Branding your vegan business

Veganism is on the rise, the extent of which varies on the statistics you view, but even to the naked eye over the last 12 months the rate of adoption has exploded. I believe we’re seeing a transition from a niche lifestyle to a mainstream food trend, one which presents many problems for those who follow, and therefore many business opportunities by way of solutions. Over the last 12 months, a large volume of start-ups have entered the market, each looking to entice customers by offering pro-vegan products or services, but often not surpassing the initial USP of the fact they’re vegan. To crossover, and compete as the market grows, more is required.


Although veganism is growing, its still very much a nice market in the context of those considering themselves strict “vegans,” and as such any business that relies on high turnover of customers, such as food, will need to be realistic in its assessment of what portion of their customers this applies to. My estimation would be at least 75% of those buying vegan food products in London are “vegan curious” or “flexitarian.” Its invaluable to reverse engineer the motivating factors influencing purchasing decisions to better position your brand, and in this instance, i would also predict the fact they’re not fully vegan to imply that they will not resonate with intense, explicitly pro-vegan, or anti-carnivore, branding. 


As more products enter the market, having a strong “why” and understanding the way this is  translated throughout the output of the business is paramount to engaging with potential customers. Simply putting a “V”  at the beginning of your name, or using lots of green colours, is not enough to differentiate your brand, and lacks any depth in regards to an individual message akin to your company’s mission. Just BEING a vegan brand is not enough, and nothing demonstrates a lack of creativity like resorting to the simplest possible denominator in branding your company “Vegan X.”


A well thought out brand is developed by curating answers to core questions like “What problem are we trying to solve?” “How do we want to be perceived?” “What is our differentiating value proposition and how can this be communicated?” Then, asking how this can be communicated consistently, whether it be by key words, phrases, fonts, colours and patterns, for example. How is this then delivered in a way that your brand is uniquely capable of? If your companies core mission is to make Veganism accessible for inner male teens, and in understanding this market you learn their other interests are grime music, streetwear and slang, this will give you clear branding guidelines in the terminology, fonts, colour you use, and then the platforms, channels and methods of communication that sit best with this audience. You may, and probably will have, multiple customer profiles, so therefore have a more generic brand offering thats communicated differently according to the method of delivery and subsequent recipient. 


The key will be, as more players enter the game, to have a clear “Problem” you’re addressing, a “Point of difference” in the way its communicated, and a brand “Product” thats consistent throughout.