Brand Strategy

November 27, 2018

In the last blog, overall Food Marketing strategy was covered. This planning process helps you answer the following questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. How are you different?
  4. Why are you better or what problems do you solve for the customer?

Once you answer these questions, you can begin the process of developing your Brand Strategy. Your customer should always be at the center of this.

Whether you are an on-premise or off-premise retailer, it’s important to understand your customer.  My guess is that many of the people that are reading this think they have a pretty good idea of who their customer is. However, from experience, I know that these same people are often surprised once the go through the brand planning process and see other groups that may be more important than they thought.

There is a very structured process that we go through when we do brand planning. The first step in the process is called segmentation. This involves putting people into groups based on demographics or descriptors (age, race, income, education etc.), geographics (where they live, where they work, where they shop), psychographics (attitudes, interests, lifestyles) behaviors (heavy, medium, light users of the product) or benefits sought (quality, freshness, convenience, value, health/wellness etc.)

We use the following questions to get at the center of the issue:

Who is your customer? (Male/female, old/young, ethnic/white)

What do they buy/consume? (Craft brew, seasonal, established brands, can/bottle/tap)

When do they buy/consume? (Morning/night, weekday/weekend, special events, seasonal)

Where do they buy/consumer? (On premise, off premise, at home, at an event)

Why do they buy?  (Perceived health, taste, thirst, try something new, share with friends, take to a party)

How do they buy/consume? (can, glass, bottle, mug, alone, with friends, at a bar, at a party, on the beach, at a game)

Once you segment the market, you need to identify who your “Target Market” is. Who’s the primary group of people that you are going to market to? This will help you with your marketing communications.

Finally, you need to position your brand in the minds of your customers. An easy way to understand this is to fill in the blank for your brand.

“To the [target customer], [my brand] is the [frame of reference] that is the [point of difference].”

“To the person cleaning up the spill, Bounty is the paper towel that is most absorbent.”

This turned into “Bounty is the quicker, picker, upper.”

A great example of this is the current advertising for Corona Premier. They are going after Men over the age of 35 who make up about half of the U.S. light beer market. It is a premium priced product relative to the domestic light beers. The tagline is “Lower carbs, lower calories, higher expectations”. They also use the words “Enjoy the ride” as part of their marketing communications.

I would write a positioning statement like: “To the person looking to escape, Corona Premier is the light beer that provides a relaxing moment.”

We always segment the market first, identify a primary and secondary target market, and then write a positioning statement for each target.

In the next blog, we will dive deeper into building your brand strategy. Whether you are on-premise or off-premise, you need to make sure that you understand YOUR consumers and build your products, merchandising and marketing programs around them. It will positively impact your bottom line.

And remember, Marketing is a race with no finish line!

George Latella teaches Food Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Food Marketing which is the largest major at Saint Joseph’s University recently celebrated its 56th anniversary. George is also a partner in Beacon Marketing group which provides Marketing planning, research, and e-commerce/direct marketing communications for food and beverage companies. George can be reached at or 610-660-2254.


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