There has never been a better time to be a local, regional, or emerging food brand. An overwhelming number of market indicators suggest that there is an unprecedented amount of volatility in the food industry:
Business owner and author Patrick Nycz has spent virtually his entire career in consumer-packaged goods, launching and managing successful brands in categories ranging from hardware and office supplies to toys and games, and of course, food. Nycz owns NewPoint, a marketing firm that provides insight-driven marketing strategies for local and regional emerging food brands.
The book is well organized into five sections: Why Now for Local and Regional Food Brands, Brand Reconnaissance, Brand Advantage Strategies, Brand Growth Programs, and Brand Prosperity and Long-Term Growth. Just by the very titles of these sections, it is obvious that the content emphasizes the importance of marketing the brand. This could not be more appropriate, given the highly competitive nature of both the traditional grocery store and online stores.
Simply getting noticed on shelves or on a web page is a major hurdle, never mind influencing product trial. Each of the book’s sections clearly and carefully lays out marketing strategies and tactics designed to take on this daunting challenge.
Very tailored to food brands, the chapters are detailed without being overwhelming. The author makes no assumptions about the reader’s level of expertise; the content is just as informative for experienced as for novice food marketers. Topics include planning and research, brand identity and brand campaigns, brand management, sound advice about public relations (especially crisis management), and strategic product development.
Other parts of the book are strategically relevant as well. Section Three offers a fine overview of brand positioning and brand messaging. The chapter in this section concerning packaging is critically important because “an estimated 70 percent of all purchasing decisions are made at the retail shelf.” Key topics in this chapter, such as packaging and food safety, nutrition labels, and “clean labeling,” should be of keen interest to food brand marketers. Pertinent case studies about product packaging are also included. Quotes from pundits and industry retailers are sprinkled throughout the book.” Barry Siverstein, Forward Reviews December 12, 2017
The time is ripe for local and regional food brands to find success, argues Nycz, the president of a marketing agency specializing in the food industry, in his practical and informative debut book. Consumer tastes and demographics are changing; people are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from and how healthy it is; and the dominance of “big food” is waning. All that adds up “to significant leverage” for small, local, or regional companies that are looking to get coveted space on grocery store shelves.
Industry data and interviews with store buyers back up his assertion that local food brands can and do thrive, provided they have the right products and embrace strong marketing strategies. The path to success begins with a solid business plan and a clear understanding of the market. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to develop a “killer instinct” and become “meticulous and calculating” predators so they can outsmart competitors. Food manufacturers must become experts in their chosen categories through qualitative and quantitative research, focus groups, in-person store checks, and the constant scrutiny of relevant industry publications, among other techniques. Only with that solid foundation will they be able to build strong brands and execute effective marketing plans.
Drawing on his decades of experience, Nycz offers a crash course in those two topics, providing to-the-point explanations of everything from the essential elements of a branded visual identity to the ins and outs of social media marketing. (The latter is not as easy as it looks, and it shouldn’t just be handed off to the youngest person in the company to manage, he notes.) There are plenty of nuggets of wisdom here for marketing novices, and many strategies can be implemented even by those without much experience. The comments Nycz gathered from store buyers are especially useful, particularly insights into the questions they wish more suppliers would ask them.
A sage, hands-on guide that delivers plenty for growth-minded food manufacturers to chew on. Kirkus Reviews