AgDM newsletter article, January 2002

Building your Brand

by Nancy Giddens, Agricultural Extension Marketing Specialist, Missouri Value-added Development Center, University of Missouri

Value-added products need a distinct identity - they need a brand. This article is the first of a five-part series and will examine what branding is, why it is important, and the necessary steps to brand your new product. Next month, we will discuss flanker branding.

What is branding?

Branding is one of the most important factors influencing an item's success or failure in today's marketplace. A brand is the combination of name, words, symbols or design that identifies the product and its company and differentiates it from competition.

Businesses use branding to market a new product, protect market position, broaden product offerings, and enter a new product category. Four types of branding are:

Why is it important to develop a brand for your product?

A brand offers instant product recognition and identification. Consumers identify branded products and, as a result of effective advertising, have confidence in product quality. Retailers like branded products because they make the store profitable - shoppers attracted to branded products spend three to four times more on groceries than do private-label shoppers.

Branding is beneficial for four reasons:

What is the process of branding a product?

A brand must be clear, specific, and unique to your product. For example, the Wheaties brand differentiates the cereal from its competition due to its association with health and "sports excellence." To achieve the same successes with your products, you need to execute the following steps to establish an effective brand:

What are the challenges of building a brand?

The greatest challenge faced when developing and building a brand is creating just the right name, slogan, and symbol for the product. It will take a great deal of time and consideration. A thorough thought process and feedback from others will help to get past this obstacle.

It is often difficult to achieve initial customer recognition of a new product, regardless of branding. However, branded items are more recognizable and memorable. Effective advertising before and after the sale is key to overcoming this obstacle. Advertising and promotion before the sale are essential to obtain first purchases and follow-up advertisements after the sale will promote customer satisfaction and repeat purchases.

Repeat purchases are one of the primary objectives in brand development. Repeat purchases are critical to your business' long-term success and contribute to brand loyalty, which will be discussed in the final article of this series.

No endorsement of products or firms is intended nor criticism implied of those not mentioned.


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