BrandStorm session reveals how to forge an ironclad brand
As the pandemic brought many new things to everyday life, brand marketing has become an ever more increasingly important topic within the fresh produce industry and beyond.
The kicking off of this year’s virtual BrandStorm included the introduction of the United Fresh Board Chairman, Michael Muzyk and a presentation by Lindsay Pedersen, a bestselling author and Brand Strategist at Ironclad Brand. The session was moderated by Mary Coppola.
Pedersen broke down her process of building a brand by first focusing on what is a brand and brand strategy, why we care about a brand and finishing with steps to take to build brand strategy.
According to Pedersen the difference between brand and brand strategy is that a “brand is what you stand for and brand strategy is the exercise of deciding what you are going to stand for”.
She then talked about why companies should care about brand with some reasons including that brands command attention, foster loyalty, motivate employees and differentiates companies in the long run.
“By having a crisp articulation of what it is you stand for, you command the attention of the people whose attention you need,” she said.
The four steps she shared with attendees at the BrandStorm event were to identify your uncommon denominator, build your benefit ladder, characterize your brand and tie it together with a mission statement.
Beginning with identifying the uncommon denominator, which is the zone where what is meaningful to the customer, what your company is good at and what your competitors aren’t all come together.
“This is where you are going to pull out the themes that make you both meaningful to your customer and differentiated from your competitor.”
Her second step is to build your benefit ladder, meaning identifying increasing levels of emotiveness within your business to connect with the customer.
“You can identify where your business really stands out and where does it have a promise that is big but also is credible and then own that part of the ladder,” she said.
Step three is characterizing your brand with humanlike traits, which breaks down the 12 character archetypes created by Carl Jung and applies them to the brand-building process.
This step also includes adding adjectives to your brand by asking what your business’s personality is and using a scale to get the way to describe yourself as “just right”.
“This helps your copywriters and everybody who is bringing your brand to life to use this as a checklist to make sure you are embodying a consistent voice.”
The last step in the process she shared in her presentation is tying it all together with a mission statement to “use to filter all of the decisions you make about your brand or business”.
When asked about a specific challenge a lot of businesses in the produce industry are facing today, that retail customers are looking to work with the same businesses as private label brands, Pedersen said: “The more value that your brand brings, the less you are going to care about channel blurriness”.
“When you have a differentiated brand and nail it in a way that others cannot, then a couple of things happen such as creating an intersection of what is good for you as well as what is good for the retailer and the pressure on retailers to compete with your changes.”
“Sometimes you are going to white label because you have to, and one is an arbitrage opportunity to make sure that you keep your costs structure at high integrity and the other is about creating a thriving business.”
You can learn more about her process in her book, Forging An Ironclad Brand: A Leader’s Guide.