How to Develop + Implement a Brand Strategy for Your Food Business

5 Types of Branding in the Food Industry & How to Choose the Right Type for Your Brand (+ a free brand roadmap pdf)

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been working to put together a DIY brand audit that simulates the official brand audits I conduct for my clients in an easy-to-understand manner.

In doing so, I realized that over time, I’ve come to pick up on various types of branding strategies that are commonly used in the industry. With such an oversaturated market, you would think that there are all kinds of different types of branding methods being used.

But, you'd be surprised at just how much in common we share with one another when it comes to branding strategies.

If you've been following along, you know that this month we're honing in on our food branding series. First, we discussed types of branding in the industry - not confused with branding strategies.

Then, last week, we broke down the know-like-trust factor into 3 essential elements and how that applies to your brand.

Today, we're diving into how to outline a brand strategy for your business and common branding strategies used in the food and beverage industry.

*This blog post is in preparation for Culinistic's 7-day Brand Assessment Challenge. You can learn more about the challenge details, sign up, and access the workbook here.

5 types of branding in the food industry & how to choose the right type for your brand plus a free brand roadmap pdf

How to Develop a Brand Strategy for Your Food Business

Before we go any further, let me explain to you what a Brand Strategy is.

Essentially, a brand strategy is an outline, plan, or document that encompasses the combined components of a brand and how those components should be brought to market.

It serves as a guide as you move into the marketing phase of business development, to make sure your brand is functional, intentional, consistent, and relevant.

To accurately outline a brand strategy, you should thoroughly understand your business in four areas: who, why, what, how.

  • Who is your ideal customer?

  • Why are you offering your product/service to your ideal customer?

  • What is your brand's message and personality?

  • How is your product/service solving a problem for your ideal customer better than your competitors?

I'll explain each of these further as we move through this article.

To help you stay on track in your branding process, we've put together 6 key checkpoints in our Food Business + Product Branding Roadmap. If you want to make sure you’re headed in the right direction when it comes to branding your food business, download your free copy now

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Who is your ideal customer?

When determining your ideal customer, specificity is key. Your brand should cater to a specific niche - or a market sector within a larger market with its own preferences. The consumers within your niche make up your ideal customer profile.

Why are you offering your product/service to your ideal customer?

The values and beliefs that make up your business are the qualities that your ideal customer will resonate with. In order for your brand strategy to be appealing, it must have clarity.

What is your brand's message and personality?

The message and personality of a brand can be summarized as a brand story - the experiences of customers and non-customers, the marketing strategy, products, price, remarks, reviews, mission, purpose, and values - that create a persona for your brand to evoke an emotional reaction from your ideal customer.

How is your product/service solving a problem for your ideal customer better than your competitors?

Other brands and businesses within your market are fighting equally as hard to grab the attention of your ideal customer. Learn to identify and understand your competitors, their offerings, and their branding strategies.

These four areas will serve as the foundation for the implementation of your brand strategy. Create a document to outline each of these attributes, and use it to refer to when developing marketing strategies and content to enter into the marketplace.


Types of Branding Strategies

There are various ways to implement your planned brand strategy, as evidenced in the range of brand strategies implemented in the marketplace. Of them all, here's a list of some most relevant types of branding strategies in the food and beverage industry (in no particular order).

1 | No-Brand or Private Label Branding

We've all ventured into the supermarket and found various brands lining the store shelves. Among these brands, you can usually find a generic brand or store brand offering the same product at a lower cost. This is called private label branding.

When developing private label options, third-party vendors are acquired and contracted to develop a product strictly for the specified retailer.

Food retail distributors often utilize private labels to convey lower prices to customers, as well as create cost-effective (and competitive) offerings internally.

2 | Name Brand Recognition

Opposite from private label branding, name brand recognition calls upon the weight of a brand's name to extend its product mix.

Starbucks, the most well-known coffee brand in the world, started out as a retail coffee shop offering one product type - freshly brewed coffee.

Over the years, the brand has developed a strong name recognition factor, which it has used to catapult into various sectors - instant coffee, cold-brew coffee, coffee pods, RTD (ready-to-drink) coffee beverages, and more.

The QSR (quick service restaurant) and fast food sectors are also extremely successful in the use of name brand recognition to extend its brand strategy.

By calling upon the weight of its brand name, chains like McDonald's, Taco Bell, and In-n-Out Burger have been able to create a strong sense of brand loyalty. These brands have utilized name brand recognition to venture into new product mixes, new sales channels, and take a larger market share of their existing categories.

3 | Brand and Line Extensions

Brand extension, or a venture into a new market by an existing brand, is a branding strategy that allows the brand to carry its identity over to a new product mix.

Let's go back to the supermarket shelves. A common example of a brand extension within the food retail sector are restaurant-brand processed foods - for instance, P.F. Chang's freezer meal selections or Olive Garden's Italian Dressing. Even Cheesecake Factory has extended its foodservice brand to offer their dinner bread in the CPG market.

By calling upon the brand recognition of the established brand, it makes consumer acceptance and product appeal of the new product much easier to attain.

Other common examples of brand extension in the food industry include, retail brands extending to new product types (like Newman's Own extensive line of products) and line extensions (like diet, organic, or gluten-free versions of an original product available in CPG, or offering a new flavor option for the original product).

4 | Individual (Subsidiary) Branding

Individual branding is seen with a parent brand offering products that carry their own unique brand identities in the marketplace.

This can be seen in the food retail sector with large food brands distributing various product brands within various product categories. For example, PepsiCo houses some of the top food brands worldwide - Pepsi, Gatorade, Quaker Oats, Cheetos, Pure Leaf Teas, Lipton, Sabra, Ruffles, Aunt Jemima, and more.

Individual branding allows the parent organization to create different personas, or brand identities, for each product and are able to position them accordingly.

This also allows the parent brand to reach a large number of consumers, with each brand having its own specified target audience.


5 types of branding in the food industry & how to choose the right type for your brand (+ a free brand roadmap pdf)

In this post, we discussed checkpoint 5 in the Food Biz + Product Branding Roadmap. Don’t forget to sign up for your free copy so that you can stay on track with your branding strategy, then check back next week as we wrap up all 6 checkpoints.

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If you're interested in going more in-depth on creating a brand that your ideal customer can't resist, I strongly recommend signing up for our Brand Assessment Challenge. It's a 7-day email challenge where we'll walk you through clarifying your brand story, identifying your target market, building a brand identity, and more! If that sounds like something you need help with, I invite you to learn more, sign up, and get your workbook here!

Or you can schedule a free clarity call to discuss how our Brand Analysis package can benefit your brand!


Do you have a brand strategy in place?

What types of branding strategies are relevant to your business? Let me know in the comments section below.


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