Glass Packaging Innov-Talks
Branding! 5 Important Keys to Running a Brand and Experience Sharing
Running a brand is an important strategy to increase the visibility of a company, and it is also one of the directions that a business needs to think about and lay out in the long run. This article comes from the S3EP18 Episode of the Glass Bro Podcast, where Richard, CEO of Hwa Hsia Glass, and Winston, Deputy CEO of Hwa Hsia Glass, host a discussion about the brand management of Hwa Hsia Glass and its own brand Aqua Soul. Just read this article for the essential content, which will give you a lot of knowledge. If you want to hear Richard and Winston's humorous conversation and charming voice, please click here to listen to the Glass Brothers Podcast!
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In our life, we can see various brands everywhere. When it comes to brands, what are the first brands that usually come to your mind?
Think of the famous car brand Mercedes-Benz, fashion boutique Hermes, LV, Chanel. All these familiar brands have a long history. In addition, more new-generation brands are emerging, such as Tesla in the car industry.
The impression that a brand brings to people is not related to the length of time the brand has been developed. Whether it is a brand with a long history or an emerging brand, the key to becoming a known brand is the ability to spread the influence of the brand, which is the benefit of building a brand.
In the process of running a brand, we have summarized 5 important concepts, which we will share with you one by one.
The Importance of Brand Awareness
There are different ways for companies to develop their brands. In the case of Taiwan's industry, the initial stage was mainly OEM or OEM. As times evolved, some companies started to develop the OBM model, i.e. OEM for brands. Some OBM companies also gradually developed their Own Brand, i.e., they established their own brands.
In the past, it was thought that we must go through the process of OEM, ODM, and private label, but now there are many companies that have the concept of "operating as a brand" at the beginning of their establishment. The most famous example is TSMC in Protecting the Country. Although it is mainly an OEM, its foundry capabilities are so strong that the world recognizes it, and it has created a distinctive brand image.
Intel, TSMC's previous strongest competitor, had the concept of branding earlier than TSMC. Intel had brand awareness in the early days and often used different types of advertisements to create a strong presence. You can always observe Intel's branding in your life, for example, the sticker that says "Intel Inside" on the bottom left of the laptop you buy, and the end consumer can clearly know that Intel's products are included in the product when they use the laptop.
No matter whether OEM, ODM, or private label, they should strengthen their own brand awareness, deepen the audience's impression of the brand and increase the mindshare.
"Brand positioning" helps companies to develop their brands in a clear way. It also helps to determine which type of users the brand is suitable for, and what the type of product is.
Even for the same type of products, making a clear brand positioning can create differentiation. For example, M&M's Chocolate's brand positioning is aimed at "people who like chocolate at any time". M&M Chocolate is committed to the concept of "bringing happiness to everyone at all times", so that people who like to eat chocolate, such as office workers, can carry it with them and have it with them at all times. This positioning is very clear and powerful because people all over the world can have a happy mood regardless of race or age.
Another chocolate brand, Hershey's, is positioned differently from M&M's Chocolate; Hershey's is a favorite among milk lovers and brings a new flavor to chocolate by adding rich milk to chocolate.
The brand positioning also influences the product design and experience; M&M's chocolate is mainly designed in the shape of round chocolates in bags, which is convenient to take away and enjoy at any time and feel happy at any time.
Hershey's product experience is ritualistic, as you cut a chocolate brick and hold it in your mouth to feel the goodness of milk. Hershey's packaging is also beautiful, with flakes of chocolate wrapped in paper or thin aluminum foil. When you taste the chocolate before, the process of opening the wrapper can also be accompanied by a sense of healing.
The concept of "brand differentiation" is not the same as the "brand positioning" mentioned above.
Brand positioning must have a clear customer base, while differentiation refers to presenting characteristics that are different from competitors, such as products, advantages, and communication methods.
Using the example of the two chocolate brands mentioned earlier, consumers know that Hershey's is chocolate with milk, and M&M's Chocolate's claim is to make people happy. This is a very clear difference and the public knows it very well.
Telling a good story for the brand helps to establish differentiation. This is also a part that is often overlooked by Taiwan's manufacturing bosses, who often think that branding is not important and that it is only one of the marketing department's tasks, and that the concept stays at "good quality and good price, people will buy it". When consumers don't understand your story, they won't buy your products.
After defining your brand positioning and differentiation, the next step must be to make your brand influential and differentiate it more clearly.
By letting your audience know what your brand is doing, and by spreading it virally - the "Virus effect" - you can spread your brand's influence.
It's not enough to have a clear positioning and differentiation, you need to use different ways to quickly spread out and reach your target audience. Let people see your brand and products in a short time, and see the brand story you want to express.
