By Andrea Ivančević

 

Food industry branding relies on natural urges and “gut” feelings; branding visuals can make your customers hungrier, or lose their appetite.

For anyone working in food, a broad category that includes innovators in the food industry, manufacturers of packaged foods, restaurants, food bloggers, food-related services and beverage companiesthe nuances of food branding and marketing strategies aren’t exactly obvious. This article will include an overview of food branding and will guide you to making the right impression on customers and investors.

 

THE BASICS OF FOOD BRANDING

If your company were a person, “branding” would be how that person presents themselves—how they dress or wear their hair, how they act, whether they crack jokes or formally adhere to etiquette. Branding is more than just publicity; it influences how consumers perceive your company and the value they assign to it.

When done well, branding creates personal and emotional ties with your customer base, not to mention separating and differentiating you from your rivals in a meaningful way. You can accomplish these results through visuals, such as using the right colors, shapes and typography and also through communication techniques like your content strategy or which channels you use.

Your branding choices should complement your business strategies and long term goals. For example, a company whose top priority is customer acquisition benefits from different branding strategies than a company whose priority is customer retention. But to complicate things further, the companies in the food industry have to make branding decisions based on both brand style and what the target audience finds appetizing.

There are some key aspects of your company that you’ll need to understand before you dive into creating your visual identity.

 

3 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

You’ll need to answer some hard questions about your business before you can determine which branding strategies will work best. These three key questions will help you get to the heart of what your business is really about:

  1. Who is buying your product? Who is your target market or customer? What are their demographics? What do they like and how do they want to be talked to? Branding is tailored to your target customers, so the more you understand them, the better.
  2. How would you describe your brand? This is more of a creative exercise to help pinpoint your branding style. If you have an eloquent answer to this question, great! If not – try listing out adjectives to describe your ideal brand personality until you have a good idea. Adjectives like healthy, organic or passionate can help you hone in on your brand’s voice and character. You can try to find your visual brand style here.
  3. What separates you from your competition? In other words, what’s your value proposition? Why should customers choose you instead of your rivals? A key aspect of branding is isolating your most attractive features and playing those up, so people think of you first when it’s time to part with their money.

 

THE 6 ESSENTIALS OF A SUCCESSFUL FOOD BRAND

The “6 essentials” outline what a company needs for a successful and cohesive branding strategy; they are the manifestations and deliverables of your branding efforts, the tangible results of your stylistic choices.

  1. Logo — The face of your brand and centerpiece of your entire food branding strategy. The most important branding element, your food logo anchors everything your company represents.
  2. Website — The way your website looks is important, but looks don’t mean anything if it doesn’t work. Functionality and ease-of-use are the king and queen of website design; they reveal just how adept your company really is.
  3. Brand messagingWhat is your brand saying? Your brand messaging includes its values, mission statements, beliefs, frequent talking points and, of course, the brand slogan.
  4. Product packaging — When it comes to food branding, your choice of product packaging is crucial. Packaging has the power to attract customers and is a visual representation of the culinary experience your product offers.
  5. Social media — A personal way to engage directly with customers and start a dialogue. The type of posts you publish, as well as the channels you publish on, can provide a direct link to your specific niche market.
  6. Email marketing — Emails are a favorite strategy for online marketers because they’re more intimate than other methods of outreach, and interestingly have some of the best clickthrough rates.

You’ll also need a brand guideline in which you, together with your designer, will define all the standards of your brand and keep it looking professional throughout parts of your business. Here are 21 brand style guide examples of famous brand.

 

BEST BRANDING STYLES FOR THE FOOD INDUSTRY

What colors are the most appetizing? Do hungry customers respond better to circles or squares? Where do all the foodies hang out online? With a market as particular as the food industry, certain branding techniques work better than others.

Here’s a breakdown of the best food branding techniques for different areas of your outreach. Keep these in mind when you’re designing your logo and creating your brand assets.

BEST COLORS FOR FOOD BRANDING

In a nutshell, warm colors—red, orange and yellow—work best for food branding. Of these, red is the best for inciting hunger (perhaps due to the abundance of red foods in nature). And because warm colors pair nicely with each other, you see a lot of red-yellow or red-orange food branding.

