How To Do Brand Strategy for a New Business

How to avoid branding mistakes when bringing a retail product to market. (This is a follow up to our "Wholesale 101" branding workshop for StayLocal!)

Successful Brands Line 58 has worked with include Aidan Gill, ProMaster and Nola Foods.

Make the Invisible Visible.

— Hillman Curtis

Are You Ready for Branding?

Whether you've got an idea for a retail product and you're ready to take it to market or you're already selling your product and you're looking to expand geographically, chances are you've given some thought to your branding. When branding is done well it can help bring your vision to life. But if you've got problems with your branding it could create confusion in the marketplace and it could mean the death of your business in the long run.

Line 58 Branding & Web Design has developed packaging solutions that our clients implemented themselves; packaging solutions that helped put our clients on the shelves of Whole Foods; and we've created brand architecture, strategy, and packaging for international retail brands.

We want to see your business grow and become successful too! This article will guide you with some of the thinking and questioning we use to help form our brand strategies at Line 58. You'll also begin to understand some of the common mistakes other people often make so you can learn to avoid them with your brand.

What Are You Branding?

Successful branding always starts by asking the right questions: "What are you branding?", "Does the market want the product?", "Does the product solve a problem?", "Does it solve that problem at a price point your customers will be comfortable paying?", etc. The point is, no amount of branding can compensate for a flawed business model.

No amount of branding can compensate for a flawed business model.

By asking these questions you can begin to think more strategically about how you will execute your branding strategy. Equally important, and maybe even more so, is this question: "Am I branding a product or a company?" or rather, "Do I ever plan on having another idea?" If so, you should probably be thinking in terms of branding for your company.

Line 58 Brand Strategist Geoff Coats at the StayLocal! Wholesale 101 Branding Workshop

What Makes Your Product Different?

If your brand has no differentiation you are just a commodity. In order to avoid that, we begin asking more questions: "What differentiates your product?", "Is it new?", "Is it 'better'? and if so, "Why?", "Is it less expensive?" and so on. Brand strategy is all of the thinking that comes behind your object, and while branding can be so many different things (logo, voice, color, typography, promises, word mark, personality, etc.), it's always about differentiation.

What Information Do Your Customers Need?

As a business owner, you can't always be there to communicate your value proposition to the customer. You're going to need to know what information your customers need from you so they can understand your product when you aren't there to talk with them. Ask yourself, "What might be a friction point for my customers with my product?" Your copy can then speak your message for you while bringing differentiation into the market.

Do you know the packaging, content, and display requirements for your product? Many times, these are excellent opportunities when you start thinking strategically about them. Boxes are three-dimensional objects, so how can you take advantage of this? How can you integrate into a retail space that might not be yours? Can you make it easier for the consumer in some way? Often times, if you ask questions to your vendors and retailers you can discover interesting ways to reach your customers.

The language on the Atomic Burger website communicates the value proposition.

Ideas vs. Things

An important thing for business owners to understand is the difference between ideas (strategy) and things (tools). Too often, business owners get hung up on the thing – they want a new website, or a brochure, or new packaging. But a new website won't deliver top-line revenue growth if the website hasn't been designed and developed to support a very specific business strategy.

It's not about what you want, but rather what you want to achieve.

Be sure you know where you want to go. It's not about what you want, but rather what you want to achieve. What is the goal you are trying to achieve? If you don't know what you're trying to achieve, any amount of money you are going to spend is a waste of money.

What Do You Want to Achieve?

Your brand is an emotional connection. It's a relationship between your company and your audience. It's about honesty and it's about authenticity, but it's about human authenticity and what we mean by that is that your brand needs a consistent personality. Everything coming from your brand should always feel related.

Lastly, know your brand and know where you want to go before you set out. As business owners, we must understand what we are trying to achieve from the tools that are available, whether that be a website, a Facebook page or a brochure.

View Geoff's full presentation on this topic via slideshare.

Ready to create a strategy that differentiates your brand from the competition?

Line 58's team of strategists is here to help. Get started with our online project builder form or give us a call at 504.891.4526 to learn more about our services.