| Importance of Branding for Food and Drink | Jackdaw Design London
Jackdaw's Amanda Jackson talks to the Female Foodpreneur Collective about the importance of branding in the food and drink industry
Branding, Food, Drink, Jackdaw, London
778
singular,single,single-post,postid-778,single-format-standard,qode-core-1.0.3,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,brick child-child-ver-1.0.0,brick-ver-1.7, vertical_menu_with_scroll,smooth_scroll,grid_1300,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.11.1,vc_responsive
jackdaw_blog_interview-part1_850x530_1

The Importance of Branding for Food and Drink Products: An interview with Female Foodpreneur Collective. Part 1

Here our founder, Amanda Jackson, talks to Ashanti Bentil-Dhue of Female Foodpreneur Collective for her Women in Food Podcast about the benefits of working with a designer early on in the process, how to have a productive relationship with your design agency, and why your branding is more than a logo.

 

Ashanti:

So today we’re talking to Amanda Jackson, owner of Jackdaw Design, an independent graphic design consultancy in London specialising in food and drink. And, as you all know, I am super-passionate about the food and drink industry, and finding these amazing women who are building really interesting businesses in the space. So thank you Amanda for talking to me today.

 

Amanda:

Thank you for having me.

 

Ashanti:

I love the fact that you have a strong focus on branding and packaging and one of your recent projects in particular, which is award-winning, is of great interest to me. So just introduce yourself, your background, your experience and what Jackdaw is all about.

 

Amanda:

Jackdaw Design is an independent graphic design consultancy, in London. Our focus in on branding and packaging, and we have a lot of clients in the food and drink sector. One of my founding clients is Claudi & Fin who I still work with today, and I’ve worked on their packaging, their identity, their website, their communications – all sort of touchpoints for that brand.

 

jackdaw_blog_interview-part1_850x530_2

 

I’ve also just done the new visual identity for a UK tea sommelier called Nicola Greenwood, who is a really interesting character, and her brand is Greenwood Tea. So I recommend that you check that out as well.

 

jackdaw_blog_interview-part1_850x530_3

 

I spend 95% of my time working on Jackdaw Design. But then I do a couple of other things alongside this as well. Because like you, Ashanti, I’m passionate about helping other women. So something else that I do is be an industry mentor for women, for a group called Kerning The Gap. It’s quite a new scheme aimed at women in the design industry, helping them to progress their careers. There’s a really interesting fact – interesting but also quite shocking – is that 70% of graphic design students are women, but only 11% are creative directors. So I’m really trying to help women in graphic design get through to the next level.

 

And aside from this I have been a visiting tutor at the Arts University Bournemouth. And previously I worked there as a lecturer sharing my experiences and shaping the next generation of creatives. So on the design front I’m very involved.

 

Ashanti:

I love that breath of experience and also there’s two elements here: You’ve gone out, done it yourself as an independent consultancy. But you’ve also given back by mentoring and being a visiting tutor. And I love that because then you’re keeping in touch with the academic side, and new entrants into the industry as well as working, and leading in this sector.

 

Amanda:

Absolutely, I think it’s so important to give back.

 

Ashanti:

So tell us then – some people may struggle to understand specifically what a graphic design consultancy does – you mentioned branding and packaging. So how exactly do you help brands?

 

Amanda:

Okay, that’s a really good question. There are lots of different consultancies out there and some of them are quite specialist. What we do at Jackdaw Design is we help bring brands to life. And we work with brand owners and managers to create excitement and joy for consumers in the food and drink sectors particularly.

 

There’s another crazy fact that I’m going to drop in here. 16,000 new products are launched in food and drink alone, every year in the UK. So if you really think about that, that’s really intense competition. It puts even more emphasis on getting the design right. And the way that we help at Jackdaw Design is in two ways: one is brand creation and this is usually where we work with entrepreneurs or start-ups who don’t necessarily have a brand but they’ve got an idea for a brand. So I would help them with the initial strategic workshops and we’ll look at the competitors and we’ll look at positioning. And then the next stage would be concept – how do you bring that to life visually? Then we go through from concept to tweaking and refining the design, to then the actual implementation. And I would really help and guide an entrepreneur on that journey, I’ve done it thousands of times. So that’s one way I can help them.

