Target Audience Branding in the Food Industry

Building a Brand Image that can Meet (or Exceed) Consumer Expectations

Branding is so much more than designing a cool logo that you feel good about. Great brands dig a little deeper to understand how the target audience perceives your company. These design decisions can have a huge impact on your bottom line. This is because people make important decisions based on aesthetics and personal bias all the time.

Simple differences in the logo fonts, colors, symbols, and even product packaging can heavily influence purchasing decisions. The behavior has been well documented. Take for example this 2013 study published in Psychological Science: Influence of Branding on Preference-Based Decision Making.

TARGET AUDIENCE BRANDING Examples: Chipotle & Montchevre

Idyllic Goat Scene
baby pig in a meat farm

Brands in the food industry are well aware of the meteoric rise of animal loving, health conscious, and sustainability minded consumers. Many have made great efforts to meet the consumer demands or alter practices (think eggs from cage-free chickens.) Others simply mask what is really going on with a veneer of marketing bullshit.

Some have spent the better part of the past decade trying to shield consumers from the harsh reality of food production, particularly with meat and dairy products, from the end consumers. Enter phrases like “Non-GMO” and “Zero Antibiotics” on product packaging, replacing yesterday’s favorites, “fresh” or “natural” (although these are not obsolete.) 

The marketing idioms only sugar coat the reality of this industry – we do in fact slaughter animals to eat them, even if the treatment of that animal is more humane, the outcome is the same. The marketing and branding focus of these companies is to make consumers feel better about that fact.

Ad Campaign Spotlight: Chipotle

Many brands, especially those hoping to take hold in the hyper-health-conscious food market, have designed their brand to evoke feelings of trustworthiness, wholesome family values, and kindness to animals. Chipotle has leaned heavily into messaging that aligns with the “good guys,” AKA local farmers, sustainable farming, fresh ingredients, humane animal treatment, etc.

The infamous Scarecrow ad, produced by Chipotle in 2013, is an apt example. They even made a TV show called “Farmed and Dangerous” that was just as ridiculous as it sounds.

Ironically enough, just a few years after these videos were released, Chipotle would become embroiled in controversy and would close many of its stores due to meat contamination. It was a hard blow for Chipotle, which had focused so much energy on its messaging to position itself as a virtuous trailblazer.

Logo Design Spotlight: Montchevre

Over the past few decades, the public has become more and more sympathetic to the plight of farm animals. By positioning the brand alongside values consumers are passionate about, companies like Montchevre aim to increase brand loyalty. In an overly crowded market with countless competitors, brand loyalty is essential – and it all starts with the logo.

Montchevre Logo

Montchevre’s rebrand is proof of this concept. It doesn’t take a marketing guru to see what they did. The cartoon goats and butterfly, colors, and even the font are carefully chosen to align and connect with their target audience on an emotional level. 

Regardless of the reality of these goat’s lives, the image they portray is one of peaceful bliss, childlike innocence, and family values. For someone who loves animals, or perhaps has young children, the brand can be quite memorable.

Food for Thought

  • Does your brand relate to your target audience? Will they instantly “get it” without too much thought?
  • Does it reflect the promise that you are making to those you are targeting?
  • Does your brand reflect the values that you want to represent?
  • Is your branding an accurate reflection of your company values?
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