The business of branding

By itself, milk doesn’t offer a lot of
unique branding opportunities. It’s
plain, it’s white, and it’s pretty much sold in the same jugs and cartons everywhere.

If you are in the business of producing
and selling a basic product such as milk,
Roy Warren says that it’s up to you to come
up with your own unique take on the product, and then sell it to consumers.

Warren, CEO and director of $11 million
Bravo! Foods International Corp., adds flavor to his milk products with co-branding
initiatives that tie his products to well-known brands of candy and comic book

To Warren, branding is no longer about
casting a wide net. It’s more like aiming for
a bull’s-eye by identifying your target demographic and then figuring out ways to reach
those consumers by tying your product to
other products they find attractive.

Smart Business spoke with Warren about
how to make a branding strategy a success.

Q: How do you identify the demographics
toward which you want to aim your products?

We look at what we have for products, see
what our current product line covers and
then see where the holes are. … The world
is changing.

It used to be that everybody drank the
same thing for all use occasions. All demographics would drink Coke breakfast,
lunch and dinner. … Now you have very
unique demographic profiles demanding
very different nutritional fortification.
What we’re trying to do is identify which
demographics meet which kinds of nutritional profile and then brand them accordingly.

While we know that every single demographic would have an interest in a different kind of milk, we don’t think that you
would drink the same milk as your mom or
your wife or your kids. So what we’re doing
is formulating accordingly and then branding accordingly.

Q: How important is it to find co-branding

It’s all about partnerships. We’re developing partnerships where we do things that
they don’t do, and they do things for us that we can’t do, but together, we come up with
an interesting proposition that makes our
product unique.

It’s all about relationships. In this day and
age, business is tough enough that you can’t
do it on your own. But if you bring an incremental value to somebody else, with their
help, you can be competitive.

Q: How do you seek out co-branding

We usually have a very clear path as to
where we’re trying to go and then look for
partners to help us get there. We learned
over the years that there is a real appetite
connection, a natural connection between
the flavor and the brand positioning and the
demographic profile of the customer.

By flavoring our products and developing
them from a nutritional point of view and
from a brand essence of that appetite-appealing intellectual property, we learned that we
really could make a big difference and have a
much stronger message about what our
products are because of what that co-brand
represents. It’s been very, very productive.

Q: How do you make your brand stand out
in a crowded retail marketplace?

The co-branding strategy is key. It’s one
thing to have a Slammers line sitting on the
shelf. It’s another to have a Slammers Milky
Way. You see it and understand it because
they spend $100 million every year over at
Mars telling everybody about Milky Way.
Secondly, you know what it’s likely to taste
like, and there is an implied endorsement
when somebody puts ‘Milky Way’ on your
product. In this day and age, when marketing and advertising are so prolific, when
there are so many messages hitting every
consumer every day, the battle is won or lost
at the point of sale.

We think our co-branding strategy helps us
to have a competitive brand awareness.
We’re effectively riding the coattails of these
other, well-known intellectual properties.

Q: How has branding changed over the

It’s different today than it used to be. It
used to be that you’d build a brand name
and it would mean the same thing to all demographics. Now a brand has to be very
narrowly targeted. There is an old saying, ‘If
you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for
anything.’ You kind of have to be something
these days in the branding business. Our
marketing and promotional activities are
targeting a very narrow concentric circle.

If you hit the bull’s-eye with that, you’ve
communicated what the brand is, and then
others can understand what the brand is. If
you try to be everything to everybody, then
you’ll end up being nobody to anybody. The
key to developing a brand is understanding
who is the target, then speak to that target
and let the concentric circles fill in as they
may. There are just too many messages hitting consumers out there for you to try to
be everything to everybody.

HOW TO REACH: Bravo! Foods International Corp., (877) 625-1411 or

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