Branding and Introduction to Marketing
Changing our sales channel was a major change as I mentioned in my previous article. There have always been big players in the food industry. In our case, in the ice cream market, the dominance of a brand was obvious. Since we were a small investment, we wouldn’t compete with them. Because if we start to produce packaged materials, that means we should have a great brand identity, a substantial amount of marketing budget, refrigerators and ability to survive against the huge brands in marketing. For instance we need to put our refrigerators next to our competitors’. Also because our raw materials are expensive as we use natural and high quality ones, our market prices would be higher in the market. So we have a brand that people don’t even heard of, a product that the target market is not familiar and our prices are higher for the market.
At that time we somehow took this negative aspects as an advantage. If you don’t have another chance, you try your best with the current situation. So we believed we can still do it. We hired an advisor who is experienced in the ice cream industry who worked in a leading role in one of the best brands in Turkey. Even he warned us about our mistake but the decision was being made and we were going to continue like that. So I was responsible for mostly the marketing and sales at our company. We had enough money for the operations, production, distribution, monthly payments, and refrigerators but not for Marketing.
We needed a brand name. My 2 partners and me started to write down thousands of brand names and tried to create a story around them. It took us two months to decide what can we name our brand. We wanted our brand name to explain itself because of the marketing budget we have. Our love in family was crucial for us and we believed a word that is related to love would be suitable. Every week in the family gatherings all of the family members were suggesting some brand names. We have to be satisfied with the brand name just the three of us. We were giving a name to our newly born child. So after a long period of time we called it ‘‘Crush’’. We chose this name because we believed the love at first sight between the fruit and chocolate. We tried to create a story around it and we were finally satisfied with our brand name. We continued with love at first sight and first bite. We were generating ideas how we are going to tell people about our brand. We wanted our brand to be perceived as positive, loveable, clear, natural, fun in the minds’ of our consumers. We applied for the trademark and started to wait if there would be any objections to it. Luckily we didn’t face this problem and we had our brand name Crush.
Because of the monetary issues, I needed to do kind of a zero-budget marketing at first. I know how to do the job but when it is your own job and when you are responsible for the consequences of every action, I was not feeling that comfortable. Anyway I started of course with social media. I had Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts for our brand Crush. Also I started to deal with finding a designer to design our logo, corporate identity,our website and some other marketing materials. But when we are doing these, we couldn’t deal with creative agencies because of our budget. Instead of a creative agency, we found a person who works as a freelance designer. He immediately designed our logo but we were not satisfied with his work that after a few trials. Later on, our advisor found an experienced woman who used to work for many successful brands. At that time she was working as a freelance marketer who had her own designers and team. So her and me were head to head to take marketing decisions. So we finally had our logo design along with our company name and logo. We called our company name as Kuzin Foods, as we are cousins with my partners and the word ‘’Kuzen’’ is the Turkish word for cousin and Cuisine means kitchen. So after the logo design, we designed just the package, brochures, stickers, refrigerator covers. These were really difficult for me to take decisions; luckily I had an experienced person next to me. We could spend money to these things but the amounts of these materials were less especially when we compare it to our competitors’ marketing materials.
This was the scenario about our marketing at first but we were always thinking that our product is unique and we didn’t have a competitor who does exactly the same thing with us. So we had the idea that we should make our customers taste our unique products. We wanted to differ ourselves from our competitors that is why tasting was key for us. Along with these, we can use our marketing materials on point. We arranged some activities to make our consumers taste our products. We participated the musical ‘’Sesame Street’’ to meet our customers. Our target market included the kids and the parents’ of these kids. We believed in the unhealthy environment of ice creams we should stress on the healthiness of our products. As our motto, we wrote down ‘’It is not an Ice Cream, it is just fruit!!” and ‘’Real Fruit, Real Chocolate’’. We wanted to make the parents purchase our products to their kids because of the benefits of the products. It is an issue for a parent to make their kids eat fruit. That is why we offered them our chocolate covered fruits and they were really interested in it. We prepared ourselves for the musical and distributed some small pieces of our products and made them taste. After that we were selling the original bigger products to these customers. We sold 900 products at the event. Some celebrities purchased our products to give their children and they were shocked how beautiful was idea. This would cause a media interaction and we felt really excited. Even a lady come to us and ordered 150 units to her home because she was going to have an event. I was really happy and excited about our business. Actually it was the first time I felt we are doing the right thing. I personally went to the lady’s home and sold our products and got our money. It was so exciting and I handed some brochures to the guests and neighbours of the lady. The event made us really proud ourselves. Until then it was one of the best feelings that I had in my life. We produced a product, people ate it and they loved it! It was an incredible feeling. We had to make more people to taste and consume our products! Also I personally dealt with the organisation of the event, the marketing materials, the crew who was going to work at the event, the problems that we faced during the event. That is why when there was a success, I was really proud of myself and looking bright to the future our beloved brand. As I mentioned, the event raised our motivation immediately and at that time we were feeling ready to sell our products to the market. The sales were another adventure for me, which I talk about more on the further writing.