Your Brand Is Not Your Logo - How To Establish Your Food Brand
Your Brand Is Not Your Logo – How To Establish Your Food Brand
So you’re opening up a restaurant, starting a packaged food business, or maybe have decided to open a distillery. Regardless of what type of food or beverage business you’re interested in, there are many elements that go into creating your brand – long before you need to worry about designing your logo. First, let’s define what a brand is:
A brand is an overall experience of a customer that helps to distinguish a business, organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer.
It’s a toolbox of assets you should reach into daily that differentiates you.
At the end of the day, building your brand is about positioning. It’s what sets you apart from the rest and defines what makes you so darn special. And honestly, defining some of the non-graphic elements of your brand is more critical in the early stages than the logo and other graphic aspects – because it’s your story that should determine your entire identity. By defining elements like your story and your voice upfront, you can better incorporate these elements to create a more cohesive experience when it comes to things like designing your logo, planning your menu, or designing a label for your product.
The key components that form a brand's toolbox include brand narrative, brand identity, and brand awareness. There are other tools that are also important, but when we are helping a young food or restaurant brand, this is usually where we start out. We’ll break down these three tools below.
Before you know what tangible elements you want to make up your brand identity, you need to know who you are as a brand.
Your mission (what’s your “why?”)
Your values (what beliefs drive your business?)
Your unique positioning (how do you differentiate yourself?)
Your brand personality (how do you communicate with your customers?)
Your brand narrative should be obvious to you, though for many businesses, it takes time to understand why it matters. It includes the personal aspects of your business, operational elements of your business and the voice of your business. Consistent use and inclusion of these three pieces of your story help to establish a unique narrative of who your brand is – and why your customers should care about you.
It’s key that you find a way to create an emotional connection with your consumers. Your brand’s personal story is the first step of this. It should include details such as:
Family, History and Legacy
How long you’ve been in business (but only if it’s been a while)
The passion behind WHY you’re in business
The operational pieces of your narrative should help to differentiate you from other businesses and showcase expertise in your field. This could include things such as:
How long you’ve been in business (to convey expertise)
Special operational aspects (unique recipes, methods, ingredients, processes)
Telling the personal and operational elements of your business is only part of it. How you tell that story is your brand voice. Your brand voice is not what you say, but how you say it. It’s the personality, language, tone and purpose of what you say. For instance, a high-end aspirational brand may have a more formal voice, whereas a casual brand could have a more conversational tone.
Develop both long and short form versions of your story, weaving in both personal and operational aspects with your own voice and tone. You’ll use the long form versions on your website and short form on everything from your social media profiles to packaging.
Once you’ve locked in who you are as a brand, it’s time to build out the rest of the identity that will bring your brand to life and show who you are to the people who matter most – your customers. Your brand identity is made up of the tangible elements that will determine how your brand is perceived. Things like your packaging, website, social media graphics, photo assets on sales sheets, business cards and even the uniforms your employees wear are all parts of your identity. What will you do to make all of these items recognizably yours, because remember:
Your brand is not your logo – it’s your logo and a whole lot more.
And while it’s true the most recognizable piece of your brand identity is your logo (at least let’s hope so!), your identity is also comprised of other elements such as:
Pattern and Texture
Form and Shape
But even your logo is a complex piece of brand identity. It’s a common misconception that you need “a logo,” when you actually need multiple versions of your logo for different uses and applications, for example:
Horizontal / Vertical
Detailed / Simplified
Multi-Color / One Color
Dark / Light
If you have not already, you should develop a Brand Style Guide to define the brand standards for your business. A good brand style guide will not only include the pieces of your identity and establish the rules for use, but it will also convey your voice and purpose and how that translates to all elements of design.
Brand Awareness refers to the extent in which customers (potential or actual) are able to recall or recognize a brand. It starts with one word...
It is so incredibly important to be consistent in your branding and marketing efforts. Subtle nuances like the colors and fonts you use may seem unimportant, they are actually key to creating a connection with your customers. When we see the golden arches, we automatically think about one brand instinctually. This is the result of using that brand element again and again for years and years, building an awareness and identity.
With this in mind, everything you do is an opportunity to build brand awareness. You can continue to drive brand awareness and create these connections to your customers by ensuring a consistent design and approach to everything you do:
Business cards and stationery
Email marketing design
Social media images and design
Promotional and sales materials
Ultimately, you’ll find that these elements become distinct to you and are a core to who you are as a business.