What goes into building an ice cream brand? Surprisingly, a lot. Running an ice cream shop isn’t unlike running other types of businesses. You need a good idea, a good location, ideas on how to market and brand yourself, and then a scalability plan. Of these factors, many businesses really mess up the branding because they underestimate just how important it is. Here’s how to avoid this tragic mistake and make sure your name becomes a local household one.
Your Point Of Differentiation
Your point of differentiation is going to help you define your brand. Without some kind of unique selling proposition, you have no reason to be in the marketplace. For example, Baskin Robins’ unique position in the marketplace used to be that it had 31 flavors so that you could have a different flavor of ice cream every day for an entire month. It beat out its competition by 3 flavors and won the market.
Today, it’s the largest ice cream chain in the U.S. See how a point of differentiation sets them apart from everyone else? Molly Moon is another ice cream shop that found its place by creating a boutique ice cream parlor and ice cream made from local, organic, ingredients. It also focuses on the customer experience and atmosphere, setting it apart from everyone else in Seattle, where it is based.
Your company’s culture can overcome having a mediocre product, as long as the product is still high-enough quality that the marketplace accepts it. Company culture is something that drives companies like Zappos, with its famous customer service. It’s not that Zappos sells shoes that can’t be bought anywhere else. Nikes, Jordan’s, and Reeboks can be purchased anywhere. But, it’s the culture of the company that bleeds out into the marketplace that makes it so desirable to customers.
Take a look at its core principles. These are the kinds of principles you should consider adopting in your company. Now, you don’t have to adopt these exact principles, but you should have principles, and they should be known by your potential clients and customers.
What sets you apart from the crowd? Custom packaging. Think Apple or Amazon here. When you buy something from them, it almost seems like they spent more money on the packaging than the product they just sold you. But, you’re always left with the impression that, if they paid this must attention to the detailing in the packaging, the product should be amazing. And, their products usually are.
So, in your quest to be the best ice cream service out there, go for premium packaging, seek out custom ice cream packaging suppliers, and design your own cups, cones, and spoons. Don’t just buy generic plastic utensils. Make people feel like they are part of an experience that is your company.
For example, you could design a custom ice cream cup that has a silk wrapping the customer unties to get to his or her ice cream. You could have special integrated hot fudge containers so that the ice cream doesn’t melt in transport if it’s a “to-go” order.
Think about the message you want to convey to your customers – what does your brand say about its product? Everything, right down to the napkins, should scream your brand and level of quality.
At the end of the day, marketing is what drives sales, but it can also help with branding. If people keep seeing your advertising everywhere they go, they can’t ignore you. They may not buy from you right away, but they also can’t ignore what you’re doing.
When it comes to advertising, stick with what works – direct mail, direct response, T.V. commercials, and PPC local ads.
Of these, it’s probably easiest to start with either direct mail or direct response. Yes, it costs money to buy media ads and send out mailers. However, it’s a lot less expensive than bankruptcy. You do want to be successful, right?
Ruth Sirmans has been running her family’s ice cream parlor for over two decades. With a great mind for business and an unquenchable sweet tooth, she loves blogging about her tips and tricks for the nostalgic and tasty ice cream shops across the country to improve their businesses.