All too often we see amazing new food companies launch, only to see them fail a few months later. While having a love for all things food may be enough to get your food business started, it takes a tremendous amount of planning and effort to remain in business – not to mention a little luck. The food industry is a fast-paced world that never seems to slow down. Here are 4 helpful tips to help make your food business stand out from the rest and ensure you never end up on the dreaded chopping block.
1) Never Underestimate The Importance of Visual Branding
Your company’s logo and product packaging is your brand’s first impression to your customers. So, just like any first impression, it pays to make it count. Does your visual identity represent what your company stands for? Are you a sustainable, eco-friendly business who uses a lot of organic-feeling visuals and colors? Perfect! Or perhaps you make fruit-based products and therefore feature bright fruit colors depending on the flavor of each product? Great!
We are fans of the visual changes that vegan food maker Hampton Creek made to their packaging during their recent rebranding to Just. Of course, they desperately needed a relaunch after controversies regarding their business tactics and ethics. That aside, their packaging is cleaner, brighter, more indicative of the contents inside, and, last but not least, more fun.
A food company’s visual aesthetic must be able to capture the business elements you wish to portray to your customers. With an eye-catching logo and/or label and package, your business can easily capture your consumer’s attention. To make this happen, it requires careful planning and consideration.
As a start, focus on your logo design. Here are four effective logo design principles to keep in mind.
- Simple: Ensure that your logo is unique but at the same time not overly exaggerated.
- Versatile: Maintain an effective logo that is able to use on all forms of media. Does your logo still look good if it is printed in one color? When it is small as the size of a postage stamp? When it is big as the size of a billboard?
- Memorable: Create a logo that has a lasting impression.
- Appropriate: Build strong connections with your customers by ensuring that your logo is appropriate for your targeted audience.
Creating the perfect company logo is difficult. We are big believers in “done is better than perfect”. Logos change all of the time depending on a company’s business goals and direction. One prominent example of this would be Starbucks. Starbucks has changed its logo a few times as a result of their brand evolution throughout the years to ensure its relevance in today’s market.
2. Connect With Your Audience Through Social Media
Social media is an excellent tool that you can use to stay in touch with your customers. Having a Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook account allow you to reach your intended customer demographics. If your company produces all-natural snacks, you may want to focus on a younger, active-lifestyle demographic. On the other hand, if your company produces high-end chocolates, your target customers may be women with disposable incomes. The ability to target a particular group of people allows you to focus your messaging and engage a more passionate audience online.
To use social media effectively, your brand has to engage and delight your audience. Produce meaningful content that your consumers seek instead of forcing your products or service is the most effective way to build long-term meaningful customer relationships. If you only focus on blasting promotional offers all day long on social media, you will definitely lose your followers quickly.
Below is an example of an Instagram post by Sweetist, an NYC online delivery service that delivers sweets and baked goods from the most popular bakery to your doorsteps.
As you can see from the post, Sweetist did not aggressively promote its products but instead tried to engage with its followers by displaying an Instagram-worthy picture of an ice-cream cone with an interesting caption on National Ice Cream Day.
3. Blog Your Way To Your Customer’s Heart
Blogs are a great, and underrated, way for up-and-coming companies to talk to their customers. Aside from articles about your business specifically, you can have other posts written about various topics. For an ice cream maker, in addition to posts about products and business updates, writing a weekly series on recipes or a seasonal post on top desserts gives customers other reasons to pay attention to your brand.
In addition to giving existing customers an avenue for engaging with your company, a blog can also bring in new traffic to your site and introduce your brand to new potential customers.
4. Create Accessibility with Online Channels
Having a website is table-stakes for food companies today. 61% of internet users will research about a product online before deciding if they should make a purchase. Without a website, your potential customers cannot find out more about your brand and what it has to offer.
Depending on your customer demographics and marketing strategy, you may even want to consider mobile applications as an online property. Mobile applications are a user-friendly way to share your products and services to your customers who are constantly on the go. 57% of all digital media use is attributed to mobile applications. Coca-Cola has released a “Freestyle App” allowing customers to locate the nearest Freestyle drink vending machine and share their favorite recipes with their friends.
While apps are likely a stretch for most food businesses, e-commerce websites are certainly worth considering, depending on go-to-market strategy and ability to distribute. Another web property addition worth considering is a B2B eCommerce Portal, giving your wholesale customers access to make online orders or check account balances.
Don’t wait any further. Start growing your food business by implementing some of the tips in this article and be impressed with the growth you will experience.