For example, many companies do something to give back to the community and issue press releases with the goal of getting a reaction from people. When more people know that the company has done something meaningful for society, and people agree with this entrepreneurial spirit, after purchasing your product, it will also be possible to help you promote the product.
Take one of Hwa Hsia Glass' good clients as an example, which has built up its brand influence. This client is a shampoo brand, committed to becoming a green enterprise, a B-corporation enterprise, practicing RE 100.
It also cares about environmental issues such as climate warming, the melting of the Arctic glaciers...etc., and communicates the importance of environmental protection through different channels.
The design of the product also incorporates environmental protection thinking, and people think that using its shampoo can protect the earth. When consumers agree with the spirit of the enterprise and are willing to support the product, this is the influence of the brand.
If you want to expand the influence of your brand, you can use the power of "storytelling". However, the medium of communication has changed. In the early days, TV commercials could link from a story to a brand impression in 30-40 seconds. Nowadays, fewer people watch TV. Instead, they watch YouTube or watch short videos on their cell phones, which are also the medium of viral marketing.
When promoting a brand, there are many ways to build brand influence. Generally speaking, B2B companies often issue press releases and public service events to increase media exposure and thereby convey their brand influence.
The key for small e-commerce brands to increase traffic and attention is different from big brands. The key does not lie in good photos and low prices of products. The key to increasing attention for small e-commerce brands depends on the number of reviews, likes, 5-star reviews...etc. on the product pages, especially on E-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Shopee, which emphasize the trust brought by evaluation.
Take Amazon as an example, there is a practical and executable strategy for reference. Start by selecting influencers (KOLs) or micro KOLs who fit your target audience, then give them the products for free. At the same time, you should not ask them to give five-star reviews, but let them leave real reviews and tips after using the products. Through their influence and sharing power, more potential target audiences will get to know your brand.
In the current e-commerce era, many brands are already using the above-mentioned methods to accumulate positive feedback. When this method brings limited attention, there are other ways to gain attention, such as shooting short videos.
Let's take an example of a Taiwanese company selling furniture in Denmark. They shoot short 10-second videos and cooperate with KOLs to share furniture-related content or local Danish jokes, which are regularly posted on IG, Reels...and other social media platforms. After accumulating enough views, and then combined with advertising in Europe and the United States, more and more people will be interested in its channel and products. This also generates a marketing effect similar to Virus Effect.
Nowadays, it is difficult to gain hearts and minds by emphasizing the advantages and good aspects of marketing communication alone. You have to do everything, such as good quality, good price, accumulating good reviews and likes, and then recording short videos and working with different KOL and micro KOL to help spread these messages and videos on various social platforms to increase exposure.
Challenges and Thinking about the Brand Building Process
Companies that transition from OEM to branding also need to make their brand connected to the business entity during the brand-building process. If the goal is to create a brand right from the start, there is less need to emphasize this part.
If your brand is derived from OEM, you need to think clearly about the relationship between the brand and OEM.
For example, "Aqua Soul" is a new business unit developed by Hwa Hsia Glass, which is brand-oriented. When Aqua Soul was born, we made a very complete connection with Hwa Hsia Glass.
Slogan： A hundred years of craftsmanship to create a new brand, and bring people a beautiful and convenient life through home glass products.
The meaning behind this slogan indicates that the Aqua Soul brand is backed by 100 years of craftsmanship and has absolute quality control. We are able to design and manufacture new products from scratch and integrate them into our home life.
Let's take Aqua Soul as an example again to illustrate its brand positioning and differentiation.
We have accumulated over 100 years of craftsmanship and have made tens of thousands of customized glass packaging containers and eating utensils. We have honed and accumulated a wealth of experience.
There are also some well-known cases of cross-industry cooperation in recent years, which are shared with you below.
Case 1:Swarovski Heart-Diamond Shaped Limited Edition of Kinmen Kaoliang (Sorghum) Liquor
This is a collaboration with Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc. to produce and make heart-diamond-shaped glass wine bottles. The heart-diamond-shaped glass bottle is a "special shaped bottle", not the traditional round or square bottle.
The production process is very complicated. After countless discussions and modifications, as well as adjustments by the glass masters on-site, the overall yield was improved. This case also shows the main strength of Hwa Hsia Glass: mass production of specially shaped glass bottles and jars.
Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor features a heart-shaped glass bottle with multiple changing angles, making it a highly intricate design. This edition is produced by Hwa Hsia Glass.
Case 2:Glass Bottle for Camellia seed oil from chatzutang
The Camellia seed oil bottle of chatzutang is also an irregularly shaped glass container, emphasizing the multi-curved round shape. Hwa Hsia Glass is also capable of manufacturing this type of glass container for customers.
