5 important points when positioning a foodservice brand in your local market

  • 17 August, 2022
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The food service industry is recognized internationally, it has taken years to get to the point where we are. We recognize professionals, consultants, vendors, and strategists, but in a very special and important way, we recognize the brands that make food service what it is.

Inventors, product designers, producers, manufacturers, etc. They bring innovation to the kitchen and seek to improve processes, reduce costs, implement technologies, maintain consistency, and provide quality for operators, and they in turn give it to their customers.

Manufacturers have something very clear: they want to concentrate on researching, innovating, and developing their technologies.

Of course, these brands are dedicated to positioning themselves in their local markets where they are already established, they do it through distributors or they can provide direct attention. It is important to know that providing direct attention entails opening other departments in the company, greater investment, and – very importantly – redirecting resources that could be focused on improving technology, manufacturing times, and product innovation.

That is where distributors come into the game. Distributors become brand ambassadors, representatives who are in charge of developing the market.

Now, what are some practical tips to take into account when distributing a brand?

5 Important points to position a brand

  1. Get to know your brand in depth

Each brand has a different origin, a different story, and a different objective within the food service. For example, let’s look at Louis Tellier, a French manufacturer of kitchen utensils and light equipment with over 130 years of existence and experience. Great chefs like Joel Robuchon have used their products and in France, they are positioned as the benchmark for stainless steel utensils and quality.

These types of details make all the difference when presenting a product, or even closing a sale.

There will be details that are not relevant to certain buyers, but the use of stories and the storytelling capacity of a seller will make a difference.

It is having all the tools and knowing which one to use at the right time.

Ask yourself discovery questions or even run sales clinics focused on brand awareness: Where did this brand originate? How did you become so well-known in your local market? What are some success stories that might appeal to buyers? How can we make use of information about the brand in our favor?

Important: we have divided knowing the brand from its technical elements (regardless of the brand) because we consider that they are qualitative elements that appeal to people.

2. Know your competition

You may be distributing a brand or equipment that you have not manufactured, but no matter how convincing a product may seem to be, there will always be competition that needs to be profiled to know how to position yourself.

Take Metro Industries, for example, experts in shelving, but beyond shelving, they are experts in putting space to work.

It is easily possible to find many lower price and quality shelf options in each one’s local markets, so it becomes necessary to identify where the competition is aiming and their market objective.

Sometimes the competition itself may even be another foreign brand, so it is necessary to study the scope and capabilities of these local brands or manufacturers to truly establish a realistic market share. This will help you work with realistic goals in mind.

Let’s go back to the example of Metro, they have led the space optimization category in food service, creating unique configurations and thus allowing operators to obtain customization in what they are looking for.

By getting to know the competition we will truly know the reach they have and the options they can provide to operators and likewise – emphasis – the options they cannot provide to operators.

Metro, for example, in addition to providing personalized configurations – which few do – has also innovated in the category of active and passive maintenance, thus becoming a brand that seeks to stand out by seeking innovation and differentiation.

3. Identify relevant technical points

In the beginning, we mentioned how important it is to know the history of a brand, and all the background that it entails, however, we cannot emphasize enough how it is just as important (in some cases more relevant) to know the technical details of the products that it is positioning in your market.

The story may appeal to some passionate people, but the technical details impress the general public.

When a product is of quality, it shows and when noticing the quality, people recognize a brand. Quality can be represented in many ways: by doing something exceptional, longer duration concerning investment, better times, etc.

A deep understanding of a product’s capabilities makes the difference between a good salesperson and an exceptional one. Knowing how to demonstrate the product and present favorable technical details can mean making a sale.

Let’s take the example of the Dynamic Mixer. From a qualitative point of view, they were the ones who invented the immersion blender and the salad spinner, which denotes a strong foundation in the food service industry.

But it is also important to know the technical details that separate them from the rest.

The institutional food processor can also become a vegetable cutter and is complemented by an LED control panel that gives options: pulse, speed control, and reverse. It does not simply process, but it becomes an ally for large operations with equipment that takes up little space.

We can also take Alto-Shaam as an example with its Vector Oven, which is a marvel of food service technology with the ability to cook four different products.

The capacity and versatility that are obtained with a Vector Oven can hardly be compared and only represents how important are the technical details of the products that are positioned.

4. Determine how a brand or product you distribute will enter your local market

If something is clear about Latin America, it is that we have a great diversity of cultures, recipes, types of markets, problems, and festivities, but that ultimately defines us and lay the foundations of who we are.

Important: the strategy of one market may not work in yours.

Our idiosyncrasy gives us a sense of belonging and the place where we grow up, the experiences we share and so on will lead us to accept certain things and reject others. Why is all this important? Because when you sell you are selling to people, not robots.

We mentioned how important it is to know the local market and this is when we come to the “How” which can be defined as: “Knowing my local market and the audience I am targeting, how can I successfully introduce this product or brand?”

Alto-Shaam is of American origin; Midea is of Chinese origin and Louis Tellier is of French origin. Ovens are necessary for food service, as are microwaves and utensils, but how these will appeal to people is not the same as they will for their markets of origin.

This is where we must ask ourselves control questions or even bring them up for discussion with the marketing team: What products can be successful for this brand? What recipes can be successful with this product? Should we do marketing campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, radio, or television? What appeals most to my audience?

All of the above must be taken into account, but not leave aside all the branding previously created by the brand. Some appeal to the price market, others to innovation and technology. It may sound complex, but in practice, it is about adapting or tropicalizing a brand to the Latin market, specifically the country to which it seeks to distribute.

The process can be much deeper, but this time we will only address the importance of this point at the time of distribution.

5. Define your Buyer Personas

A Buyer Persona can be defined as the representation of the target audience that we are targeting through an in-depth analysis of the qualitative variables (tastes, studies, hobbies, etc.) and features that distinguish them.

Why is a Buyer Persona important? Not only does it help to create the appropriate market strategies, but it also allows us to optimize the marketing campaigns that are developed, especially on social networks.

Thanks to the optimization and use of “Big Data” it is possible to be very specific when creating campaigns on social networks. We can determine the age of people we want to reach, their hobbies, studies, or even their geographical area.

Buyer Personas, despite being a fictitious exercise, are not defined by “dreams and desires”, quite the contrary, it is necessary to be realistic about the audience to which we aim.

If we look for a market with low and competitive prices, the audience becomes very large; but everything changes when we target an innovation market in which our market share decreases considerably.

This may sound very technical for market specialists, but both the marketing and sales teams and even the management of a distribution company must be aware of their ability to reach to make consistent decisions when positioning a brand or product.

Just imagine that it would mean investing thousands of dollars to distribute specialized ovens, but when you review the sales reports you realize that things are wrong. After a little research, he realizes that his potential clients are looking for a price market for his little specialized dishes. Of course, this would be a terrible scenario.

Defining Buyer Persona or target audiences helps us avoid bad decisions that can ultimately present considerable losses for a company.

In conclusion

Positioning a brand is not easy, it requires planning, clarity, and effort. These 5 points may not fully define all the important aspects to take into account, but they are some that we should not forget.

Understanding the reach capacity that can be had in the market and making the most of it implies good profitability and return on investment.

For you, what other points are equally important when positioning a brand in a local market? Write it in the comments.