The food industry can be a varied and scary market when you start off. Trust in your food however, and make a product that will fill a gap in the market. Here are the fifteen top tips for your start-up food brand to make a success.
- Be master of your product
First off, know your product. More importantly, you should be the expert in the ingredients. You need to be passionate about the food you work with, and know what flavours and additions go with it.
- Ask for help
There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. Look up ways of building a brand, research different marketing strategies including stores and online outlets – even if you’re not at the stage for broadening your business, a lot of the techniques can be used in most forms.
- Target market feedback
Decide which target market audience you want to aim your product out. Now seek out their opinion. Give out free samples, offer taste tests so they can compare your products. Their feedback is invaluable because not only are you developing relationships with your customers, they are literally telling you which products are the best.
- Pick your product style and stick to it
Decide what angle you’re designing your product around. If it has a particular ingredient how is it used within the product? After deciding what your style is, have the faith to stick with it, rather than changing to fit in with the rest of the market. Niche market products can stand out well, and ultimately you want something unique to offer consumers.
- Become part of the community
Get into town on market day, and spread the word about your brand. Offer your product as pries for local raffles and competitions, or help sponsor a charity event. Put in the effort with the public and they’ll return the courtesy.
- Avoiding taking shortcuts
It can be tempting to cut a few corners when you’re just starting out. However this will get you into bad habits later on; better to make the effort – and expense – now and stay true to your quality of product.
- Know your competitors
As well as knowing the market, research the brands already in your area of food. What have they done right? What have they done wrong? How is your product different?
- Build relationships with suppliers and stockists
These are the people you will see nearly every day, and you will have to rely on them to provide the materials for your product. So take the time to get to know them and give them a good deal, and they’ll repay you with loyalty.
- Make values part of your brand
Put your passion of food into your product but also into your brand. Brands are much more appealing to consumers when they’re clear about their values on quality and honest trading.
- Appreciate your employees
Make sure all your employees are familiar with the brand and talk confidently with customers about recommendations and explaining the product. Check in with them regularly in case they have any useful suggestions. Remember, they’re the face of your brand with the public.
- Trust your gut instinct
There’s a wealth of advice out there for startups but at the end of the day, go with what your gut tells you – especially if you’re taste testing your latest product!
- It’s not just about the money
It’s vital to keep crunching the numbers but from time to time, take a step back and remember the two things that are most important: the customers and your product. Be passionate about the food and the ingredients, which is why you started this business in the first place!
- Develop an online presence
Use social media by setting up a blog, a Twitter and LinkedIn account. This way you can instantly connect with potential customers, as well as developing your brand personality. Social media is the place to bond with customers rather than the classic hard sell adverts.
- Check the small print checklist
Make sure you check you’ve done all the legal admin, including getting premises for your store and registering your business.
- Don’t stint on the ingredients
Last but not least, never ever forget the food! Source out the best possible ingredients for your product. Supermarkets and generic shops are full of knock off options, so stand out and take pride in what goes into your product.
The article is presented by leading food and drink PR agency – Phipps. It is headquartered in London, UK.