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Goldfish vs. Whale Marketing: Brand Judgement

The difference between The Dollar Tree’s Whales and Harris Teeter’s Goldfish, apart from cost, is brand awareness. Customers are much more likely to spend the extra money for the popular Goldfish snack, not because they like spending more money, but because we immediately associate these artificially flavored, cheddar fish with expert branding and marketing.

I am not writing to tell you how your business is being harshly judged based on children’s cheddar snacks or how rebranding could up your sales by a large margin… Actually, yes. That is exactly what I am saying.

Photo by Eddie Welker.

Photo by Eddie Welker.

Bottom line, you should be spending just as much time on the general look and perception of your brand just as much as you do the content.

Why? Brand judgement: The box, bag, carton, or whatever new packaging they have come up with, is appealing to the consumer. Yes, the advertising has become ingrained within children’s brains across the world, but also because the design and coloring is simple, seducing.

According to Jeff Haden, orange, the main packaging color for Goldfish, elicits enthusiasm, creativity, happiness, and determination. Yellow, another primary color for their brand, is associated with feelings of joy, energy, and life. This contrasts to its larger, sea creature friend over on The Dollar Tree aisle. The Whales’ blue box is associated with words such as conservative, clarity, and understanding. When I am hungry, and craving a cheddar, sea creature, I am much more likely to grab something that makes me feel excited and happy rather than something that makes me feel like a politician.

As humans, we are wired to remember what something looks like rather than the words that are actually printed on it.

The marketing and advertising in this century, more than any other, is all about visibility, whether physically or digitally. In order to be seen, and more importantly, remembered, you must brand yourself precisely and strategically.

Do not be afraid of change. Rebranding is one word that marketers run from. But often, this can be the easiest way to transform your company.

What Matters?

  • Color – Obviously. Research the emotions that are associated with each color. This can make or break you (or determine whether you are sold at The Dollar Tree or Harris Teeter).
  • Promising – Yes, even an image can give the customer a promise. Make sure that even after the words are stripped away, your mission, or promise, is still clear.
  • Simplicity – We are lazy creatures. We don’t want to look at something that gives us a headache or requires a lot of thought to figure what your logo actually is. However, this is not to be confused with logos that, open further look, actually show an alternate image. That, is pretty damn cool and excellent looking.
  • Intangibility – The brand/logo should look professional. It should not look like something that your bosses daughter could have drawn.
  • Transferable – Your brand will need to be printed across multiple mediums, as multiple sizes, and on multiple surfaces. It must be recognized on a letter size sheet of paper just the same as on a powerpoint, projector screen.

If your business has an unprofessional, cheap looking brand, how do you expect your customers to view your work? They will choose the Harris Teeter quality over The Dollar Tree cost. Every time.