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Branding, Pricing, Packaging

   Perhaps the trickiest task you have to perform, is determining the correct positioning, packaging, and pricing combination of your product so you will reach your target customer. (You have determined your target customer, haven't you?)


   To properly position your product, marketers often refer to the Five Ps of success, but simply put, focus on having:

bulletThe right Product
bulletPackaged right
bulletPriced right
bulletAt the right Place
bulletMaximizing Promotional opportunities
bulletAt the right time
bulletLocated in all possible areas for maximum consumer availability

   This involves a multitude of challenges.  First, offer a product that will excite not only the greatest number of consumers, but all members of the retail trade channels and distributors that will handle it, as well.  Remember that successful products are 'sold' at numerous levels.  Consider seasonality, local traits, and economy (both local and overall), and add these considerations to your branding, packaging, and pricing mix.


   There are several ways to brand your product for sale to the trade and to consumers.

bulletYour Own Brand: Use your own company name and/or create separate brand names for your product line or product.
bulletPrivate Label: You package your product as a 'store brand' or even for another product company who can market your product as their own.  Many food service products are private (or control) labeled, as well.
bulletControl Brand: Packaging your product for exclusive distribution in a given geographical area or specific markets.  Typically, arrangements are made with one distributor for a given 'control brand'.  This could mean multiple 'control brands' to cover various areas.
bulletCo-Branding: This can be various combinations of the above options.

   It is not unheard of to do more than one, or all, of the branding strategies listed here. Do your homework to successfully fulfill your long term goals.


   Packaging is one of the most important sales tools available to food marketers. When deciding on your packaging, many questions must be answered. The following list of design criteria must be considered:

bulletWho is my consumer? Why?
bulletHow, When, Where will the consumer buy, then consume my product?
bulletHow can I make my product packaging drive the consumer's purchase impulse?
bulletIs my consumer also the primary end-purchaser of my product?
bulletHow much will they buy at one time? How often?
bulletHow much are they willing to pay? (How are competitive products priced?)
bulletWhat is the right size for my product? (see # 2, above)
bulletHow will consumers, merchandisers, retailers, distributors, and freight carriers expect my products to be packaged? (Don't forget legal and industry standards).
bulletHow can I create my packaging to take advantage of shipping master pack and pallet configurations that will maximize freight efficiencies and sales?
bulletWhat materials and methods should I use to efficiently achieve the highest protection of the product during shipping and handling and to extend shelf life and ultimate sale-ability, while being environmentally conscious?
bulletHow can I add value?
bulletWhat are the legal requirements to which I must adhere?

   There are other issues that must be considered when designing your products' packaging. Find products on the shelf that are doing well and ask yourself: Why?

   You could design your own identity and packaging materials.  However, there is both art and science involved that most people are better off leaving to experienced pros.  A relatively small investment up front can save tens of thousands of dollars in the long run, not only in lost sales, but in costly redesigns and new packaging printing and inventories.  One could wallpaper every marketers office in the country with old labels and wrong or out-dated packaging. (Some of those offices need it!)

The Fooddude recommends that you locate a good package design firm by asking around.  PR firms could help.  Study portfolios.  Ask about successes AND failures. Alternately, seek out a seasoned pro to join your team. In any case, it may not appear cheap, but then, it'll be much more economical than failure.  When in doubt, contact us.


   Keep your pricing strategy in mind while determining your branding and packaging decisions.  Remember that by the time the end purchaser (the consumer) gets the opportunity to buy your product, many interests have significantly increase the price. Some products are sold to the end purchaser for more than 100% of what you originally charged!

   Distributors must mark-up for their service. Retailers, too. The freight carriers and distribution centers have to charge. Sales, marketing, and promotions contribute to the price. Then there may be other "hidden charges" that consumers pay for when they buy your product. Brokers, merchandisers, additional sales costs, shrinkage, advertising, various retail 'fees', taxes, and more must be taken into account when determining your price.

   If you are planning to sell your product in other countries, don't forget costs associated with special packaging, customs and duties, and currency fluctuations outside the US.

   There are as many levels of margin, mark-up, fees, and commissions, as there are entities associated with bringing your product to the consumer. Study the market to determine the ins and outs, what works and what doesn't, and how to price your product for profits while giving your consumers a good value, without losing it all in the process. Remember: short term thinking is fatal.

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