An Agency’s Guide To Brand Development.

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An Agency's Guide To Brand Development

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Brand development is a mandatory component of every successful brand strategy. Unfortunately, few consumer goods companies understand the steps they must take to create a competitive edge in the marketplace. 

An effective brand development strategy means faster marketplace penetration while creating a compounding effect in market share acquisition. Collectively, this creates a more resilient position that is hard for consumers to infiltrate. 

We’ve created this article for the brand management team who wants to leave no stone unturned in their brand or product development process. It is also for the founder or product development department, unaware of what a clear developmental path to success looks like. 

Here is what you can expect to learn

  • Why brand development is necessary for FMCG and CPG companies.
  • Other areas of branding and marketing that brand development directly impacts.
  • Why it’s essential to begin with the discovery process.
  • When and how to assess a brand’s current position and consumer understanding.
  • What you need to consider when creating your brand development strategy.
  • How to effectively innovate your branding and positioning for sustained growth.
  • The what, how, and why of brand testing for consumer goods companies. 
  • The importance of iteration in an ongoing brand development process

After completing this article, you will fully understand what you must accomplish throughout the brand development process to compete at the highest level. 

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Why Brand Development Is Crucial For Consumer Goods

Brands competing in local, DTC, or specialty channels can become clouded by heightened consumer acceptance and the low cost of entry. These brands get a massive reality check when scaling towards any mainstream (non-DTC) channel or with national retailers. 

While every brand strategy should include a step-by-step developmental process, it’s a requirement for consumer goods brands that are unsatisfied with being small businesses. A well-structured development process increases brand positioning and lowers costs across all marketing, sampling, and promotional efforts. 

The Complexity of Omnichannel

Brand development is even more critical in today’s omnichannel retail world. The increasing number of new digital channels and retailers enhancing their efforts to create a cohesive offline and online experience means you must carefully consider your market position. 

Omnichannel Brand Development

How Development Impacts Branding

Creating a brand development playbook for your company or product forces every aspect of your organization to align with what you’ve learned. 

Both new and existing companies who create brand development strategies will help them build brand consistency in these areas:

  • Logo design
  • Website design
  • Packaging design
  • Digital Marketing
  • Content marketing

The following steps (from your brand colors to your marketing strategy) will integrate your branding and messaging for a more significant impact. 

Understanding The Brand

The first step in the brand development process is brand discovery. In this step, no final decisions are made, questions are asked, and materials are reviewed. 

The brand discovery phase looks at all online and offline documentation, including marketing materials, website information, customer feedback, and sales data. A deep understanding of the brand’s history creates a conversation about the brand image, brand voice, and brand positioning of the company in the present day.

The next step in discovery is understanding what isn’t documented. We discover brand and consumer understandings through internal interviews with the founder or brand manager and external interviews with existing or prospective consumers. Throughout the interview process, we document learnings about the brand story and the differences in how the company and its consumers understand its brand personality. 

After a comprehensive understanding of the company, we need an account of all available market research about the category, channels, and competitors. 

Discovery In The Brand Development Process

Assessing The Brand

Brand assessment is the collection of discovery data that clarifies the current brand identity and positioning. The outcome of our discovery is a better understanding of the existing brand awareness level with the target audience. 

Assessing a brand continues the learning process, giving us a better idea of customer loyalty, brand recognition, and category competitors. It helps us identify whether consumers understand and receive the company’s brand promise. Assessing these brand factors will be important as we move into the brand development strategy. 

After completing the assessment, a company will better understand its brand value, positioning, brand loyalty, and whether these align or create friction with the target market. 

Creating The Strategy

While “strategy” is a part of the entire development process, it is also a specific step in the brand development strategy. That might appear confusing at first glance, so let’s clarify what occurs during this step. 

Here is where we start to decide who our ideal customer is, how we will address competitors, and how to create brand differentiation. You may also discuss other aspects of a CPG brand strategy, such as your channel strategy. For now, here’s a look at the most impactful aspects of the brand strategy. 

Brand Positioning

Finding a unique point of differentiation is the first step to creating your brand position. The second step is determining whether that position matters to consumers. So in the brand strategy phase, you will narrow your position as tightly as possible before deciding how to make that position get through to consumers. 

Brand positioning occurs by choosing the right value proposition and then doing everything you can to ensure your packaging and marketing resonates the message to your target audience. Whether your brand value means savings, solution, or status, the brand strategy phase is where you shout it to the mountaintops.

