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The Foundation of a Great Brand

May 16, 2011

I’m currently entrenched in brand development and thinking a lot about what can make a brand stand out and properly convey a company’s reputation.

As an effort to dive into this process, I’ve made it personal. I’m thinking about the brands I like and why I like them. One that stands out to me most is Sugar In The Raw. I love this sugar. I’m convinced it tastes different. I avoid coffee shops or convenient stores that don’t have it. I keep it at home and store the single serving packets at my desk and in the car. In fact, I recently visited a friend in Chicago and bought a box for her house. This makes me sound like a sugar addict, but really, I only use one to two teaspoons a day. I just HAVE to have this sugar.

So, what are the characteristics that make me so loyal to this brand?

Distinguishable Identity – Most of us think visually and we identify better with a brand when it has a logo that stands out from competitors. A logo should represent what a company does and grab someone’s attention. The “Sugar In The Raw” logo makes me think of pure, natural ingredients straight from Hawaii.
It Stands for Something – A brand isn’t going to mesh with everyone. It’s important to know your audience and what they want. I want syrupy sweet taste and a product that is less processed. Will everyone be willing to pay double for raw sugar? No, but I will and I buy only one brand.
It Meets My Expectations – I know I’m getting a pure quality product. I could buy the bleached processed sugar, but I don’t because I want coffee to be my special treat every morning and I know Sugar In The Raw will make that happen.

While these characteristics make up a good brand, it’s important to make sure the brand is consistent at every point of contact. A brand isn’t effective if partially implemented and it should communicate the same message in every medium – particularly if it is a product that is much more complex than my sugar and needs clear distinction from competitors.

When I see the brown packaging with the font that looks like a stamp on a burlap sack of raw ingredients, I instantly know what I’m getting. The same should happen when your customer sees your brand.


Some interesting commentary on brand building can be found at and

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