Many companies want a great brand. They dream of dominating their category, being the “household” name when it comes to their core products or service and even being loved by their customers. All of these things are what a great brand can deliver whether you are a large corporation or a privately ran small business. I will use one of my favorite products to serve as an example of how a small, family-ran business is dominating their industry niche by investing in their brand.
Boar’s Head is a premium deli meat and cheese company. Recently, they have been making industry headlines and are dominating the deli section across the country. They have carved out a niche in the premium deli meat category and are now considered the market leader. My family and I personally love their products and believe the extra few dollars are worth the great taste. And isn’t this what most brands want, customers willing to pay a premium just because they love them so much? This is the power of a great brand. So how did this family business come to own the local deli meat case? Here are a few points that can be applied across industries:
• Invest in your brand – Boar’s Head invests over $19.9 million in measured media spending (that’s just air time, ad space, etc. and not counting creative and production costs). The second place competitor spends about $7 million in measured media spending. That’s a huge gap between #1 and #2 and that’s one reason why Boar’s Head muscled their way in to the top spot, even again heavy hitters such as Oscar Mayer, Sara Lee and Jennie-O Turkey brands. (Note: Other brands and generic store brands sell more in terms of volume, but they are not considered premium brands and fall way behind with their version of “premium” brands.)
• Don’t under estimate the value of customer image – Boar’s Head realizes their image is vital to success since most consumer decisions are made at the deli counter. Boar’s Head makes sure all POP displays, signage and any other visible materials are the best it can produce with great design, emotional messaging and a singular reason of why customer’s would be thrilled with their products over any other brands in the deli case. No other brands have done it better and over a longer period of time, including the big brands.
• Train your partners in your brand – Any grocer or restaurant that carries Boar’s Head goes through extensive training and brand “indoctrination” covering everything from quality control to how to represent the brand. They also provide constant, on-site assistance in their deep knowledge of POP marketing and display set ups to maximize sales. They even call their independent distributors and truck drivers “as a family of brand ambassadors”.
These are just a few points that has helped make Boar’s Head the hottest name in premium deli products to date. One other key factor is their consistency in marketing. They have always taken the long view and continually invested heavily in marketing and brand building with customers and retailers. This isn’t about an instant success story because when you look closer at almost all long-lasting successful companies, they’ve steadily built the brand and image over time with committed investment in their brand on a holistic scale, advertising, training and on-site management.
This is a great example of how a family-owned company can best the largest corporations in the U.S. It comes down to defining the brand, training others in the brand and ultimately delivering the brand experience to the customers.