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Branding isn’t just a question of choosing a logo you like the look of and printing it on everything you produce - it’s a reflection of who you are and what you stand for. So when you’re branding your farm shop, before you even start thinking about your logo, you must think about what you want to achieve from the business.
Do you, for instance, want to be seen as a retailer of high quality, fresh food? If so, then your brand has to reflect this, from the products on the shelves to the shelving itself, the decoration and layout of the shop, the display labels and even the carrier bags. There’s no point in positioning yourself as, say, a luxury organic brand if you’re going to hand out cheap plastic bags which are doomed to sit in landfill for thousands of years.
The value of a good brand
A good brand can be a very profitable one and people are willing to pay a premium if they can be certain the quality is consistent. Take companies like Abel & Cole and Pret a Manger which pride themselves on being sustainable, ethical and authentic. People buy from them because they are confident that the brands will consistently provide them with good quality foods at the same time as keeping their brand promises. The happier consumers are with a brand, the more emotionally involved they become and the more loyal they become to it - you’ve only got to admire the success of Apple to realise how exceptionally strong - not to mention profitable! - this sense of loyalty can be.
Be consistent and authentic
Brand consistency will encourage your target customers to keep coming back. Loyalty is a hard won prize these days and if you’re going to win repeat custom, then you’ve got to provide what your target customer expects in terms of products and retail experience.
One farm shop which has enjoyed great success is Foxholes Farm Shop Butchery & Delicatessen in Hertford which is widely recognised locally as a very good brand not just in terms of produce, but also visitor experience. Farmer Catherine Smith has a good understanding of the importance of branding. “Building a brand for your customer experience is vital within a retail establishment. It gives your customers a sign to look out for, one they recognise and trust. Good branding requires consistency of design across the board, from signs, labels, newsletters, leaflets, banners and also social media.”
On the other hand, The Big Sheep, a family attraction company from Devon believe authenticity is essential to branding as they added “Branding a farm gives authenticity, makes it personal and add value to products you are selling.”
The right experience
If people are visiting a farm shop, they expect to enjoy a farm experience. But not too much of one! Keep the shop clean and make sure the walk from the car park to the entrance is as clear as possible - remember that if someone’s popping in for something tasty for dinner, they probably won’t have wellies with them. On the other hand, there’s no point in trying to replicate the cool efficiency and tarmac car park of a supermarket because people come to a farm shop to get the experience and excitement of being on a farm - if you don’t give them that, they won’t come back.
For examples of how successful farm shops have built up their own brands, check out the winners of this year’s FARMA Awards.
If you’re looking for high-quality signage and specialist farm shop displays to enhance your brand, click here for our product range.