IEC 2008: Keep egg branding simple, stimulating
Egg producers and processors are urged to define the benefits of their products and how can they add, create, retain and capture value.
“Most important thing to remember about branding is that a brand is not what a company says it is, but what the consumer believes it is,” asserted Ronald Driesen, communications and branding expert. “Strong marketing is building a strong brand in the minds and hearts of consumers.”
Three aspects of branding are essential:
- Consistency in all communications.
- Consistency over time.
- Continuous renewal.
Egg producers and processors are urged to examine how exactly they and their products differ from their competitors. Also, to define the benefits of their products and how can they add, create, retain and capture value.
Consumers need insight
Consumers need to be given an insight into the benefits and values of a brand, though Driesen stressed it is important to provide supporting evidence of any claims made.
Building a brand strategy and promise requires communicating:
- Core benefits,
- Unique product features,
- Company character,
- Brand promise, and
- What the company represents.
These points can be communicated through packaging, advertising, promotion, point-of-sale, the press and, increasingly important, Web sites.
Branding adds value to a product. He emphasized that a brand is something that sets a company apart from its competitors, but he stressed that branding takes time. “It is a marathon, not a sprint,” he added.
Branding started a long time ago when ranchers used a hot iron to mark and identify their stock. Today a brand tells the consumer, “This is for you.” So the meaning has changed from one of identification to one of identity.
A successful brand has a name, a symbol, a design or some combination of these that identifies the products of a particular organization as having a sustainable differential advantage. However, consumers are bombarded by too many messages on a daily basis. In this world of “over-communication,” a brand must be strong to succeed.
A brand is a promise to customers and embraces messages, visual images, the tone and manner of communications. He stressed that a brand message applies to all employee and management actions across an organization not just the marketing team.
Customers care about brands because they make life easier. Brands are trusted, allowing the customer to make an automatic purchase.
“Strong brands are a promise of quality of origin, safety and taste,” he said. They are the result of four major factors:
- The product – its quality and performance.
- The trade – professionalism and dedication.
- Communications – advertising, promotion, and packaging.
- Brand awareness – share of mind.
The marketing advantages of a strong brand are:
- Improved perceptions of product performance.
- Greater customer loyalty.
- Less vulnerability to competition.
- Greater trade co-operation.
- Partnership opportunities.
- Brand extension opportunities.
- Sale of product benefits.
A brand can differentiate a product in such as way that it actually pre-sells the item. A strong brand also sells more quickly and at a premium price.
While the most important part of a brand is the product itself, from a branding point of view the key aspects are the product benefits – what it does for the customers. The personality of the product, reflecting the brand and the company, is also important. A visual or distinct identity is required and any emotional values should be considered.
Driesen said the aspects of branding are both physical such as the logo, design, layout and colors, and emotional which are evoked by the images of both the product and the company behind it.
On brand concept management he called out three main benefits:
- Functional benefits – solving consumer-related problems.
- Symbolic benefits – needs for social approval or personal expression.
- Experiential benefits – sensory pleasure, variety.
- Stages of relationships.
Driesen listed four degrees of relationships between consumers and a strong brand. First, brand recognition, “Yes, I know this brand.” Hopefully followed by brand acceptance – “Yes, maybe I’ll try this brand.” Next, comes brand preference, “Yes, I prefer this brand.” And finally, brand insistence, “No, I don’t want another product. I only want this brand.”
Adding and retaining value attributes are essential to establishing a strong brand but it is also important to create value by stressing that the product is more than just a food. This enables marketers to capitalize on aspects such as locality, breed, health, biodiversity and naturalness.
However, it is important to only communicate a few of possibly many differentiating product benefits at a time. The golden rule here is to keep it simple but stimulating.