Chazitang's large-sized bottle of bitter tea oil features an asymmetrical round arc design. Hwa Hsia Glass, with its delicate century-old craftsmanship, perfectly captures the essence of the original design.
Case 3: Collaboration with AUO to embed micro glass NFC into glass bottles
In 2022, we cooperated with AUO to attach its miniature glass NFC tags (similar to chip-like E-tags) on glass bottles, which can actually be applied to expensive glass wine bottles or glass pharmaceutical bottles.
The use is similar to QR code usage. Consumers can scan the chip with their cell phones to know the year of the wine or the ingredients of the medicine. It also has an anti-counterfeiting function. This is the first innovative cooperation between traditional industry and high-tech industry.
AUO's innovative application concept of the "Micro Glass NFC Tag" was unveiled at Touch Taiwan 2022 and the US global display technology event-SID2022 exhibition. Hwa Hsia Glass provides customized technical solutions for inlaid glass. (Photo credit: provided by AUO)
Years of experience in cooperating with different industries to produce new products have been integrated into the brand strength of Aqua Soul today.
Identify the Brand's Strengths and Weaknesses, then Allocate Resources
There are many marketing issues to be executed in the process of managing a brand, but the company's resources and manpower are also limited. Thus, allocating resources will become important. Every brand has its strengths and weaknesses. We can think about resource allocation by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a brand.
For example, Hermes emphasizes that all bags are hand-stitched by French masters, featuring "pure craftsmanship and scarce quantities". This strength also comes with an obvious weakness: the product cannot be mass-produced. Women who want to buy a bag have to wait in line for a very long time; men who want to give a bag to their wives and girlfriends also need to make a lot of effort to get one. This situation will attract a group of very loyal customers, but there are also people who hate the brand because of the inconvenience of buying.
These mixed emotions of love and hate are the nutrients for the growth of the brand, and this is the path Hermes has chosen to take.
There is no definite right or wrong branding strategy, but rather, once you have determined the direction, you must stay on that path. When you can't do everything, you need to be able to accept weaknesses and turn them into brand characteristics.
Take another interesting advertising case to illustrate. How do McDonald's and Burger King show the strengths and weaknesses of their brands from their advertisements? McDonald's strong point is convenience and accessibility. Burger King's strong point is food quality and its hearty burgers. Previously, they have been in a commercial video, choking each other.
-----The plot of the ad is as follows.-----
A couple was traveling from the east coast of the United States to Las Vegas on the west coast. It's a very long way. Halfway through the drive, the couple was hungry. At this time, they saw the advertising billboard of Burger King, which indicated that they had to travel another 100 kilometers to arrive at Burger King. Not long after the couple passed the billboard, about 10 meters ahead, they saw McDonald's
They couldn't stand the hungry state and immediately rushed into the McDonald's. At the end of the video, the slogan of McDonald's is shown, meaning "McDonald's is by your side, ready to satisfy your needs anytime, anywhere".
Burger King also made a video of the same scene.
The same couple, seeing the long road ahead, felt hungry as well. When they see McDonald's, the husband thinks the burgers at McDonald's are very bad, so he discusses with his wife to endure a little more time going forward to Burger King to have a burger. The whole commercial video is also beautifully shot. When the hero eats a Burger King burger, his eyes instantly light up and he says to his wife, "Wow, I'm energized, honey! We can go straight to Las Vegas now!"
From the competitive interactions between these 2 simple commercial videos and brands, it can be observed that they are very aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They also make a clear distinction by using self-deprecating ways to make audiences accept these features and weaknesses.
People who like Burger King will stay loyal to Burger King; people who like the convenience of McDonald's will stay loyal to McDonald's.
It's fun to explain the strengths and weaknesses of your brand in a self-deprecating and humorous way.
The brand development process is better in the West than in the East. For manufacturing-based companies, the branding concept is usually the weaker part. However, nowadays, in the era of globalization, brand building is becoming more and more important for start-ups or SMEs in the manufacturing industry. It's the reason why we would like to share these 5 key points of brand management for your reference.
We hope that it will be helpful for those who are considering branding or transforming into branding and can find the entry point.
If you have any other ideas about this topic or any future topics you would like to learn more about, please feel free to leave your comments directly on the Glass Brothers Podcast or YouTube channel. We also hope to continue to bring you more interesting content and welcome your interesting feedback and suggestions.
About Glass Bro Podcast
The "Glass Brothers Podcast" is run by Richard and Winston, the CEO and Vice CEO of Hwa Hsia Glass, who hope to bring you fun and interesting knowledge through this channel. The topics shared in the past are diverse, including new business, entrepreneurship, branding, digital transformation, sustainable development...etc. In the future, we will also provide more diverse topics to share and discuss with you.
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