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Why should I put your products on my shelves?

Blog #2 in a series of 6

Is your brand different enough?

I was talking to the food purchasing director for a well known chain of premium retailers and she told me that the people who present new products to her need to know that, to sell their brand, she needs to make some shelf space available therefore she needs to de-list a competitor's products. That’s the harsh reality of growing your business right there, your success will come at the expense of someone else’s failure.

Growing a food business

So, when you're pitching to a buyer, you need to know how your product, service, price and brand strategy compares with your competition and you need to turn any differences into a competitive edge to present a strong case for your products over the competition.

Whether you decide to sell direct to customers online or through the major multiples, knowing your business’s point of difference is critical.

Brand Strategy

Your point of difference informs your brand strategy and as such it is critical to your progress.

Brand Strategy can be defined as the entire experience your customers have with your products.Your brand strategy defines what you stand for, and your business's personality. Whilst it includes your logo, and slogan, those are only creative elements that convey your brand. Instead, your brand lives in every day-to-day interaction you have with your market:

A few years ago, I was approached by a marvellous woman who wanted to launch her own range of ready-to-eat vegetarian meals. She’d identified a strong trend in favour of vegetarianism. She’d married that together with growing requirements in the heat and eat sector and was justifiably proud of the good quality of her recipes. She could have gone to market with just that, but it would have been an uphill struggle to convince buyers to commit to a new supplier when their own, existing suppliers were in the process of developing vegetarian options.

My client and I talked, at length to find that her vegetarianism was born out of a disgust at the poor treatment of livestock in world farming. Boom, there it was, the eureka moment. She started actively campaigning to reduce cruelty in farming and her vegetarian meals became the vehicle to support her campaign. They became the means rather than the end. Her campaign got her noticed and buyers wanted to see her and her products. More importantly, her personal motivation in the business went to new levels which enabled her to knock down some tricky barriers to growth.

That is not to say that all businesses should be evangelical. Brewdog have found enormous international success by campaigning to promote craft beer around the world. Whatever your campaign, it is imperative that it runs as the spine through your business. It should be front and centre in everything you do from product packaging to answering the phone.

Is A Brand Strategy Necessary?

In summary then, you don’t have to have a campaign, you could just copy products in the market place and either try to be better than them for the same price or the same as them but cheaper. But that’s a higher risk strategy than finding the uniqueness in your brands’ message and combining that with your genuine and passionate campaign and weaving all that into a well-constructed brand strategy.

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