Vegan Branding – 6 Questions To Make Your Brand Great

The power of effective vegan branding is underestimated in the marketing world.

  • Good branding convinces people that your products are good.
  • Great branding demonstrates that your products are essential.

There are 6 questions you should ask yourself before doing any marketing at all.

Vegan Branding Video Interview:

We talked to Jim O’Quinn, co-founder and creative director of Jeoto Design Inc.

An Ontario, Canada-based design studio specialized in strategic branding and graphic design.

They help brands to communicate their stories through creative visuals and strategic thinking, as well as to gain a following by establishing a brand identity that is highly recognized by the consumers.

A vegan for 24 years, Jim’s goal is to also help the vegan movement grow into an everyday way of life.

What is Branding?

Branding is developing the overall look, feel, style, and identity that represents your business.

This includes the logo, website, packaging, uniform, how your customer service works, and the way you respond to your audience.

All of that has to be accounted for and goes into your branding.

The Power of Vegan Branding

vegan brandingTaking a look at the meat and dairy industry shows the effect and the power of branding.

They’ve done a phenomenal job over the decades in brainwashing people to wholeheartedly believe that their products are not only good but also essential.

That is simply not the case though, because their product line is destroying our planet and the environment. 

All of that is done through branding and marketing.

This global market has unfortunately brought us to our current situation of non-stop environmental issues, pandemics, and animal cruelty and suffering.

Jim focuses on working with plant-based, vegan, and eco-intelligent companies that are being sustainable and trying to find new and innovative ways to help people and the environment.

They have taken branding and marketing to flip it and help these companies that try to influence the average person that the plant-based diet is the way to go.

These partnerships grow from different outlets: from plant-based food products, to fashion, and even services.

They help these companies succeed, grow, change the world in positive ways–something he wanted to do 25 years ago.

A Different Approach by Vegan Brands

vegan branding designThe plant-based industry has been using a different approach in branding nowadays. 

“They’re humorous, fun, engaging, and exciting. They’re not slogan-oriented, they’re not in your face. They tend to look at life through a different lens.”

Advertising is now done online through social media outlets, celebrities, and influencers, where a huge audience is tapped.

These people are then brought into the fold at the same time, which makes a big difference.

People are no longer told what to do.

You’re speaking and opening a dialogue with them. You’re sharing your ideas, thoughts, and feelings with them.

This is an especially exciting time for those in the plant-based, vegan, or eco-friendly category, because of the huge growth and change.

It’s surprising because nowadays, wanting to eat and be healthy while changing and healing the planet is no longer being seen as just a fad anymore

Jim is using this platform to make the consumers aware of the companies that are creating these products, along with the beauty, benefits, and positive reactions that they entail. 

“Branding got us into this problem, branding can get us out of it. We choose to change people’s perspectives about the food that they need and we work with companies that are doing good. That’s the goal that we’re here to achieve. Animal products are going to be a thing of the past. We’re going to erase a good portion of that and replace it with all that is positive.”

How Can My Vegan Branding Reach Millions?

Generating information nowadays can be a challenge at times because you want to use everything that you have established about your business and make it resonate with your viewers.

In this day and age, we all know social media is king. You have the opportunity to post on various social media outlets. With the majority of it being free, you can get a ton of marketing

Jim says having a well-planned social media plan is vital.

You want to keep up with your image and keep your consumers happy. You also have to make sure that you’re always enriching them with new and valuable content at all times

Launching Your Vegan Product

He also suggests for startups to get the buzz started even before being fully established as a brand.

This might sound counterintuitive, but you’re just basically teasing people. You’re not letting vital information to the big reveal out.

You’re just letting them know something new, big, and exciting is happening soon, so they need to keep their eyes open!

People will start talking about it and look forward to it.

Building this anticipation before you completely build the product can make customers help shape it.

vegan brandingIt allows you to show some of the elements that you’re working on, like the product and its benefits, along with your branding. It lets you change things to see which resonates better with people

Another way is conventional advertising, like physical print ads in magazines where you can market and advertise to a huge audience.

Of course, there is also paid advertising.

Whatever the means, the goal is to have as much reach for your product, then fine-tune your content into a specific market.

Common Vegan Branding Mistakes

“One major mistake people make, particularly with startups, is they’re so focused on developing a product that they’re hoping everybody is going to fall in love with, they don’t really think so much about branding.”

Some just simply don’t know what branding is all about.

They forget about it and they don’t invest the time and money to brand themselves correctly at the beginning. They’ll do what they can to get things put together on their own: their logo, packaging, and website.

vegan marketingWhat tends to happen is they launch, start moving forward, things work out for a while but after some time, they hit a plateau, simply because they don’t have that reach and impact that they need to break through the clutter.

And there’s a lot of clutter out there.

The competition is fierce in every category. If you don’t focus on that and let it slide, you’ll reach that plateau, you’re going to lose sales, and then you will have to reinvest. 

“My philosophy is to do it right the first time.”

To Jim, if that means you’re going to have to wait a little while to get your product to the market just to have everything done as close to perfect as possible, so be it.

He says there will be changes as you go, but you’ll find things that work don’t early on.

The Importance of Product Value

One vegan startup had great products and labels but they only used an iPhone to take pictures in the office.

Only when they switched to hiring a professional photographer and graphic designer did their image stand out.

More media outlets picked them up and then the business took off.

vegan branding design agencyHaving a great vegan product is not good enough to sell.

You also need to show the actual and perceived value of the product.

That is the benefit of displaying how great your product is, people can resonate with it.

His advice as a business owner is to get professional photography, design, and advice on how to stand out with your brand.

The saying a picture says a thousand words is very true.

