Brand isn’t only about a logo. Sure, it is that little graphic that we all recognize and conjures up happy or unhappy memories. Beyond the cool logo, brand encompasses all the things people remember about you long after you’re done talking to them. That’s the colors, fonts, video, tone of voice in copy, social media interaction, the architecture of your building, the décor inside, what your employees wear, and probably the most critical, how they treat customers. All these things add up to the impression your customers remember about you long after the transaction.

Here are a few insights for you to use to help create your powerhouse food brand…. Because when people make the choice to buy, brand may be the very thing that tips the scale in your favor.

1. Does my logo and tagline get to the point of what I do?

Walking through a trade show made me realize how critical it is to have your logo and tagline working for you. What makes this hard is you’ve got three things to work with that will summarize enough of your brand to start a conversation; name, artwork, and tagline. Some brands had all of it going for them, some had 2 out of the 3. This is the point where simplicity and clarity are critical. Does your name and tagline give a general overview of what you do? Does the logo reinforce it?

2. Does the design for my brand catch the eye?

One thing great design in presentation does is activate the part of the brain that makes intuitive decisions, which is what guides us on who we trust, who we work with, and who we buy from. Great design uses font, color, photos, and graphics to unlock this type of thinking and decision making with information that is easy to digest and is enjoyable. Think about it this way, an investment in design with your logo, marketing materials, and media is also an investment in customer satisfaction.

3. Do I address the need of my customer instead of boring them with product details?

An important part of sales and marketing is learning to break out of the default mode of talking about ourselves and/or our product and shift it to the customer’s wants and needs. If you’re having trouble getting into your customer’s shoes, replace words like “I” and “we” with “you.”

Our menu has a great selection of quality ingredients with fresh and nutritious choices.

or

You will love how easy it is to eat healthy, quality ingredients with our menu full of fresh and nutritious choices.

4. Are my photos bright, colorful, and professional?

For most brands, photography is critical. To me pictures reinforce your written message as they show action or the realized product. For retail and restaurants, or other businesses that receive consumer traffic, the pictures that show up in your social media, website, and other marketing materials need to be bright, colorful, showing off your product. I do this with food photography by shooting pictures with lots of lighting, on a white backdrop (not only is it a clean background, but white reflects light and brightens the subject matter), and always shooting in raw so I can adjust color levels.

5. Am I telling interesting stories?

I don’t think this is really anything new, humans have been telling stories from our very beginning. But this is the gospel of marketing, that brands have to be telling a story. However, remember that great selling isn’t boring your customers, but simply making your customer’s life better in what you say and also how you present your story. Are your narratives intriguing, entertaining, or educational?

6. Does my graphics and media portray the personality I want for my brand?

Another thing we all may have noticed is that brands take on a personality at times. Some fun, some adventurous, some idealistic and some take on the bad boy persona. Graphics, music, message, and all your visual elements feed into this persona. Maybe an easy way to keep brand personality consistent is to think of a person. For one of the brands I’m working with, it is John Wayne… a little cowboy grit, boots on the ground reliability, hard-working, tough, the person you want by your side to help you out.

7. Does my team build or break my brand with their customer interaction?

Brand doesn’t stop at media and messaging. In fact, that is only the beginning. Every team member is an ambassador of your brand and creates touchpoints with each and every transaction they do on your brand’s behalf. Creating the right touchpoints and impressions starts with training…. Does your team know how to fully engage with customers in how they speak, with great listening skills, and by staying distraction free? In a podcast I heard with the Ritz-Carlton’s Horst Schulze, you also empower employees with your brand’s values. One way he does it is to allow discretionary spending up to $2000 to retain a customer… so if there was a bad experience, the team member could counter with a better one and had the means and power to do so.

8. What type of impression am I leaving on my customers?

Brand for any business is an area you don’t want to cut corners. It begins with the logo but extends into all communications and the quality of the media you’re using. But most importantly, how do team members interact and create day-to-day touch points on your brand’s behalf? If this part isn’t right, your work with everything else will be diluted.

What type of impression are people walking away with after visiting your business or working with your team? Your brand’s impression will either drive them away or keep them coming back for more.