When most people think of consumer packaged goods (CPG) branding, they immediately think of brand names, logos and catchphrases. Even though there is a ton more to successful branding, like distribution, merchandising, packaging and positioning, it is the name, logo and slogan that most people remember.
Having designed what is now the world’s most popular wine brand, we can talk for hours about these 3 emblematic attributes of a CPG brand! What did we learn on the way up that made the Barefoot Wine brand so iconic?
For one thing, most of the ideas behind the Barefoot Wine brand name, logo and catchphrase were designed to address specific, pre-existing market conditions. They were not some kind of isolated artistic creation. We were severely limited by the realities of the marketplace, and knew we didn’t have the freedom of all possible worlds. Today, we advise our clients to thoroughly understand the environment and mindset of all the players in the market distribution system before they “come up with a cool idea.”
In our case, and in the case of most CPG’s, our name, logo, and catchphrase were designed to focus on the following realities:
- Short Attention Spans. You are only going to get a second or two (if you are lucky) to make an impression. You are one of thousands of other brands vying for the attention of buyers at all levels. In the store, for instance, your consumer may be confused by all the choices, unable to find your brand, or moving by so quickly that they don’t notice it. Or, they simply forgot your brand name and/or logo.
- Poor Lighting. Unlike your backlit screen, the stores are lit from above with blue casting light (because it’s inexpensive). Your brand may be unlit on the back of the shelf where your first several packages have sold off. This limits your choices to colors and shapes that can be recognized in poor lighting. Unlike you and your friends who may think your idea is “cool” eighteen inches from the screen, your customers may be up to 5 feet away!
- Physical Packaging. Your brand name and logo don’t exist on a flat screen or sheet of paper, but on a physical package with topography of its own. In our case, we placed a label on a rounded bottle, so only a very small portion of the label was actually readable in the stationary position. Even though, for instance, our labels were 3.5 inches wide, barely more than 2 inches across could be read without rotation. Blister packs, boxes, and display racks have their own limitations.
Before we completed the design of the Barefoot Wine label, we made “friends in low places.” This is not to disparage these folks but to praise them. They provided us with the honest and realistic insights that only store clerks, stockers, fork lift drivers, warehouse people, and truck drivers could provide. They knew through their experience what worked and what didn’t …and why.
Here’s what we tell our clients about brand names, logos, and catch phrases:
- The Brand Name. Make it in plain English, no more than 3 syllables long, and make it relatable to your customer or consumer. Make it easy to read, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember. Make it evoke a mental image and a feeling that people can readily identify with. Choose a brand name that has something to do with your product, like the feeling they get from the using your product, or some distinguishing attribute. We chose “Barefoot” because wine was originally made from grapes that were crushed with bare feet, and being barefoot has a fun recreational meaning.
- The Logo. Make it simple, easy to remember, and if at all possible, make it the same as the name, i.e., a graphic image of the brand name. Make the logo clean and sharp. Stay away from curlicues and vagaries. Design it for the shape of the surface it’s being applied to. Consider the lighting and the position in which it will be displayed. Make it easy to read from 4 feet away. Leave lots of white space around the logo on the label. If you can, make it an everyday object so that it is familiar to your consumer. We used the image of a bare foot, same as the name.
- The Catch Phrase. Make it move your consumer to buy, by evoking a positive emotion or solving their problem. It may have to do with the way consumers use your brand, the feeling they get when they use it, or the results and benefits of your brand. Keep it short and sweet. Try for a double meaning or create a rhyme. Keep it light and fun. Make it convey some distinguishing aspect of your brand. Keep it under 10 words, the shorter, the better. Use an identifier like “Everyone’s Favorite” or “Ants Be Gone,” or use a conjunction or call to action. We used “Get Barefoot and Have a Great Time!”
When designing your brand name, logo, and catchphrase, remember the severe limitations of the marketplace. Find out what those limitations are before you run it up the flagpole!
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular business site at www.thebarefootspirit.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.