A Co-Mingling of Expertise

Spatula Tim and I have felt as though we received so much benefit from the community and collaborative nature of the contestants, judges, and blog responders from Blog Off 2, that we would share some excerpts from the multiple conversations that we have engaged in, about branding and going to market with a new product, for a combined final post. The following (edited for your reading enjoyment) rhetoric outlines some of the finer points of our conversations…

So You’ve Developed a Product, but ‘Who is Your Brand’?

Hi Tim, thanks for the comments. I have enjoyed your posts, specifically when it comes to the spatula product, I think at this stage of product development you should be focusing on a personality for your brand. I have some homework for you, that should help you figure out how to answer the question, “who is my brand”?  Before you can take that step, analyze your competitor’s offerings. If you have no direct competitors, review products that offer a similar emotional appeal or tangible benefit. This research is invaluable in developing your brand’s personality, because it will give you the basis of points of parity and differentiation.

Next, write down all of the adjectives and descriptors you can think of, that describe the product’s benefits and attributes. There are no poor choices; allow yourself to brainstorm so that you can come up with as many words as possible.  From that, decide which ones can be put into a 3-5 word phrase that best describes the product and differentiates it from competitors. This will be the working slogan of the brand. The slogan can be used to develop the logo. Logo’s are a visual depiction of what you feel will be able to represent your brand, sans verbiage.  Color, tone, and aesthetic are of the utmost importance when developing a logo, because this is the “face” of your brand.

Once you have done this, perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of your brand. Remember, strengths and weaknesses represent internal factors, and opportunities and threats are external factors to consider before deciding on the final brand personality. If you find that the chosen logo and slogan do not highlight strengths and opportunities while downplaying weaknesses and threats, then go back to your list and attempt to put together a phrase and subsequent logo that accomplish this end.


I am asking you to develop an initial logo first, so that you have an idea of how well you intrinsically know your brand and competitors. Completing these tasks in the opposite manner can yield results that still don’t offer the punch of the eureka moment that ensues from seeing your foibles first-hand.  If everything “checks out”, you know you’re on the right track and can continue confidently to the final next development phase, which is product packaging.

Your product packaging should be commensurate to your new-found unique identity. Think of the packaging as the wardrobe for your new entity. Make sure your personality is highlighted so that your product stands out when on store shelves. Speaking of store shelves, you will need to decide how large your packaging will be, so that you can maximize shelf space to ensure your product is noticed, but can fit and offer you the opportunity to maximize volume in the store. Volume is important in the distribution strategy as it will effect the number sold per shipment, which has a direct correlation on your sales price. This is true, because fewer (or more) products on the shelves will change the number of goods that need to be sold to break-even.

Once we have taken care of these core initial elements, then we can start to discuss marketing communications strategy!  I would start by thinking about what you want the literature to say, and how that will support your main themes that you have developed.  As you go through all of these steps, imagine where your product will best be sold – internet, retail, wholesale, mall kiosks, stand-alone stores, or all-of-the-above?

Do you have any initial ideas for your product?

Therran just went through all the steps of branding your product and now it is brought to market, you need to SELL SELL SELL. I am going to outline the steps on the techniques that have worked for me in the past in regards to selling a product after it has been branded.

1. Develop a website – Whether you are selling retail or wholesale you will need to develop an eye catching easy to use website. This is not an area you will want to cheap at, hire a website developer and also work on search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a crucial part to your website ranking on search engines, this will be an ongoing process and must not be over-looked.  A SEO blog from Blog off 2 that might be helpful. http://www.communitymarketing.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/12/6-things-seo-experts-wont-tell-you-but-i-will.html.

2. Social media campaign – You now have your website and part of the SEO process and selling process will be getting visitors to your website, one idea is utilizing social media. Sign up for all the large social media sites including myspace, facebook, linkedin and twitter. Produce a blog that will collaborate with your product and post a new topic at least once a week. For instance, if you are producing a pancake flipper you will possibly write a weekly post on pancakes and different types and other uses for your flipper besides just flipping pancakes (like delicious omelets). I like this blog on Social Media that highlights this idea. http://www.communitymarketing.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/12/social-media-framework.html

3. Print media – Research the magazines and newspapers that are geared toward home cooking or cooking in general. Advertise your website, logo and social links using catch phrases and phenomenal pictures. Trade publications are also a great place to advertise your product, for instance, putting an ad in the “Bon Appetite” magazine with the same advertisement you have put in other print media will also increase brand awareness.

4. Direct channel marketing – Direct channel means you have full control over your avenues of advertising. Customer service is a form of advertising;  you will want to have great customer service so your product receives great word of mouth. Sales force; hire a sales force that you believe in and has the dedication you do for your product. Your customers can sense confidence and its crucial that your sales force is a firm believer and will stand by your product as you do. Part of the sales process will be cold calling and also staying in contact with current customers. One of the blogs from Blog Off 2 that featured selling can be found here. http://www.communitymarketing.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/12/winning-strategic-accounts-permission-selfselection-referrals.html.

5. Trade shows – Now that you have your website, social media and print campaign, customer service and sales force in place it is now the time to start attending trade shows to exhibit your product. Purchase a booth that either you can easily move from location to location as trade shows tend to be all over the nation. You will use your branding strategy from above to pass out product literature including product specifications.


There are many more strategies to use while marketing and advertising your new product, however, these steps outlined above will get you started in making the revenue you need in order to move forward unto more expensive advertising like billboards, commercials, infomercials and direct mail campaigns. Everything is going to be dependent on how dedicated you are to succeeding. Nothing will just come to you, in today’s economy you MUST be pro-active and fish for sales.

About Therran Oliphant

Therran Oliphant is a strong advocate for developing the academic and practical field of Integrated Marketing Communications. Holding an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) from Eastern Michigan University, Therran has been a staunch advocate for developing the theoretical, practical and applicable concepts of the field, especially as it comes to digital advertising and media. His main passion is helping marketers more accurately interface with the technology community and ask the right questions to help them accomplish the objectives their brand customers have set. A career in data and advertising technology has allowed him to have a unique perspective on the science of utilizing the right methodologies to systematically ask the right questions that lead to delivering the outcomes necessary for success.