Getting Ingredient Branding Right
Ingredient branding can be a powerful marketing tool, but there’s more to successful ingredient branding than simply letting potential customers know that your product is central to the performance or value of the product it is a component part of. To reap the full benefit of your ingredient branding marketing, you need to make sure you’re getting these basics right.
- What’s in a name? Everything. Your product name should tell potential customers something about the product and articulate the key element of your value proposition, especially if your marketing budget is lean. It’s also important not to choose a name in a vacuum. Develop a list of potential names and logos or graphic treatments, then test them with people from your target audience. While you will have to make a modest investment in market research upfront, you will save money in the long run because you will not have to spend as much to explain what your product name means once you bring it to market. For example, EcoBoost™ is an ingredient brand that Ford developed for its new engines that improves fuel economy and increases performance. The name clearly articulates the benefits. By contrast, many of DuPont’s ingredient brands such as Teflon® or Kevlar® are not transparent in their meaning and required lots of marketing dollars to educate the consumer about the product’s benefits. (For more insights into the importance of product naming and what to consider when naming your product, check out this article from Fast Company and this one from the Memphis Daily News.)
- Choose a cooperative partner. As an ingredient component of another brand, the success of your branding can depend on how your partner treats your brand within their own marketing efforts. If your partner is willing to work closely with you to coordinate marketing and adhere to the marketing and branding guidelines you have developed, you will be able to spend fewer of your own marketing dollars to build brand awareness and ensure that the end-consumer truly understands your own brand value proposition.
- Get your future customers excited. Before you even debut your product, develop a community via social networks and launch an engagement campaign. Build a following by sharing updates on the development of your product, its benefits, what it does better than the competition, and in what types of products they’ll be able to find it. You can use your social network communities as another way to get ongoing feedback and to continue to engage with potential customers on an ongoing basis when you launch your product.
- Make a continued investment in connecting with your end-users. Building online communities is step one, but fostering that community with engaging relevant content is critical. Make sure you provide new, engaging content on a regular basis or followers will quickly fall away. Combining your social media strategy with a solid public relations plan can help many smaller companies make the most of their limited marketing budgets. If you have a larger marketing budget, consider adding more traditional paid media strategies or advertising to enhance your brand building efforts. Intel is a great example of a company that was fully committed to building its unique ingredient brand through traditional advertising and direct dialogue with its users. By connecting with end-users and getting them to seek out your product in other products, you’ll build valuable brand equity, which can lead to higher royalties or licensing fees for your product or technology.