 

And then the other way is brand development. So you may already have a brand that’s established, and it could be one year old, two years old, it could be ten years old. I would help you with your brand to make it work harder. So for instance, if you’ve got a brand and you feel like its lost its spark, I could help you refresh that brand. Or if you’re looking to move into new territories – if you’re a food and drink brand and you want to get into different categories – I could help look at your brand and how you target that category.

 

Ashanti:

I can see some clear benefits particularly for the first segment of businesses that you referred to. So a start-up or entrepreneur may not already have it in place, and at that stage you’re helping them figure out their identity and a strategic path forward. What’s the benefit doing it at that stage and thinking about branding and packaging?

 

Amanda:

I meet so many people who have jumped straight into the design and often they end up having to redo it, and kind of pay twice. And I do understand with start-ups that money is tight, and a lot of people try and do it themselves. I think that if you have the right help at the beginning – the type of design I do is very strategic – so every mark, if we’re talking about packaging, every colour, font, or image that’s chosen for your pack is all targeted.

 

With Claudi & Fin, for example, the target audience is children. So it’s really important we are trying to appeal to children but also to mum because mum is the purse keeper! The positioning is healthy and wholesome so the feel of it has to feel natural. So it’s not a case of just creating a style; it’s really targeted design and communication. So that’s the value of having a designer in the early stages. Helping you work out who it is you are targeting, how you can use design and visual language better than your competitors, and really define who you are and what you do. And I think if you can do that in the early days, sooner rather than later, you’re in a much stronger position.

 

jackdaw_blog_interview-part1_850x530_5

 

Ashanti:

You went on to talk about brand development for brands who want to work harder, or want to revive an existing brand. But you’re very right at the beginning particularly when you’ve got a great product such as Claudi & Fin, and you can see where they’ve taken their product, it’s obviously been beneficial and of value to have had the right design as early on as possible.

 

Amanda:

I mentioned Nicola Greenwood earlier with her tea brand. The strategic workshop was something that we did together and, in her own words, she said to me: “you’ve changed my business…completely”. The approach she thought she was going to take and then the outcome of that very first workshop, she realised that she had to go in a completely different direction otherwise she wasn’t going to break through and be where she wanted to be. So I always recommend at Jackdaw Design to go through that initial strategic workshop at the beginning. Design, I think, is an investment in your business. And it’s a hard one for people to get their head around sometimes.

 

jackdaw_blog_interview-part1_850x530_6

 

Ashanti:

Yes, because I think also it can be mixed with marketing. Because sometimes you can go to a marketing agency and they will have a ‘design package’ that they also offer. And so it depends on the route/angle at which you come at it. I know when I was forming my company I started with marketing and then I did design in the background. But actually, now I think, being a year on, I wouldn’t do it that way again!

 

Amanda:

That’s interesting. I think a lot of people find that as well, they sort of come unstuck a little bit.

 

Ashanti:

The other thing I should probably say is one thing I learnt after, was that your branding is not your logo, but that’s a whole other conversation (laughs).

 

Amanda:

Absolutely. I think for a lot of people, when you say the word ‘brand’ you think it’s your logo, and just to elaborate on this, your logo is part of your brand. But your brand is every touchpoint, and your brand is a whole bigger identity. So when we talk about brand, we’re talking about the logo, the colours, the typefaces, the imagery – do you use illustration or photography? That is your branding. And then the touchpoints of your brand might be your website, even your office. Or if we’re talking bricks and mortar, it could be your restaurant, it could be your shop. And it’s all your communications as well – do you send out publications – that’s all branding and all part of your brand.

