Excuse me, but is this craft? – The Importance of Good Branding

In this country in the past few years there has been a surge in the demand for craft products. After a number of hard years following the recession this industry is really finding its feet. But what caused this sudden demand? The reality is that the British public have been caught up in one of the greatest ever rebranding exercises of modern times .

The aim of this article is to show you the value of good branding. It is an area that we specialise in here at Virtuoso and it is a technique sorely lacking in many businesses today. Taking the definition above one step at a time it is my aim to show you how taking advantage of good branding can propel your business to success.

A large number of craft products are now available in shops and bars throughout the country. Many bars now offer a wide variety of locally sourced beers and ciders alongside more traditional staples such as Fosters and Carlsberg.  Going beyond beer, there are often craft products of all descriptions from craft cheese right through to craft lemonade. Most of these products are bundled up in packaging that is eye catching and that makes it quite clear that this is a craft product. Given that a craft product is one that conjures up images of artisans toiling away we are often happy to pay a small premium to purchase these goods. It is the same rationale people use when they choose to go their local green grocers or butchers rather than the local supermarket. It is this premium that many large companies have their sights on. But how can a large producer pass its goods off as craft products? It really is all in the branding.

It is important to stress at this point that I am not accusing the big players of outright dishonesty. However they can certainly be accused of doing their best to take advantage of a customer’s desire to purchase a craft product. Some companies, such as Coca Cola cottoned on to this concept very quickly. Coke first bought an 18% stake in the Innocent Drinks Company in 2009. They want to on to purchase a majority share in the company in 2013 and is likely to have paid substantially more than the £76m it paid for a further 38% in 2010. But why did Coca Cola pay so much for a smoothie company who freely give away their recipes? It really is all in the branding. The Innocent brand is designed to make people believe that they are getting a handmade product that is good for you. Back when the company first started, blending smoothies to order at music festivals, is exactly what you used to get. Now what we have is a much more mass produced product. The question therefore is should it still enjoy its craft image?

Turning back to the beer industry it is very interesting to see how the big players have sought to muscle in on the craft beer revolution. A number of breweries, such as Camden Town, have been snapped up by larger producers. Similarly a number of supermarkets are now contracting craft breweries to make large volumes of beer for their own brand ranges. Marks and Spencer in particular contract Mean Time brewery to brew on their behalf.

Though there is nothing materially wrong with these practises the fact remains that the end result is a mass produced product. Things have recently taken a further twist as Tesco has recently come under fire by branding their value range after farms that don’t actually exist. The rationale behind this decision is clear. Slap a good brand on something and people will buy it. Give the customer the impression that they are buying a premium product. It really is all in the branding.

A good brand is only good if it can be protected. That is where Virtuoso Legal comes in. We can advise your business on the suitability of your brand to ensure you can get maximum protection.

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