Brand Messaging

But you can shout what the consumer cares about and still not be heard. Distinction in brand messaging is a critical aspect of your brand strategy. Not only do you need your target audience to agree, but they also need to feel it. Messaging must reach deep into the consumer’s psyche, creating the need to act now while being remembered at a future time. 

Positioning And Messaging In Brand Development

Striving For Innovation

We’ve made decisions, and now it’s time where strategy meets testing. Many brands stop here, shifting to their go-to-market strategy. Unfortunately, stopping at this point might be effective for becoming a regional brand but not for being a national brand and developing a strong brand identity in the mass market. Brand innovation is when 

Preparing For Execution

Now is the time to look at what you can expect from your brand and product performance. Brand execution is the phase where attention to detail matters—testing to determine how each minute change affects brand performance. 

In the brand-building development process, execution means brand testing and product packaging design testing, and brand messaging with your target audience to determine the amount of purchase intent your brand receives against its competitors. Package design testing will determine the effectiveness of your final concepts proving which is the clear winner. 

Iterations To Your Brand Development Strategy

Nothing lasts forever, and we can say the same for a brand strategy. However, if you’ve taken each of the previously discussed steps to develop your brand, then your need for iterations goes down significantly. 

But at some point, whether the market changes or you need a brand pivot, iterations and optimization of your brand strategy will be necessary. Sometimes it is a minor tweak, whereas other times, you need to begin the development process from the very beginning. 

Data-Driven Brand Development For CPG Brands

Want a best-selling brand? SmashBrand is a brand development agency for FMCG and CPG brands that want to see a performance lift in retail. Our PathToPerformance™ process guarantees a brand performance lift on retail shelves. 

From strategy to design, we take consumer brands through a successful brand development process, setting them up for long-term success. Book a time to discuss your project with our team. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Brand Development?

Brand development is building and enhancing a brand’s identity, reputation, and recognition in the market. It involves creating a unique brand image, personality, and messaging that resonates with the target audience and differentiates the brand from its competitors. Brand development typically includes:

  • Defining the brand’s values, mission, and vision.
  • Developing a brand strategy that guides all aspects of brand communication, such as: 
    • advertising.
    • Packaging.
    • Customer service.

Brand development aims to create a strong, positive, consistent brand experience that builds customer loyalty and drives business growth.

How Much Does Brand Development Cost?

The cost of brand development varies widely depending on several factors. These factors include:

  • The size and complexity of the brand and the scope of the project.
  • The level of research and strategy involved, and the expertise.
  • The experience of the branding agency or consultant.

Brand development can be a significant investment, but the return on investment (ROI) can be substantial if brand development is executed effectively and supported by brand activation.

Should We Keep Brand Development In-House?

Some brands may handle aspects of brand development in-house, which can be more cost-effective but lacks a professional brand development agency’s valuable insights, perspectives, and expertise. Working with a branding agency or consultant who understands your brand’s needs and goals and can provide a customized solution that fits your budget and timeline is essential. 

It’s also important to remember that brand development is an ongoing process that requires continued investment in research, strategy, and execution to maintain and grow the brand’s success.

What is a Brand Development Index?

The Brand Development Index (BDI) measures a brand’s effectiveness among a particular customer segment relative to its overall effectiveness across all customers.

Example: Suppose a brand has a BDI of 120 in a specific customer group, showing that it performs 20% better in that group than on average across all customers. These findings suggest the brand has a powerful presence and a loyal following among that particular customer segment.

To calculate the Brand Development Index (BDI), you need to follow these steps:

  1. Determine the percentage of your brand’s total sales from a specific market or customer segment. We refer to it as the market share.
  2. Determine the percentage of the total population or target audience within that specific market or customer segment. We refer to this as the category share.
  3. Divide the market share by the category share, then multiply the result by 100. Here you get the BDI for that specific market or customer segment.

The formula for calculating the BDI is as follows:

BDI = (Market Share ÷ Category Share) × 100

For example, let’s say your brand has a market share of 20% in a specific region, and the category share for that region is 10%. The BDI for that region would be:

BDI = (20% ÷ 10%) × 100 = 200

These findings suggest your brand is twice as successful in that region as its overall performance across all regions. A BDI value of 100 shows that the brand’s performance is on par with the average performance of the brand across all regions or categories.

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