 

Ashanti:

It’s a very interesting area because, for a lot of new starters, you’ll hear them really obsess and focus on the logo and say I need to get my branding done. When in actual fact, it encompasses all these other things. I’ve talked to a lot of other newbies in the entrepreneur space and we’ve all kind of commiserated that we spent too much money on the logo for starters, again under the guise that that was branding when in actual fact it should have encapsulated a whole host of other things Although, I do love my logo now, and we get a lot of compliments on the logo. But having said that, the branding is something that I built out and I kind of then realised I was the brand!

 

Amanda:

You’re absolutely right, you are the brand. That’s the conversation that I had with my client Nicola Greenwood about her tea. She actually wasn’t called Greenwood Tea before. She had an existing identity which she felt wasn’t working for her, and it came to light from the strategic workshop that she was the brand and the brand was her, and we came up with a visual language for her brand. So what you are saying, Ashanti, is absolutely right in your case, and your branding is the tone of voice of your brand and how you talk about yourself.

 

Ashanti:

I’m just fascinated by it because sometimes when you start on a journey, unless you start in a good place, with a good agency like yourself, it’s stuff that you come to realise as time goes on. And it’s not all lost, but it’s very interesting this concept of branding and what it really is. And again linking it back to how you can save some money as well, instead of kind of constantly going back to revise things.

 

Amanda:

Yes. I feel like, as a designer, and I’m sure I’m not the first designer that’s said this, that there’s a kind of attitude amongst people in general that ‘I can do my own design, I can do my own photography’. You know, everyone nowadays is snapping on their iPhone and why would you use/pay for a real photographer? But then in other areas, a lot of entrepreneurs wouldn’t think twice about hiring an accountant – that’s a no-brainer, they would do that, rather than try and do their own business accounts themselves. But it’s funny when you come to design, a lot of people take it on – ‘I’m a designer, I can do that, that’s not too hard, how hard can it be to make a label for my condiments jar?’ But like you said before, branding is much bigger than a lot of people think and they don’t kind of realise it ‘til later when they go…ah ok!

 

Ashanti:

If I came to you at the start and we had our discussions and I told you where I want to take the business, then my branding would have been different. It would have been totally different to what it began as, and as you say, it should be a part of your strategy.

 

Amanda:

I think it would be different but you would be very involved in the process. So all the conversations would be driven by you as well, and there are techniques that we use to enable that process to happen. So it’s not a case that, if we were working together Ashanti, that I would tell you how your business should be. It kind of doesn’t work like that. I would take you through a process and direction, and we would work out together what feels right for you. There would be quite a lot of analysis and a lot of research, before we even start making marks on a page.

 

Ashanti:

That’s really interesting and good for people who are at the start or if you recognise that your brand could do with some refreshing. It’s a great perspective to take really.

 

Amanda:

I’d just like to add that it’s really hard to judge design. So say if you were working with a designer (not me someone else), and they come back with three different ways that your brand could be, how do you then know which one is right? And that’s another challenge. How can you tell? Again that’s something I can help with and as part of the process we have criteria to help judge what feels right at every stage, before we progress to the next level. So not only do you come out with a design that you’re happy with, it’s a design that you know that is effective, that will work. So that’s the benefit of investing in and using a design agency.

 

Ashanti:

I see that you look at packaging design, you look at point-of-sale and retail graphics, publications. It’s a really holistic approach, isn’t it?

 

Amanda:

Definitely. As I said before, we would work on all the touchpoints of your brand so you know, if you are in retail, as well as your identity and your pack, do you need point-of-sale material? I’ve worked on bigger projects where I’ve done retail graphics, we call it an ‘A-site’. You might have a space in a shop or it could be an exhibition, and you need graphics, or if you are at a show. We can help with all of that. And even down to once your brand is established, helping create a Style Guide as well so that you’ve then got this whole set of rules for any designer to come and pick it up. And that becomes your bible, so you really understand your brand. It’s good because hopefully if you have employees in your business, everyone is on the same page.

 

jackdaw_blog_interview-part1_850x530_7

 

Part 2. What Start-ups Should Look for When Choosing a Design Agency