So, your handmade business is finally off the ground, and now you’re ready to start expanding your product lines. Though your original product may have been the core of your business, no successful artisan is content making just one thing.
When planning how to market and present your growing handmade offerings, it’s imperative to maintain a strong brand identity. Below are some simple tips to keep your brand on track while you add new products to your roster.
1. Keep on message
When branching out into new handmade products, you’re probably thinking about creating something radically different to cater to a new audience in an effort to expand your reach. But changing your message or style too much can confuse the market and deter your already loyal customer base. Instead, think about building on what you already have and staying consistent in your brand message and style. Think of brand identity as the thread that ties everything you offer together. Your brand identity should shine through even in your new products.
To do this, think about what your current offerings stand for, and what themes unify them. Is it the exceptional care and quality you take when creating them? Bold colors and design? Eco-friendly materials? Identify your key brand messages and keep these consistent across anything new that you make. For example, if your product is handmade organic beeswax candles, and you’d like to add other beeswax products to the list, such as lip balms or hand creams, perhaps the strongest thread is organic beeswax. The message of this quality ingredient should be front and center of all your branding and communications across products. Custom stickers and labels are an easy way to let your audience know what your products are all about.
This kind of brand consistency builds trust with your consumers, and this is crucial in growing a brand and a business. Consumers today buy from brands they trust. When consumers know what your brand and products are about, and they learn to trust in this consistency even as you introduce new products to your line.
2. Find a differentiator
Artisan goods are enjoying a surge in popularity, both with consumers and with producers. Chances are that the product you’ve chosen to pour your heart and soul into creating will be launched in a saturated market. In order to stand out, identify a differentiator, something that is different about the new product you are introducing, that helps your brand and product stand out from the competition. When choosing this differentiator, it’s important to take note of what your customer base finds important or valuable when making purchases of the kind of product you’re selling. For example, if your consumer base is mostly local, the differentiator could be using beeswax from a local supplier. Other differentiators for handmade products could be employing a specific production process that is unique, such as using the same techniques to create products that were used a century ago, or collaborating with artists for creative and eye-catching packaging, or using specific and unusual scents. Whatever it is, find out what is unique about your products and highlight it with each new product you add under the umbrella of your brand.
3. Don’t forget about packaging
Go beyond the product itself and think about marketing and packaging, too. The unboxing experience is becoming nearly as important as the product itself. Making slight tweaks to packaging can help differentiate between products but be careful of changing too much. Perhaps your beeswax product packages are differentiated by shape, but also by the color of the packaging. Everything else should remain constant, including the fonts used, placement of copy on the packaging and packaging material, in order to maintain a sense of order and consistency. As your product line expands, you’ll be filled with new ideas and exciting inspiration. But by maintaining focus on your brand, staying on message, highlighting differentiators and choosing the right packaging, you’ll make the most of your latest product offerings without sacrificing the brand you’ve so carefully created.