Aaron Palileo, CIA Bootleg Manila co-founder and director of Ateneo Graduate School of Business’s Brand and Marketing Innovation Program, gives your business a leg-up with these pointers on how to make your brand stand out.
He starts by encouraging business owners to ask themselves these introspective questions, categorized under the following: people, promise, and personality.
People: Who are we for? Who is our ideal customer?
Promise: What do we offer functionally, emotionally? And short term and long term?
Personality: What do we believe in? How do we behave as a brand?
Palileo stresses that having a clear answer to these questions will set up a strong foundation and proper focus for your company. “For F&B brands that will compete in a sea of sameness, the three Ps of a brand should be clear. Don’t aim to please a broad set of customers. Branding is not about being everything to everyone but being everything to someone. So, choose a select group of people and tailor fit your promise and personality to their specific needs.”
What drives you
Palileo goes on to stress: “Please, do not use motherhood statements like ‘our promise is quality.’ The promise should be specific to actual customer goals vis-a-vis food and beverages.” He explains that people have self-serving goals that they are aiming to satisfy when they eat. “It could be functional like to start the day with energy, or it could be emotional like unwinding and de-stressing after a long day. Your brand should anchor your brand promise on a selected set of coherent goals.” It’s better if your promise addresses a deeper, more emotional objective. “Functional needs are easier to satisfy with functional promises (quality and provenance of ingredients, speed of service, price). And more often than not, everyone is competing on functional promises so you won’t be different.”
Emotional goals also have the greater tendency to transcend borders. “For those who want to export,” Palileo advises, “keep in mind that entering a country is just the start of the journey. Part of branding is walking the talk.” He has seen so many brands of superior quality fail when they enter another country because they feel their track record is enough to win customers. “You have to understand the rules of the country in order to play in and hopefully, win in that country. What are the major channels and accounts that you need to be present in? Who are the gatekeepers and opinion leaders that will give your brand credibility in the country? How will you introduce your brand and continuously engage the customers?”
Finally, as you do all of the above, Palileo encourages brands to find their identity and focus on their strengths. “Don’t choose customer needs already dominated by others, unless you have a better, more compelling promise.” The second thing though is that “great brands are not only different but they are expressive of the owner/creator’s values and personality.” This ensures that your brand truly has its own DNA and will offer something that is completely unique and totally authentic. In an ocean of wannabes and upstarts, people are always looking for what is real.