But if the food you’re selling is healthy or organic, you should focus on green shades that draw consumers’ attention to the fact that it is something that is good for us and our environment.

Learn more about color psychology.

BEST TYPOGRAPHY FOR FOOD BRANDING

There is no single “best typography” for the food industry. The size, weight and color of your text, not to mention the font, all have their own unique connotations for your brand personality, so the best ones for you depend on what kind of brand you strive to be. There are some common trends among the food industry, though. For example, if you’re going for an old-fashioned tavern style, like Jack Daniel’s, a retro font can convey that to viewers instantly.

Or, if you want people to see you as a modern eatery or food producer like Swirl Frozen Yogurt, a minimalist sans serif typography looks the part.

You can always blend together two opposing styles to create something distinctly you. Keep in mind that curves are “friendly” and straight lines/sharp corners are “professional.” So a font with lots of curves, like cursive, will attract a more casual clientele than a strict, classy font.

 

PACKAGING YOUR FOOD OR BEVERAGE

Food and beverage packaging is very widely—and is a key element of food branding. Your customers’ first experience of your product happens with their eyes, not their taste buds, so the way you package your food or drink matters, a lot. Packaging also helps distinguish your product from the zillions of other options crowding shelves or online grocery web pages.

When considering packaging for your food or drink, looks definitely matter, but appearances are meaningless if your packaging doesn’t do its job. Before you embark on a packaging design journey ask yourself, and your designer, a few key questions:

  • What is my product? What are the materials and dimensions? Is it a single product or are there (or will there be in the future) several flavors or formats?
  • What purpose does the packaging serve? Does it have to keep the food soft or crunchy? Does it have to stand up to refrigeration? Food packaging carries a lot of responsibility—in the US, it also has to follow FDA requirements for transparent ingredient and nutrient listing.
  • Where will consumers see the package? (Will it be sold exclusively online? At small speciality grocers? Or at big name stores like Target or Walmart?) Where consumers see your product also influences its packaging.

When designing your packaging, keep details like logo placement, materials, colors, fonts and shapes in mind.

Take a look for some creative packaging in food and beverages here.

 

FOOD BRANDING ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Food brands can successfully post their content on any social media—Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Reddit, Youtube, even LinkedIn professionals would be interested. But the best channels for food branding are typically the ones that revolve around visuals because they’re a hotbed for food pics.

When launching a social media campaign stick tight to the branding guidelines you’ve already established and follow these simple, yet powerful guidelines:

TELL A STORY

Random images of food products are fine, but they’ll pack a bigger punch if they’re telling a quick story, are part of a greater story about you or your brand or are connected to a story or idea that everyone can relate to.

For example: Tesco’s storytelling serves several purposes: offering really valuable content as recipe ideas, and also connecting with a wide audience, outlining diverse groups of people.

INVEST IN VISUALS

It’s all about the visuals! Shoddy images won’t fly on social media—and posts without images get significantly less action than those with striking photos. We consume content 60,000 times faster, which is essential for marketing purposes. Take the time to teach yourself about capturing quality shots of your food products (or hire a food photographer to help capture drool-worthy photos of your products. You can find them on social media, or on Platforms like Behance, Pinterest and similar). 

Here are the 5 tips for better food photography techniques.

GIVE THEM VIDEO

Quality images are essential, but video is where it’s at. Quick social media videos of your food product in action can spark strong cravings in your consumers.

Take Peach Mart’s quick Instagram videos of Asian snack foods. Yum!

BE CONSISTENT

Take some time to create a visual calendar for your social media posts—perhaps you’ll be posting each day of the week and will feature a different image of your product or different products in your line with a unique caption/story. Be sure that the images have a consistent tone and feel. You want to give your users a cohesive experience of your social media pages.

USE HASHTAGS

Also, master the hashtag. Hashtags are your key to connecting with more people. Get familiar with popular industry hashtags as well as customized hashtags specifically for your unique brand.


 

Need help branding your food business?

Andea is a graphic designer with over 10 years of experience in transforming ideas into reality and identities into successful and recognizable brands. Her skills are focused on creating visual identities, packaging, print and digital materials, pitch deck design, social media marketing and website development.

Contact: andrea@designitup.co

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