How to find out if your better-for-you brand fits in AND stands out.

I was cleaning out my inbox the other day and came across an article in a recent edition of Confectionery News that absolutely stopped me DEAD in my tracks. Staring at the landing image, with my mouth hanging open, I was flooded head-to-toe with a sense of WIDI, also known as “Wish I’d Designed It.” This is the creative professional’s version of the much-discussed FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. The article in question featured the new direct-to-consumer, better-for-you candy brand Behave, and its fabulous new packaging design. The devilishly clever brand mark, the clear communication hierarchy, the delicious color choices…all made me green with envy.

Now, you may ask, why am I talking about my design crush on some other agency’s work? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, we at Levitskie Creative are big believers in giving credit where credit is due and aren’t afraid to send shout-outs to companies whose work we love. Second, and most important, we are unabashed, completely out-of-the-closet, not-afraid-to-admit it, COMPETITION STALKERS.

And we think everyone in the better-for-you food industry should be, too.

For a new product or brand refresh project, an important part of our brand discovery phase is the “Know Your Rivals” process, our online and instore competitive marketplace audit. This is where we uncover important category visual cues, pinpoint mentor brands, and set up guard rails against infringing on anyone else’s protected trademarks. What colors are most prominent on shelf and online? What type of typography? Is there a lot of illustration or do most competitors include product photography? The secret sauce is finding the OPPOSITE of what everyone else is doing, but still making it feel like your product belongs there and is the better choice – this is an important building block of crafting the visual portion of an authentic brand story. And back to the subject of trade dress infringement. We’ve worked with too many brands who in the past have unwittingly stumbled across a “big food” trademark and found themselves on the receiving end of a cease and desist letter. The lucky ones find out BEFORE they’ve launched their products in the marketplace, but even then, it costs time and money to go back and make the changes. And sometimes those changes make the design so unwieldy, you find yourself starting over from square one.

Another important thing to realize is your competitors are stalking you, too. Make sure that all of the claims you are using on your packaging are accurate, follow the FDA guidelines and are legal to use, because the competition is only too happy to let you know (also in a legally threatening manner), if they’re not.

Back to what is so great about Behave. The branding and design are a perfect example of packaging optimized for the online marketplace. One quick glance at the logo tells you the whole brand story in a nanosecond – here is a product that allows you to indulge the sugar-loving, gummy-candy-addicted-kid inside you, without all the guilt. Who says you have to follow the rules? Also, the clear key nutrition call-outs and clean, large fonts, juxtaposed against the repeated “YUMMY” pattern on the side panel lets you know in an instant this is a product you can enjoy without a second thought.

What I love about the better-for-you food community is everyone is dedicated to improving the health of people and the planet and are rooting for everyone else’s success because a rising tide lifts all boats. The more people converted to better-for-you products, the more the demand increases, and the more room is made for new brands to enter the marketplace. If you’re thinking of launching a new better-for-you product and need help identifying and navigating your competition, please schedule a free, 30-minute introductory call. With Levitskie Creative at your side, you’ll never have to stalk alone.