Have you ever wondered about the lifespan of a brand? Do they all last the same? Or they swing from ‘a flash in the pan’ time span and ‘they lived on and on’? Does the principle of ‘well-begun is half-done’ hold true here? A close look at the history of branding makes it crystal clear: most brands fail. Reports suggest that 96% of businesses fail within 10 years of inception. Disheartening it may sound, but the way forward need not be!
Can we draw up a list of do’s and don’ts to ensure your brand succeeds? Is it about time? Or space? Omission or commission? Claim and performance are what finally lead to your brand image. A strong brand will go a long way to help you conquer the highs and lows of the market, the changing industry regulations, the frequent technological advances, and the fluctuating demands of customers.
Here are 7 branding pitfalls to avoid, especially if you are in the F&B industry:
- Lacking a clear brand promise: Brands that lack brand promise weaken their standing. Since the relationship between brand and customer is based on trust, sticking to your brand promise is important for establishing a pact with them that ensures consistent service. But most of all, it should be kept – every time. The brand promise is paramount in all dealings with the customer, delivering on all touch points: who you are, what you do and also how you are different from others. McDonald’s is a successful brand today because it delivers on its brand promise: when customers see the Golden Arches, they know they can expect simple food with great service and value.
- Not differentiating your brand: In the competitive F&B domain, being unique is imperative. Ensure that you are able to project the real differentiation beyond your product offering: highlight strengths that are unique to your brand and the special services you offer. A constant reinvention, recharging, revitalisation will go a long way in setting your business apart. Wine manufacturer Sula scores high on differentiation; consumers can enjoy a trip through the vineyards, visit the winery, and set a peek into the winemaking process.
- Blindly following trends: Trending is the name of the game today, and our attention is constantly entrapped by a hashtag, an Instagram story and the like. What is important to remember is that these waves come and go. But none of them are permanent, none last forever. Focus your energy on crafting your own unique story and tell it your way, regardless of what everyone else is doing. With revenue in chocolate spreads amounting to $2,121 million in 2018, if you are targeting the health-conscious customer with low-fat, low-sugar waffles, it won’t be a good idea to showcase your product with high-calorie chocolate spreads in your advertisements.
- Not staying relevant: Like time and tide, the fast pace of the industry waits for no one. Would that mean your brand has to embrace every new technology or social media platform? No, certainly not! The goal for any brand should be relevance — and in order to remain relevant, you must be nimble, dynamic and aware of current trends. If you have the ability to evolve alongside the shifting perceptions of your customers, industry trends and technology advances or risk, the chance of becoming irrelevant is unlikely. With the demand for vegan and vegetarian food increasing, it might make sense for restaurants to offer organic and ‘farm-to-table’ items on the menu and meet the needs of customers trying to include more vegan food into their meals.
- Not focusing on core values: A rock-solid company culture backed by a brand’s core values will ensure internal misalignment, which can be a common and major problem, never arises. If your brand is misaligned internally, your frontline employees will not relate to or believe in your brand’s purpose. The result will be a pattern of poor behavior will affect customer experience, which in turn will affect the company’s bottom line. AMUL’s strategy of branding through advertising and campaigns have helped them establish a strong place in peoples’ minds – founded in 1946, the brand still sticks to its core values.
- Not telling an effective branding story: With a plethora of marketing and advertising campaigns flooding the market and staring the customer in the face, it is important to be able to rise above the commonplace! Your brand can either be part of the white noise that constitutes the background of your customers’ experience, or you can command their attention with a brand story that is relevant, meaningful, compelling and unique. Of immense importance is that your brand story articulates your brand vision clearly.
- Not thinking glocally: The world is more and more diverse, and ignorance or ethnocentricity should never become your bane. The best way to welcome customers from myriad backgrounds is to use branding techniques that all your customers can relate to. Practice cultural sensitivity, be inclusive, respect feedback from all and do you research when venturing into unknown territories. As consumers become more and more finicky about where their food comes from, Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees source their own supplies, subject to compliance with the brand’s specifications.
Branding Tips for Success
Each year, there are a variety of opportunities for growing F&B companies to excel. But staying on top of changing customer needs, designing new packaging, and employing the latest technology is essential in a competitive marketplace. No matter how big or small your brand is, building a credible identity is essential as it is one of the first steps along the path to success. Ensuring you have clarity of the basics will allow you to steer clear of avoidable errors and take a significant amount of stress out. The value of a good brand is quite simply, beyond measure. So, make sure to avoid these pitfalls and witness your brand’s success all along.
Looking for help on branding your F&B business? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.