CHILL’ing in the grocery store IS a hobby I love. Some people like strolling museums and admiring the art… some people like watching #Netflix movies… some people enjoy #Tapas. I like walking in grocery stores and looking for cool new products to taste or packaging to oogle.
YOUR NEW BEST HOBBY
This hobby is one I also strongly recommend for YOU as someone managing a brand and wanting sales. You MUST browse the LOCATION of where your product will be sold BEFORE you start re-branding or designing packaging. If you sell a physical product and want to sell in retail that would mean walking grocery store aisles. If you sell a product or service online it means browsing the #YAHOO and #GOOGLE search results for keywords you should rank in. If you want to sell on Amazon or YouTube you need to do the same thing – go pretend to be a shopper looking for something similar to your product.
BENEFIT 1: FIGURE OUT HOW TO STAND OUT
The powerful result of browsing the aisles is that you will see FROM YOUR CUSTOMERS PERSPECTIVE and it will inform you on how the visual challenges to standing out. The human eye and brain is ruled by primitive programing – we see and process: 1) MOVEMENT 2) SIZE 3) COLOR 4) SHAPE 5) SYMBOLS and then 6) TEXT… in that order! More specifically we notice things that are OUT of the norm. It must have come from the days when we hunted and gathered… a moving deer in a field or a bright red apple in a tree… we consistently notice things according to a process.
Notice which brand caught my attention in this FROZEN AISLE?
If you want to grow your brand awareness… this means YOU must go out into the wild world of your competition and figure out what is common place. You will want to pick designs that will standing out as different by creating visual design that expresses 1) MOVEMENT 2) SIZE 3) COLOR 4) SHAPE 5) SYMBOLS and then 6) TEXT… in that order!
BENEFIT 2: DISCOVER OBSTACLES IN THE SHOPPING ENVIRONMENT
The other benefit of walking the very location your product will sell… at the exact same time of day or nite, means you will notice the elements that could stop a customer from seeing your beautiful sign, advertisement or packaging.
The most memorable painful examples have been clients who called for BRANDING advice after they completed a $20k re-brand and had their packaging printed for a FROZEN line of ready made meals. They had terrible sales and couldn’t figure out why until they went into the stores carrying their product and realized the colors they chose use didn’t show up in the BAD shadowy lighting behind the foggy glass doors in the frozen food grocery aisle. Ouch! I felt so badly for them because they had no escape except to re-design before their next production run.
Yes… I love walking grocery stores to look at packaging.
This example can apply to your digital service – perhaps the terms you use to describe your product is EXACTLY like other website who have spent more money to acquire the top search field. If you don’t review how customers will see your listing, you may miss the fact that you will look too similar to someone to be noticed.
Doing your research CAN ONLY be done by pretending to be a customer and actually walking the store floors or driving past the billboard you plan to buy.
HOW TO DO IT:
1) My best advice will sound odd. You must go to the place your customer would go to shop… and then take a picture of what you see with your cell phone… Yes… you heard me. This applies to businesses selling online OR in stores.
It’s surprisingly hard to have “agnostic” perspective when you’re madly in love with your own brand or company. You often have been staring too long at your own branding and company to begin to see what you can do to grow.
That is why taking a photo will allow you to see the image as FLAT and yourself as REMOVED from the setting. Your eye will be better equipped to skip to colors, shapes, sizes and inform you of what is COMMON and what would stand out.
2) The second piece of advice is recruit outsiders who actually would shop for your product. That could be a friend not yet drinking the Koolaid OR hiring an agency with experience building brands to sell (my favorite always being Pearl Resourcing of course!). Other people you ask to explore this topic will help you notice things that escaped your notice before.
3) Test your branding & designs in the real world with physical or digital mock-ups to find the best outcome and keep the PRIZE of sales at the center of your attention. For example, as you design use the cellphone images and transpose the designs you create to see how it will stand the test of being in the ais amongst competition. Alternatively you can physically print a mock-up and place it on the shelf or hand it out as a flyer to get feedback.
What caught my eye? What caught yours?
Literally putting your ideas where they will be living daily is CRUCIAL. Our brains aren’t consistently creative enough to transpose a PDF sent from your branding agency into the retail or online commerce environment. This makes sense if I said you should do this with a PAINT swatch before painting your living room… so please believe me when I say it’s worth a few extra hundred dollars to pay a designer or printer so you can also “see it in front of you.”
4) Find inspiration OUTSIDE your category for how to be design your brand in an appealing fresh way. There are design elements that emerge in one category that might not yet be common in yours. Look for what stands out to your eyes in other areas and ponder if it can be used in your new branding too.
WHY THIS IS A MUST
Any money or time you could save in rushing without this step WILL COST YOU in the end. Trust me… the stories of failure are too painful to even tell. Don’t let it happen to you.
This matters because MOST people who own or manage a brand are experts at “manufacturing and talking about” their product or service. Meaning they are usually starting the business as artisans of the thing they are selling, not business experts. Which means they aren’t always aware as customers of their competitors OR the experience of being an agnostic shopper (one not yet loyal to on brand or another).
And you would be SHOCKED… and I MEAN SHOCKED to discover how many people (usually emerging brand owners) I meet who are interested in designing brands for their product who have never ever looked at the “competitive landscape” to inform their choice of branding. This recognition that your brand isn’t about your personal taste – it’s about getting attention of your target audience – is the key element that separates the kids from the adult… the stragglers and the leaders in building a profitable recognizable business.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
- Now it’s your turn – go walk the aisles OR search the web and see anything that stands out in your product category. Write a list of what seems pretty commonplace. Then write out a list of the opposite things (which are the items missing). Then starting your branding and take iterations to the same place and see how it stands out before picking your dream brand.
- Feel free to share with me what you discover by tagging me on LINKEDIN or INSTAGRAM. I’d LOVE to be tagged and hear what you liked or hated in your category or just out and about!
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MORE ABOUT EMILY PAGE Emily is CEO of Pearl Resourcing and has managed and launched multiple 7-figure brands in Costco, Williams-Sonoma, Kroger, and Amazon. She’s bringing you the expertise, resources, and mentors you need so that you can develop products and make them sell. http://pearlresourcing.net https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilypage/ http://instagram.com/EmilyAnnePage/ http://www.emilyannepage.com
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