Starting up your own food brand can be a daunting task. Be it a restaurant, blog, pop-up stall or whatever else you come up with, the market’s already fiercely competitive. We used our noodles here at MOO to pool some advice for you guys who are considering taking a step into the (onion) ring of food business.
First thing’s first is getting your photography in order, Erika Dillon – MOO’s Lead Business Identity designer – says, “I can’t stress enough how important photography is, particularly for food related stuff. It’s not just focusing on a meal, it’s almost more like lifestyle photography.” Invest in somebody who can distil the essence of your business through the lens. “Make your brand warm, welcoming and engaging. People want to get involved with these brands because they feel like it’s a lifestyle to buy into… that must come through in the imagery!”
Don’t simply view your food or drink as objects; consider what will be going on when your customers see it, where it will be and what competition will be around. Think about the wider picture, not just what you’re selling. As Steve and Hannah – two MOO Designers – say, “Identity isn’t just about a logo, it’s the experience as a whole. The theme of the restaurant, for example, or the vibe that you’re trying to create… people are parting with their cash for this stuff. It’s about everything that surrounds whatever you’re selling, the entire brand aesthetic. Continuity across both design and experience is key.”
“Keep in mind where your product is going to be stocked and who’s going to read it” say Steve and Hannah, “if they’re in a supermarket, you’ve got to consider that you’ll be sat amongst other brands. One of the best things you can do is to know your competitors, so you can see how your brand needs to differ from the existing ones.”
Consider how you can make people talk about your brand after they’ve finished the experience too. “Maybe you can give them something that they can take home with them, Wahaca give away chilli seeds with their meals; D F Mexico, too, have popping candy that you can take back with you.” Steve and Hannah are spot on, if you can have something in the hands of your customer once they’ve bought your stuff, it’s likely to have a positive impact on both their, and their friends’, impression of your brand.
Setting yourself apart from the big brands is something that’s integral if you want to make waves in the food industry. Make sure to really get stuck in, researching the market you’re going into. “But it’s not so much what your product is,” says Erika, “Having a unique perspective is so important, but you need to consider your own story. Being authentic makes it so much more personal – that’s the key way to differentiate you from the big box brands. Food brands need to provide experiences that are novel, engaging and honest.”
“Honest Burgers is a great example of clear branding, they only have a few burger options and 1 set of fries, that’s it.” Their simplicity is what sets them apart from their competitors, they keep it manageable – not small scale – but keeping everything tight. People don’t want to be bombarded by information. You need to make people want to take time out of their day.”
Hopefully this has given your brain a little bit of nourishment, but maybe you guys are brand gurus. Let us know any tips or tricks you may have below!