Excellent Food branding will set you apart from the competition.
Food branding relies heavily on feelings – most of the time, you’re convincing your customer that they want to eat or drink something without them having any idea how it tastes.
It’s a hard sell, and the quality of your food branding can determine the success or failure of your business. So, where do you begin?
What is food branding?
If your exciting new food business was a person, food branding would be their personality. It’d be the way they walked and talked, the way they dressed and the people they hang around with. It’s both what makes your business unique and the values it has in common with your potential customers.
Before you can nail the perfect food branding, there are some questions that you’ll need to ask yourself.
Who will buy your product?
Building up a picture of your customer is the bedrock of food branding. The more detail you have, the more precisely your food business can be marketed. Who is your customer? What are their demographics? What speaks to them? Which of their needs does your product fulfil? The more your branding is tailored to them, the more favourably customers will view your product.
How would you describe your business?
What are the first words that come to your mind when you think about your business? They might be obvious things – fresh, healthy, tasty – or you might churn up some qualities that you hadn’t been thinking about. Not everything will be food branding gold, but it’s a great creative exercise.
What’s your USP?
Every successful new business needs something to set itself apart from the competition. It’s why your customers will choose you over your rivals when they’re choosing a new smoothie or place to go for lunch. By highlighting those things that are unique to you, you can push yourself to the forefront of your customer’s minds.
With these three answers in hand, you can set to work on building your food brand.
Here’s a link to more information about defining your USP.
Creating your food brand
First up, your logo. This is the centre of your brand and will appear throughout your branding materials. It’s the face of your company, and you’re going to be seeing a lot of it, so it’s important to get this one right.
Next up is your website. It needs to look great, but it also needs to be fast, accessible and easy to use. No matter how good it looks, your customers won’t hesitate to hit the back button if the functionality isn’t there.
Your brand messaging needs to be reinforced in all aspects of your business. What does your company stand for, and what are its values and beliefs? What does it stand against or aspire to?
Product packaging is the visual representation of what your product embodies and is a crucial aspect of food branding. As well as being visually enticing, it also needs to convey the required information about your product and protect the contents sufficiently.
The materials you choose to package your product in are also important, especially if your brand values sustainability and environmentally friendly ethos.
Not all brands have their brick-and-mortar shops, but it’s essential to consider how your food branding will be rolled out in real-life settings.
Buying a product from an actual human being in a legitimate establishment lends an air of credibility to the experience, especially compared to buying something from an unfamiliar online brand and crossing your fingers that you’ll receive anything.
Your Brand application, like the in-store point of sale displays, signs, branded clothing, tastings and even bags for taking your products home form part of your food branding strategy. And if your branding is on point, merchandise is an obvious next step.
Email marketing is more intimate than other forms of outreach, as it can be directed specifically to the individual.
This results in much better clickthrough rates, thanks to the opportunity to present your brand in a more human light. If someone has already given you their email address, chances are they’re ready to engage further with your brand.
Food brands come to life on social media, offering companies a personal way to engage directly with customers and allowing them to reach out to niche markets effectively.
If your intended audience is particularly active on social media, content and influencer marketing could be the right direction for you. Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, with their emphasis on images and videos, are the best fit for most food branding strategies.
It’s worth investing in quality imagery, but if you’re just starting out you can still get some fairly impressive shots from your smartphone.
Choosing the right colours for food branding
Overall, warm colours work best for food branding – reds, oranges and yellows. Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Kit Kat, Burger King… just a handful of the top brands that utilize these colours. The colour red incites hunger, possibly due to the number of red foods in nature.
Green is associated with freshness, so perfect for natural and organic food brands.
Blue is the most popular colour for other types of branding due to its associations with trust but rarely features prominently in food branding. This is because there are very few naturally occurring blue foods.
More information on colour theory for branding.
Shapes in food branding
Most food brands want to be perceived as open and friendly, so they tend to use curves and circles in their logos. This might take the form of a circular frame around the logo or incorporate curvaceous lines within the logo itself.
Triangles, rectangles and sharp corners have the opposite effect. They have a much more formal feel but might work better for prestige or authoritative brands.
Choosing the right typography
There’s no single font that works universally for food branding. The size, weight and colour of your text will all affect how your brand is perceived.
Fonts should also be considered regarding how they look and ‘feel’ and how well they sit within your overall positioning.
Trends should be avoided as fonts that are very popular today can have a habit of becoming unpopular tomorrow.
Another thing to consider with fonts is that you don’t want to use the same as your competitors, especially with display fonts – you can end up looking like a sub-brand.