September 11-15, 2017
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What’s in a Name?

I attended a professional women’s networking group last month that focuses on empowering women in their profession. Our group leader brought up attending a seminar on branding: How to successfully brand yourself to help you get the position you desire.

The group of 10, ranging in age from recently graduated college to early 40s, was keen on finding out more about how to successfully brand themselves to send out the right message. I immediately thought of successful beverages that have found success with their branding.

In the beverage world, we are always circling the importance of branding and how the right branding can help you gain consumers for life, while the wrong branding could turn off consumers entirely to your product.

Ironically, our meeting was held in a Starbucks in central London. And Starbucks is a great example of brand image that worked. The small coffee house’s green mermaid image has become so synonymous with the brand that its white cups don’t even bear the name Starbucks any more. Then, I noticed the napkin I had gotten with my tall, spiced vanilla latte wasn’t the recycled-colored brown paper napkin with green emblem. It was a crisp, white, paper napkin with a bold “Starbucks” written across the side in big, black, capital letters—black and white; statement; simple—I liked the new look.

On my journey back toward the tube to head home I started to take notice of other impactful brand imagery—the London underground symbol, the golden McDonald’s arches, the bitten apple for Apple computers. What makes these symbols so impactful and iconic that they can stand by themselves, without any words? That’s a question that new beverage brands ask themselves when creating a strategy on how best to get consumers to notice and resonate with their brand.

Walking down the beverage aisles at Tesco the successful beverage brands that have gotten it right pop off the shelf, like Coca-Cola’s white Spencerian script, Pepsi’s round, red, white and blue symbol, Heineken’s red star, Bacardi’s black bat. All longstanding brands that keep it simple, but keep it consistent.

Other longstanding brands, UK-based, that also are known for their branding is Fuller’s beer brand, which has big, capital, golden letters on a bright red background and standing on top, a Griffin with one leg on a barrel of beer. Dating back to 1845, Fuller’s Griffin Brewery is an independent family brewery that continues to offer a wide range of beers including seasonal and limited edition brews.

Another is Ribena, a line of fruit-based soft drinks, juice drinks and fruit concentrates, which has been in existence since 1938. A product of GlaxoSmithKline, Ribena has bright red lettering on a white background almost illuminating the product name and then images of the fruit inside the beverage front and center on the package.  Simple, but colorful and fun at the same time.

The beverage brands that speak to you with their branding might have something to do with your personality. Are you a clean, crisp and simple? Or are you an in your face, multi-colored and bold? There’s no concrete answer to what makes a successful brand image, but staying true to the brand is the best way to connect with your desired consumer.

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