Centric Brand Anthropology CEO on how to build a food brand story

This might sound like branding 101, says Michelle Barry, president and CEO at design agency and consumer market research firm Centric Brand Anthropology, but you’d be amazed how many companies – especially those that have been around for a while – cannot actually answer the basic question: ‘Why are you here?’

She adds: “I’d say that many of the start-ups we’ve been seeing over the last five years or so have a more articulated vision and mission of why they are in business, whereas we talk to other brands that have been around for decades and some of them have no brand architecture, no vision, no mission, no core values, no sense of their why, of their character.”

What’s your brand story? And if you don’t have one, how can you find one?

So what can be done with brands like this? And what’s wrong with just selling a good product that people enjoy (hopefully without destroying the planet in the process)? Does every brand really have to have an ‘authentic’ brand story or is ‘authenticity’ a word that is becoming somewhat overplayed in food marketing?

You can’t and shouldn’t try and manufacture authenticity, says Barry, but if the ‘Why are you here?’ question genuinely has you scratching your head, it probably doesn’t bode well for your business.

“We literally have to go in and deconstruct what some brands have become over 30 years to help them find their why, and help them figure out how to tell their story and be more of a soulful company that has something to say beyond selling a commodity,” ​says Barry.

“Most of the brand re-working we’re doing is with ​[more established] companies that started a cool company, they have some great products and a decent design and visuals, but there is nothing underneath it. All that cultural work that now is a requirement for consumer brands, they are trying to create from scratch.”

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