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Are You Nuts?

How do you take a commodity (nuts) and turn it into a popular and respected brand? You start from the shell and work your way up. When you’re building a brand from scratch you’re looking at a blank piece of paper, which is both inspiring and terrifying. What if you fail? Better yet, what if you succeed? But where do you begin?

Initially, you want to find out all you can about your product and the company that’s producing it. What makes it truly different? Does it have a personality? What’s the Brand Story behind it? That Brand Story is the basis for everything going forward. It’s the history, the future and the eventual success of the brand. In the case of a food product, it also determines the packaging, the marketing, the advertising, the tagline and the name.

Beyond writing the Brand Story, naming the product is one of the toughest, yet most critical decisions you’ll make. Consumers will search for the product by name and that name should resonate with them and say something relevant and memorable about the brand. In our case we had a premium product (pecans, walnuts and almonds), that would serve as the perfect ingredient for baking. But there are also a number of other established nut products used for baking and we are an unknown.

So, the next step? You have to make a thorough assessment of the competition. Who are they? What do they look like, sound like, taste like? Are they gourmet? Run-of-the-Mill? Organic or non-organic? What are their product attributes? What are their strengths or their weaknesses? Do they have strong brand equity? And what’s the name of their product?

That’s followed by an equally detailed assessment of your target audience. Who are they? What are they like? Are they upscale? Middle class? Male? Female? 35 to 45? 65 and up? Do they drive a Lexus or a pre-owned Mini Van? Do they read the Wall Street Journal or the Ladies Home Journal? Are they members of the country club or the Elk’s Club? Do they go to expensive restaurants or prefer more modest eateries? Do they shop at Whole Foods or Walmart? And on it goes.

Following presentations, category name searches, and different logo designs, we received client approval on the name and then had it registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. From there, we presented a number of package designs that reflected our new brand name, established a brand image and differentiated us on the shelf.

This was all part of our process when we launched “Golden Tree” for the South Georgia Pecan Company (SGPC). The product has just been introduced in Walmart in the eastern half of the United States. And so far, the brand is establishing a presence and popularity with shoppers.

New product introduction is a challenging and deadline driven process, but the rewards can be great when it’s done right and done with the right agency partners. Our next undertaking with SGPC will be a new snack line extension under the “Golden Tree” name. We’re looking forward to the challenge and carrying the “Golden Tree” line of nut products to the next level.