If there's one person you should know in the natural products industry, it's Bob Burke; he's spent the last 30 years learning its ins and outs. The Principal of Natural Products Consulting, Burke helps bring natural, organic and specialty products to market.
At this year's Natural Products Business School at Expo East, Burke shared his multidecades' worth of brand success and wisdom, from financial basics to establishing advisory boards. But, as he says, "Truly building value in your company—it's creating a great brand." Nailing your branding is a core part of success in a competitive industry. Here are three essentials you should know when creating standout branding for your CPG product.
"A brand is a promise."
According to Burke, a brand's promise is a blend of its features, benefits and values, all of which can be highlighted with its branding.
"Everything you do is either accretive or diminishes your brand," he says. So, get clear on your brand's promise. What does it stand for? How is it differentiated from competition? What is its personality? How can you shine a light on these answers in your branding?
Take the time to think about these questions and put them into action early on.
"Invest in branding as early as you can with people who know what they're doing".
While it might seem easier to bootstrap your branding in the penny-pinching early days, Burke actually advises investing in this as soon as possible. Why?
Setting a solid branding foundation can save you time and headaches later on, not to mention it'll help positively distinguish your brand from the get-go. It's strategically delegating what others can do better than you, for the good of the brand.
And although retailers and distributors hold a lot of power, having great branding can counterbalance that, especially if consumers are requesting and demanding your product in-store. This will most likely give you some more say in retailer and distributor conversations, too.
"Today, it's all about storytelling."
Have you ever been really drawn to a brand because of its emotional backstory? Felt a connection with its founders? Resonated with its mission and become a repeat costumer as a result? This is storytelling.
"Authenticity—being true—is really the basis for an emotional connection with the consumer," Burke says. Consumers want to know who's behind the brand. What's your brand's backstory? What inspired you? How did you come up with the product?
Storytelling creates a competitive edge, so how can you get your brand's story out into the world? From social media to in-person education, there are numerous opportunities to get creative sharing your story, so take advantage.
During a brand's early stages, sticking to branding basics, like Burke covered here, just might be that "secret sauce" you've been looking for. Getting these down and doing them well will set a foundation for long-term branding success, naturally distinguishing your brand from the crowd.