with positive and negative reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and again this will feed back into brand trust.
7. Inspire customer loyalty.
If you can create an emotional connection between customers and your brand, backed up with great food and excellent service, you’ll have the keys to success. Customers who understand what you’re trying to do, are excited about it and enjoy their experience will trust your brand and keep coming back.