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Branding

The World’s Cheesiest Brands: 3 Powerful Branding Principles That’ll Get Your Dream Customers to Choose You Over Everyone Else


I was recently at the Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company, and hen I saw all of those different types of cheese stacked on top of one another, it got me thinking about how to stand out in a crowded marketplace…

How to be good “cheesy” and not bad “cheesy” 🙂

If you want to make sure your product or service looks good and gets attention in even the most crowded marketplace for all the right reasons, you need to understand and apply 3 powerful branding principles…

You need to know how to sell your cheese over every other kind in the store!

Branding Principle #1: Stand Out

This means getting noticed for all the right reasons.

For example: If you’re in e-commerce and you’re selling a physical product, you work with visual branding signals such as the colors, fonts and graphics on the packaging.

It’s pretty much the same online except you work with the colors, fonts and graphics on your website and other branding assets. 

Branding Principle #2: Say What It Is 

If you’re in a cheese shop, you can immediately tell the type of cheese just by looking at the label on the packaging — is it blue cheese, provolone or something else?

With online products and services, you want to make sure your audience knows exactly what you’re selling. You need to make it clear on your website, blog posts, social media posts and everywhere else. 

Branding Principle #3: Why It Matters

When you’re selling something like cheese, you don’t really need to convey the “why” all that much because cheese is cheese. It’s a commodity. 

Customers know what it is, they know it tastes good, and they’ll buy it if they want it.

But when you’re selling value-based products and services, you need to think about why it matters to your audience.

How will your product or service make a difference? How will it change their life or their business? How will it change their world?

First There’s GOOD Cheesy…

Now let’s look at some of the branding decisions you need to make and how that plays into whether your audience will pull out their credit card and click that buy button.

Let’s imagine you’re walking down the cheese aisle at your local grocery store. What’s going to get you to pick one type of cheese over another?

Here at the Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company, there are literally thousands of different types of cheeses on display.

But only some of them got my attention because of their distinct visual branding signals

Here’s a mascarpone cheese with a gold foil sticker on the packaging and words like “delicious”, “creamy” and “spreadable” in fancy font. The packaging was also a lot more colorful than many of the other cheeses nearby.

Overall, the branding on that mascarpone was about quality and tradition.

It doesn’t come across as “everyday” cheese like provolone or cheddar. So, for somebody with exotic taste who wants cheese that goes beyond the ordinary… the mascarpone stands out.

I also looked at 2 different types of feta. There’s a Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company feta with plain vanilla packaging and what I got from that was that it wasn’t really out to get noticed.

And there’s this other brand of feta — Café Olympia — which is labelled as “cheese crumbles” and this instantly set it apart from boring old blocks of cheese.

 Olympia is also available in a range of flavors. The one I picked up was cucumber lemon 🙂 

The branding is focused on the essence of Greece with a Greek font and ocean-blue colors on the packaging.

So, if you just want to get to the point and get regular cheese from Wisconsin, you’ll go for the Dairy State Company feta and if you want that feeling of being in Greece or feeling like you’re cultured, sophisticated and globally aware, you’ll probably pick up Café Olympia.

There isn’t much difference in pricing between those 2 kinds of feta cheese but there was clearly a big difference in cultural authenticity.

… Then There’s BAD Cheesy

Time to talk about Paneer.

It’s Indian cheese that’s used a lot in Indian cooking and the Paneer here at the Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company doesn’t seem to know what it’s going for!

It looks like a Wisconsin brand but then there’s a picture of a cow front and center. I think the packaging is trying to evoke the essence of India with the font choice and the cow but it’s actually a huge, mismatched mixture of styles.

I picked it up and I was like, “Is this Indian cheese or is this Wisconsin cheese?”

If I were in charge of the branding, I’d go for all Indian packaging and not just with the font.

I’d include Indian designs and colors on the front and I would NOT put a regular old cow here that looks like it’s a Wisconsin dairy cow but have a cow that’s wearing some sort of Indian decoration.

Point to note here…

When it comes to branding, you can’t have one foot in and one foot out. You’ve got to go ALL in. You’ve got to claim your brand identity otherwise you’ll end up being bad cheesy like this unfortunate Paneer 🙂

Great Branding Wins BUT…

Some of the most interesting branding I see here at the Wisconsin Dairy State Company is for novelty cheese.

Novelty products and novelty branding is usually focused on gift-giving and special occasions. There are cheeses branded around the Wisconsin Badgers sports team and the state of Wisconsin in general plus a whole bunch of other categories.

The branding looks cheap, cheerful and kind of fun and it’ll probably get a positive response when you give it to someone as a gift but it’s not necessarily something people would go for every day.

So, novelty branding could be good cheesy but it could also be bad cheesy because it’s not something people come back to over and over again.

And here’s the thing… 

As an entrepreneur, you want to build a brand that stands the test of time. You don’t want to be a one-trick pony. You don’t want to be a one-hit-wonder.

You want to be the type of brand that people come back to over and over and over again.

As the market gets more sophisticated and competition gets tougher and tougher, you’ve got to step up your visual branding game and your branding game in general… because there’s a lot of options next to you on the virtual shelf and out in the real world!

Something else to keep in mind…

The best branding wins but ONLY if you back it up with the best product and the best customer experience 🙂

Your branding can definitely help you get picked but great branding simply isn’t enough to sell your product again and again because once people consume what you have to offer — if it’s no good — they’re not coming back!

And one of the best ways to attract and keep your ideal audience’s attention is through a powerful personal brand… so check out these 13 awesome examples to inspire your own.

Now, over to you…

What are some of your favorite products and brands both online and offline? What motivates you to pick that specific brand as your favorite over the others in the same category?

Share in the comments… I read and personally reply to each one!

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Shockadelic Avatar
    Shockadelic

    Sardinia is part of Italy, not Greece.

    And I’d ditch cows altogether for the “Indian” brand, as cows are holy to Hindus.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks so much for your comment and insight!

  2. Xaver Avatar
    Xaver

    Well yeah… 😀 If you have a more sophisticated taste…

    you might even know that Sardinia (however spelled correctly in american) is *way* out of Greece. And we might even get into how “Mascarpone is *not* just Cheddar with a different colour – font – packaging. And neither is Pecorino”. And all the differnces between different kinds of feta…
    Actually, people making their buying decision on things like that, all too often come up with buyers remorse. And learn a lesson.

    Still: I love these little ideas, that basically show you have a good idea of marketing! And for the branding pieace: it’s so refreshing to *not* hear one more time about Apple! So how about wine then? Where the label (and even just price alone) can really make all the differnce. Really with the *same* content o.O

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, and for your comment! 🙂

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