Get Cooking with Ingredient Branding (Not Actually About Cuisine)

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There are two laptops on sale. They’re almost identical, save one white and blue sticker on the model that costs just a few dollars more. That sticker says “Intel Inside.” For many consumers, that simple promise is worth splashing a little extra cash. And that’s ingredient branding.

Even if you don’t sell electronics, branded ingredients like these are useful ways to add value to products and services in nearly every industry.

What Is Ingredient Branding?

Ingredient branding is a marketing strategy that seeks to add value to a finished product by including a reputable ingredient, component or process. “Intel Inside” is an example of a branded ingredient (the Intel chip) lending its reputation to the product as a whole.

Some companies are solely invested in creating these branded components and licensing their use to one or dozens of manufacturers within the same industry.

MIPS, a sports safety research company, licenses its bicycle helmet technology to several cycling companies, including industry giants like Specialized, Trek and Giro. Each company pays a fee to add MIPS to its products on mid-to-high-end helmets. They also charge more for MIPS helmets, usually about $50-75 more than non-MIPS models.

Related: What Is Brand Hierarchy?

The Key Elements of Successful Ingredient Branding

Across industries, ingredient branding examples share two important characteristics. These may look at feel different depending on the product or market, but they’re universally present in top-notch branded ingredient marketing.

1. Visibility

Even when branded ingredients are “baked in,” they need to have a visible, acknowledged presence in the marketing of the product itself. Like Intel, MIPS relies on a sticker or tag on helmet packaging. Instead of a small square sticker, MIPS splashes its entire yellow-circle logo prominently on the box.

Critically, visibility is more important at the point of conversion/purchase. PayPal, another sneaky example of ingredient marketing, lends its credibility as a payment process at checkout, assuaging privacy or security concerns users might have about a website or alternative payment portal.

2. Credibility and understanding

Slapping any old sticker on a product alone doesn’t work, though many brands have tried. Effective ingredient branding relies on the trust of value already established by the component itself. While some users may spend time researching the entire product and any branded ingredients, they’re more impactful when consumers already know exactly what the ingredient adds to the product or experience. Of course, they also need to understand that addition truly makes the product better.

Dodge has been marketing HEMI engines since the engine design originated in 1901. Except they aren’t the only company to build HEMI engines. The name is a shortened and considerably more marketable version of “hemispherical combustion chambers.” (There’s just no appealing way to put that on a car.)

What Chrysler (which eventually purchased Dodge and was eventually folded into auto giant Stellantis) did was brilliant. The company assigned so much value and expertise to an existing design that the component was a marketable component of Daimler, Chrysler and Dodge cars and trucks for more than seven decades. Dodge may not even deserve the title of the best HEMI manufacturer; Porsche, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Alfa Romeo all made HEMI versions of popular cars over the years. They just didn’t make a big (enough) deal of it.

Market Your Ingredients: Even If You’re a Service Company

Like Chrysler with HEMI, most organizations have a differentiator that adds value to their product or service, whether the benefits are real (improved function) or perceived (it’s just cool). Whether it’s a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or a more efficient process, service-based organizations can leverage ingredient marketing to assign additional utility or advantage to their service.

Choose Your Partners Wisely

When Apple decided to build on its Apple Pay and Apple Card business, it could have partnered with any financial institution in the world. Knowing how critical trust and credibility would be with such a move, they didn’t choose just any bank. By selecting Goldman Sachs, Apple was tapping into Goldman’s reputation as an elite financial firm with the chops to keep deposits safe.

In this way, Apple accomplished its goal while mitigating reputational risk – and put more than $10 billion on the right side of its balance sheet.

We Guarantee It

Service brands can also market the key elements of their business by defining their guarantees clearly and memorably.

It makes a real difference in the marketplace. In some industries, strongly positioned guarantees allow companies to charge considerably more than competitors because consumers aren’t worried about a bad experience.

Some common promises in the service industry include:

  • The money-back guarantee.
  • Absolutely no charge until the service is complete (no inspection or initial deposit).
  • A time-based warranty on work completed (usually 60 or 90 days).

The best warranties or service guarantees are easy to understand, easy to use or access and relevant; consumers know they may need it.

Contact Oneupweb to Put Ingredient Marketing to Work for You

Our fully integrated team of marketing experts brings creative solutions to all your marketing challenges. We bring a unique mix of experiences and skills to every project and position our clients to make informed marketing decisions across channels. Everything we do is backed by white-glove client support and a customer-first approach to getting things done. Let’s get started; get in touch or call (231) 922-9977.

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