So You Want To Launch A Brand? Why You Should Start Now (Part II)

This is the second installment of So You Want to Launch A Brands? Why You Should Start Now and we will discuss Branding, Positioning, Logo and Label Development as well as Intellectual Property and FDA Label Compliance.

Brand Positioning and Logo and Label Development

While you are waiting for your shelf life test results, if you haven’t already started, let’s focus on Positioning/Branding/Label/Logo Development. This is a very critical step in the process if not the most critical step.

To start, you need to determine what your Unique Selling Proposition will be. The food and beverage graveyard is cluttered with great tasting food and beverages that don’t sell because there is no Consumer Need. What makes your product different?  What makes your product special? Why should a consumer purchase your product?

Sometimes this information is crystal clear to entrepreneurs and sometimes it takes a while.  Please understand the world does not need another regular energy drink in the same size can and with the same ingredients of the Energy Drink market leaders.

There are a few ways you can handle product positioning.  The first way is to do it yourself.  Develop some reasons why you are unique and discuss it with friends and family.  Sometimes this works.  One of the risks involved in this scenario is that your friends and family might not tell you the truth because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.  Another potential problem is your friends and family might not be the same as the consumer demographic you are targeting. However, it can be done and it has been done this way.

Another way to approach branding and positioning and your Unique Selling Position is to hire a professional like Cascadia (in fact Cascadia can do most of these steps for you) or you can hire other professionals like Arena Partners or Modernized Mobile, for example, or another reputable agency who will work within your budget. I have seen very good, small branding firms charge a few thousand dollars and done a great job and I have seen larger ones charge between $50,000 and $100,000.  In this case, larger agencies do not always equal better work content and unique positions.

Listen to this. I am going to tell you a secret that will save you potentially millions of dollars. If you do not have a Unique Selling Proposition don’t start a food or beverage company.  You will just be setting yourself up for failure.

The branding and positioning process should take about 30 days if you and your branding firm turn around content and feedback quickly.

Assuming you have your Unique Selling Proposition as well as your brand positioning, all of your marketing efforts will flow more smoothly.

Once you have the USP, it is time to design your logo.  Logo development is a very iterative process.  It can be done within 2 weeks to 4 weeks, again, if you and your designer turn around feedback and work product quickly.  However, you need to be careful how you coach your designer and what you tell them.  If you tell them you want squiggly lines that is what you will get, but it might not be good for the brand. The better approach would be to tell them you want some sort of abstract art in the logo. Don’t tell them you want the logo in red, for example. Let the designer do their job and give you various options to consider. Wanting what you want just for the sake of having it can create problems in this phase.  After all, you don’t want a logo that you love but consumers hate.  Remove your ego from the process.

Most branding and positioning firms can also create your logo and label.

Now that you have your logo it is time to start working on your label.  Keep in mind during the development of your label you want to create something that will get the consumers attention AND is in compliance with FDA regulations.

First, your agency or designer need to create your label. After that, you should send it to an FDA attorney for review.  Just because other people are saying certain things on their labels doesn’t make it correct or legal.  An FDA attorney will also usually give you advice about the best ways to avoid class action lawsuits which are rampant in the industry, especially in California.

The label design and FDA label review (oh by the way, your website copy, point of sale material, sell sheets, and social media content should also be reviewed by the attorney but I won’t include that in the timeline) take about another 6 weeks or so, unless you need to live photography or custom illustration for the label.  That will add more time to the process.

Intellectual Property and FDA Compliance

We work with several excellent FDA attorneys. Here are a few:  Justin Prochnow, Rachel Gartner, and Rakesh Amin. These firms can also handle your trademarks and patents if necessary. Be prepared for a lot of comments to your label review.  Very rarely have I seen a good review without a lot of comments.

We had a client who owned an AMAZING Trademark for a name.  In fact, this client could most likely have made a lot of money from a much larger company who was infringing on their logo.  Unfortunately, while day-dreaming one day, I searched their trademark (to this day I still don’t know why) only to find they never renewed it and it expired.  They lost all the leverage they had on the larger company and, in fact, had to get the larger company to explicitly allow the Company’s trademark in a very specific channel.  Not optimal at all. But I digress.

Cascadia Managing Brands is a strategy, brand management and sales execution firm that helps startups succeed. In this bi-weekly series Bill Sipper, Managing Partner, shares his insights on:

Brand Positioning and Logo and Label Development

Intellectual Property and FDA Compliance

Future articles will discuss:

Brand Positioning and Logo and Label Development

Intellectual Property and FDA Compliance

Point of Sale Material and Presentation

Liability Insurance

Distribution Strategy

Sales Execution

Overall Timeline

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