Branding A New Health and Wellness Brand
Building A Brand Begins On Day One
In a marketplace filled with new health and wellness product and service offerings, fueled in part by the challenges and upheaval of the pandemic, a critical question that brand marketing teams need to ask today is – how do we make our product or service brand launch meaningfully stand out from the crowd? The answer is branding and it starts on day one.
Launching a new brand is even tougher in today’s environment, as an army of conscious consumers are now holding businesses accountable for their behavior. They’re forcing businesses to push the boundaries when it comes to how they’re approaching sustainability, ethics and social impact, with alignment of values poised to become a powerful tool in cultivating loyalty and generating sales.
Branding In Today’s Competitive Marketplace
Brands are the lifeblood of startups and the engine that drives business growth. What the business stands for, its name, the design, the feel, and the emotional connection between customers and company can determine the entire trajectory of a business.
What factors should founders and brand marketers consider today to launch a brand that customers love and pursue from day one? Here are six considerations that will help you get it right from the beginning, and to continue to breathe life into your brand as it grows.
Target Customer Mindsets Rather Than Demographics
Within the health and wellness market, the pace of new product and service launches over the past few years has accelerated, catapulted more recently by the pandemic and the emergence of new lifestyles and behaviors.
At the same time, there’s been a tremendous power shift between consumers and businesses, and consumers have more choice than ever before.
To have any chance of being relevant, building a brand needs to start with your customer. More specifically, identifying the specific problem you’re setting out to solve – and the people your business is most for.
Your target audience definition is less about identifying a particular demographic (though characteristics like age, gender and race are good starting points). More importantly, it’s about identifying the mindset (the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors) of the people who are likely to care most about your brand. This includes answers to questions like:
- what are their interests?
- what fuels them each day?
- what are their pain points?
- what unique problems can our business solve for them?
Identifying and building an intimate portrait of your target customer is crucial, as this helps you determine what you need to do to achieve your goals and how to build your customer engagement strategies.
Identify Your Unifying Brand Idea
Following the above exercise, it should be apparent that features and functional benefits are not enough to build brand love. First, they’re likely not enough to distinguish you from competition. And even if they are in the short-term, they’re certainly not sustainable. Second, prospective customers are looking for more.
What customers are seeking is the promise of your brand – the solution to a specific problem that makes their lives better – embedded throughout the business.
At Trajectory, we refer to this promise as your unifying brand idea. It’s a singular statement that becomes the foundation that drives all of your decision-making, actions and communication. It’s also the glue that connects your customers to your business.
Brand Differentiation + Brand Distinctiveness
Both are complementary and help make you become more visible to your target audience in a highly competitive health and wellness marketplace.
After you’ve done the hard work of figuring out what your brand stands for and why it matters in the first place – brand differentiation is about setting yourself apart from the competition by highlighting key aspects, features, and benefits of your brand and how it adds value to customers.
When done successfully, brand differentiation successfully convinces consumers that your offer is significantly different on a range of meaningful associations or attributes. The proof of “meaningful” in action means making customers sit up and pay attention. Enticing people out of their usual consumption patterns. Making people want to go the extra mile to buy their brand.
Brand distinctiveness is about standing out through the use of brand assets such as brand name, logos, colors, shapes, characters, messaging, audio and music, scents, etc., so that prospective buyers can easily identify, recall, and buy the brand.
Beyond differentiation, your brand’s distinct qualities trigger brand associations that simplify the path to purchase. Examples of these include Tiffany’s blue box, Mastercard’s red and yellow overlapping circles, Intel’s five-note mnemonic or characters like Pillsbury’s Dough Boy.
Many brand marketers continue to confuse these two terms, but they’re really simple to distinguish between. When a brand is differentiated it successfully convinces consumers that its offer is significantly different to those of the competition on a range of intended associations or attributes. When a brand is distinctive it looks like itself and “jumps out” at the consumer when they encounter it or consider a purchase. Virgin is red and irreverent. Southwest is yellow and friendly.
There’s a growing volume of data to show that distinctive brand assets have a positive impact on marketing effectiveness. A recent study by Kantar Millward Brown, for instance, found brands with the strongest assets are on average 52% more ‘salient’ than their rivals – in other words, they are much more likely to spring to mind when consumers are shopping within the category.
Distinctiveness Across the Brand Experience
The experience of your brand world – from logo, to typeface, color, shape, imagery, sound, scent, messaging, etc. – should be distinguished from all others. It’s the thread that runs through the entire brand experience to create impact and build brand connection and customer engagement.
Professor Jenni Romaniuk at Ehrenberg-Bass Institute provides this distinctive assets framework for brand marketers to consider when evaluating their opportunity for “Uniqueness” and “Fame.”
Benchmarking Competitors & Role Models
In ensuring your new brand stands apart and entices people to take notice, it’s important to uncover (as a starting point) where key competitors are doing well and where they may be failing at or missing. Look into their overall business model, products or services, story, voice, messaging, and use of brand assets as referenced above.
But in today’s marketplace, new companies are challenging traditional business models and changing the rules of engagement. And consumers have more access, power and choice. So new brands need to be able to meet customers’ shifting expectations, which transcend category boundaries. To ensure relevance, look at a handful of companies that you can learn from. And because you don’t directly compete with them, you can even reach out and talk to them.
Using customer and audience insights helps inform your strategy so you’ll know what you can do differently in a way that drives the results you need.
Branding From Day One
Changing established behaviors is difficult. More so for new brands that are first introducing themselves to the world. As a founder or brand marketer, you need to be focused from day one on building a brand that sets out to create a new path forward for the people it aims to reach.
And because branding is a journey and not a destination, it’s not something you create and then move on. In order to create lasting traction with consumers, you need a brand that connects at every level, across the entirety of the customer experience – creating valuable, memorable, delightful experiences at every step. It’s a job that’s never done. But one that pays handsomely and sustainably if you work at it.
Since 1999, Trajectory has worked with clients across the health and wellness industry to create stronger brand-led businesses, many of which have been new products and services. Reach out for a no-obligation consultation.