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Brand Next: Want some 'tude with that food?



Brand Next: Want some ’tude with that food?

by Howard C. Smith, Chief Strategist


If you're looking for a fulfilling relationship, look no further than your local supermarket!

From chips to candy to cookies—and even beef jerky—new food branding tries, and succeeds, to draw us in on an ever-deepening emotional relationship. Just like a new romance, food packaging is designed to make us feel flirty, sporty, chic and blissful.

Overriding our brains that might caution us that “this product costs twice as much as the generic brand but tastes the same. It’s not worth the extra money,” the packages stir our passion. Why buy food that promises zero trans fats and gluten-free goodness, when we can feel blissful, sassy, and sexy—just by plunking down a few extra dollars? Why reach for the sensibly priced soda when you can buy a Coke with your name printed on the can?

First, we like that the brand speaks directly to us, and second, we crave the satisfaction of purchasing an item that makes us feel special. The packaging tracks both to our feel-good aspirations and to our values.

And it works. We all want to feel good about ourselves and vindicated for who we are, and these foods preserve these oh-so-human longings. (At least, that's what they'd like us to believe.)

So the next time you're looking for a good time...well, you know what to reach for.

All Kidding Aside

Branding used to be about product attributes. It has evolved into HOW THE PRODUCT RELATES TO YOU. This new trend seeks an emotional connection with the audience. 

Are you responsible for branding your organization?

How do you speak about your organization’s mission to your stakeholders? Do you tell them about calorie and fat content, or do you demonstrate how participating can make them feel?

Are you telling them how you work or are you sharing the values you have in common?

When you report straight-on results, are you also communicating the excitement behind the facts?

It may be time to reimagine the emotional connection your brand can deliver to your audience.

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