If your message isn’t as concise or to the point within the descriptions, website, and social media…

You can speak volumes with beautiful packaging that shows how the product works, its functionality, and benefits–just by simple but well-done visuals.

Can I Do The Vegan Branding Myself?

When you hire professionals, you’re hiring people who understand the principles behind every aspect of what goes into a brand.

Jim has been doing this for more than two decades. He’s seen things come and go within the vegan lifestyle. 

What resonated with him are the companies trying their best to get a brand new product to people that not only helps them physically and mentally but also helps the planet.

vegan packagingIt can be a difficult challenge to meet all those needs though. He noticed that the lifespan of these vegan products entering the market is mostly short-lived

He then felt it was essential for him to help these companies not only stay longer but also gain traction and awareness from consumers so that they can grow.

Most of these companies tend to only put one product out, like a trial.

He aims to help them stay there so they can move on to the next product

Building a Brand That Gets Attention

When a company’s branding and messaging resonates well with consumers, it can get them recognized.

Then they can continue to evolve their brand and continuously create new products.

And that is the magic Jim loves to do. He gets people to look forward to the next thing.

More and more plant-based products and alternatives pop up nowadays simply because of the awareness and excitement in the food industry.

People are now far more willing to experiment and try these products. 

Branding is also your business’ reputation.

It’s good to invest in it because a little bit could go a long way rather than trying to do it all yourself.

It can help you stand out in the market as well.

The Branding Process

“If you’re going to be doing a full brand, you want to do it right.”

In the beginning, Jim and his team do information vegan branding interviews to understand every aspect and angle of the client: what do they do and don’t like, their market, and their consumers.

They then invest time to research and understand the competitors, the industry, and the trends within. 

There’s so much research that goes into it because they want the product to pop off the shelf and be recognizable.

You want it to be memorable so it can stay there and have the consumers not only loving the product, but seeking it out and asking for it if it’s not in a store.

They produce things that are not only amazing but also has meaning behind them, taking into account how can the product stand out and be different among its competitors.

6 Vegan Branding Questions You Must Ask & Answer

Jim says there are six important things a brand should have at least figured out prior to meeting with any design studio they want to work with.

The more you know, the more you can bring to the table, the more concise your information is going to be, the quicker and sooner you can get into the market with a clear message, making the branding process smoother as well.

1. Who are we as a brand?

It’s one thing to have a great product you believe in that you know consumers are going to love.

But you have to know who you are as a brand and how do you want to be perceived by consumers.

Do you want to be seen as a revolutionary, one-of-a-kind, never-done-this-before brand, the kind that changes the planet?

Or is it just simply being a brand that knows that they have a really great, reliable product that people are going to love?

This could be hard to answer, but brands must try to understand how they want people to see them.

2. What makes us different?

Try to analyze things you can leverage to be the defining key that sets you apart from your competitors.

For example, there are 1,000 other widgets out there, why is yours different?

What makes you stand out from your competitors? 

3. What do we have to offer to people?

There’s a lot more to having a business, branding it, and just glorifying the key product.

Your goal is to also do everything in your power to make your customers as happy as possible.

What would that be outside of the product itself? Is it your outstanding customer service or something else?

4. Why should people believe in us?

Why should people follow you and buy from you?

It has a lot to do with the product and the way it is packaged and developed.

Things such as if you’re responsible, if you’re always looking for innovative ideas on the packaging, or if you’re environmentally friendly.

Toms Shoes, for example, donates a pair of shoes to somebody else who’s in need, for every product that they sell.

People believe and want to buy from your business because of the culture and the things that you are doing.

This is what builds a following and a community. 

5. Who are we trying to target?

plant based dietYou can’t please everybody and expect to touch base with clients that are both young and old, or men and women.

Your product has a particular target market.

It’s important to understand that market–to fine-tune your messaging, branding, and everything that you’re doing so that you resonate so well with them, that they can do nothing but recognize you, see you, and follow you, and be a part of the whole buying process.

6. Who are our competitors?

There’s going to be another company doing things like you.

It’s understanding what are they doing, how are they doing it, what is their following, how successful they are, and how long have they been in the market.

All of that is important to understand so you know the competition–what you’re up against, what your competition is like now, what they’re anticipating to be like in the future, and how are you going to compete with them. 

Brands must make a list of all their strengths to find out what is the unique selling point that could get them out to the market.

Once the imaging and the branding are developed, you can finally bridge the gap to reach and get seen by millions of people.

Making a difference: a client’s successful vegan branding story

Jim also talks about how a successful vegan branding project they did became recognized throughout the world.

Local Veg4U’s principle is to have local produce and leafy greens available to consumers 24/7, all year round.

The idea was to also keep it affordable because the growing season is relatively short-lived in Canada.

vegan dietMost products aren’t on local store shelves for the whole year.

Local Veg4U then built their business around everything being sustainable and local, while ensuring the products are always fresh and affordable.

They didn’t fluctuate the price based on the season.

And they did so well that they could not keep the shelves stocked!

They would send shipments after shipments to hundreds and hundreds of stores.

Now This Is How You Grow as a Business

The consumers snatch it up the minute they were on the shelf.

People were waiting for these products day after day when the stocks are depleted.

The reason this worked out so well, other than it was a fantastic product, was the overall branding. It stood out so well on the shelf and resonated with people.

They loved it because it was fresh, inviting, exciting, and new.

It was always available to them throughout the seasons:

  • summer,
  • spring, and
  • even in January, the middle of winter, when it’s freezing outside.

The brand developed an image that stays with people.

From their packaging to their message, every element of their marketing is on point. It’s funny, witty, exciting, and fresh. It’s perfect.

This reiterates the point of getting the branding right upfront because it makes a huge difference. Good branding makes people follow you. They look forward to always being able to connect, purchase, or correspond with you.

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