A brand can do wonders for a product, company or service. Whether we agree or not, a brand speaks loudly about us. A strong brand can help us communicate to the world what our product or service is. A brand can create a personal connection that is individual and special. With the right brand voice and message it can help us stand out and ensure that we are recognized and remembered for the value we bring.
We are in the process of creating a brand for the new innovations in our food ingredients business, Nutrinova. We created a name early on and then realized that it did not fully represent how we wanted our customers and the industry to see us. It didn’t send the clear message that the industry can and should think differently about sweeteners. So we asked for help. A global team from Celanese together with a major New York branding house was formed to develop a brand that was relatable and differentiated. All in time for the biggest food convention in the world this summer.
The process has been eye-opening! We thought the name should reflect the product. So in our science and data sort of way, we listed the product’s attributes, features and benefits. We used fact based and science based descriptors. Then the world turned upside down. We were asked by those that do branding for a living how we feel about the new product versus Sunett. We talked about the ‘persona’ of the brand. Imagine thinking of your brands as part of the family – who is the patriarch, the siblings, the cool nephew? How would the brand behave and how would they interact with the other products in the family? Thinking about it like this, we identified new and creative descriptors for how we’d like to see our product expressed in the brand. We learned that day that a brand is really about the emotion and connection that we want to have with our customers and within our own company.
One of the most insightful parts of the process was conducting interviews with people in our target beverage industry to learn more about their perceptions of our company and products. More than a question and answer session, the brand experts used scenarios related to sweetness and food industry trends to get reactions and perspectives from prospective customers. We really wanted to know what it was about sweetness and sweeteners that was valuable to their products . These insights are proving invaluable as they expanded how we thought about our own product and transformed the brand voice into that of our customers’ language.
All of this work culminated in selecting a name. Not an easy or a quick process! But it was fun. I can’t tell you all the crazy images, ideas and jokes that some of these words conjured up.
We are now developing messages that will be used in all of our communications about the new product. We learned that we have to give the brand a voice. It’s the brand’s tone, manner and style. We have to be consistent in how we express the brand character in all of our communications. This will strengthen its value.
I’m often asked about the value of product branding in the business-to-business environment. I believe strong branding is good business. A brand is a promise. If it’s memorable, it can provoke a reaction, evoke feelings and create loyal customers. Think about how you react to major consumer brands such as Mercedes-Benz or Nike.
When you are selling a value-added product such as this sweetener system, you want the customer to believe it is more than a raw material. You want formulators and marketers to feel the connection between the challenges or the needs they have and a solution that’s within reach.
Now for the name….
Sorry, you’ll have to wait for the big reveal. Stay tuned for our brand launch this summer…