05 September 2018, 14:24 PM
  • Richard Horwell, managing director of Brand Relations, answers the age-old question: 'how important is communication, anyway?'
Communication, communication, communication

Let’s talk about communication, because unless you communicate the right message to your consumer then your brand will fail. Some of the best products are no longer around as they failed to engage with their consumers as a brand!

Years ago, I went to live in Australia - while there I met a multi-millionaire businessman that arrived in Brisbane as a Lebanese immigrant with nothing. He managed to get the money together to open a hairdressing salon, then another and another. Before long, he was the Toni & Guy of Australia. He turned his hand to restaurants and was again, successful. I had dinner with him one night and asked him what his secret to success was, and these words have stuck with me throughout my career in branding: ‘if you try to explain something to someone and they don’t understand you, they are not stupid for not understanding, you are stupid for not explaining properly’. This is so true of food and drink brands - if the product needs a long explanation as to why the consumer should buy it, they won’t! Social media, PR and sampling costs a LOT of money when often all that is needed is to engage with the consumer on the shelf. ‘Buy me and not the competition’ - Innocent did this very successfully, talking to their consumer through their packaging. Now, everyone does it.

Recipe development
This is the longest process of all and can take weeks to months, especially if you are uncertain as to what you want - making up a product in a kitchen is vastly different to mass production. Compromises need to be made, and you will never achieve the same taste or quality of the product that you have handmade in small batches in mass production.

We avoid preservatives completely, so making a healthy food or drink brand that has a reasonable shelf life without preservatives is a challenge - but it’s the only way forward. We outsource this with a range of companies, depending on the product and look at the past products they have made, even speak to some of their clients, but most importantly is the final cost and whether the retail price will be competitive. Do your research!

Once you have a final recipe, then you can focus on the name and branding. After you have brainstormed a range of names, search the IPO for similar names in your category. Registering a trademark is tough to advise on and its best to speak to a professional, as the rules regarding trademarks can be tricky - what you may get registered in the UK may be declined in the EU.

This, and countless other aspects of building a brand including certification and compliance may be tedious, but it’s critical to make sure that you get this right to ensure the unique and memorable brand you build can stand the test of time.