Lessons from the farmers market

It’s a beautiful day, and you decide to explore a new farmers market. Strolling from booth to booth, you take in all of the captivating sights, smells and sounds that help create a lovely shopping experience. There are so many fresh, local products available that it’s hard to choose. If you’re at one of your favorite farmers markets, you know exactly where to go and which booths you like. But, what about when visiting a new market?

How do you choose?

You need some delicious tomatoes, but there are 15 stands selling tomatoes. Where do you begin? The likely starting point is the appearance of the tomatoes. Do they look fresh, interesting and colorful? Is the booth visually appealing? It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be tidy and clean (as far as clean goes at an outdoor market) and have information about the farm. Perhaps they are offering slices to taste; that works every time. You stop, and yes, this stand passes the first test: visual appeal and taste.

What story are they telling?

You begin chatting with the person working the booth. Now it’s time to see what they have to say. Can they explain the types of tomatoes? Do they know when they were picked? What makes their tomatoes different? Are they organic? Maybe it’s an heirloom type that no one else has.

Most vendors are quick to share this information, and a lot more, with you because they are proud of the farm they own or represent. If they get this part right, you’ll want to buy from this stand. So, keep in mind that the reasons to purchase are not always tangible. Yes, the look, taste and price count very much, but so, too, does the story.

Touching on both the rational and emotional reasons to purchase are at the heart of brand storytelling. And, if they don’t get it right, you will likely move on. After all, there are 15 stands of tomatoes to choose from.

It’s not just tomatoes

The example of buying tomatoes at a farmers market is a simple one. However, this scenario can be anywhere and anything, and applies to your business, as well. How your business appears to others and what you say, is telling. There are many other brands like yours offering what you do, and you need to help potential buyers choose you over them. It’s all about building a strong brand. So how do you do that?

  1. Create a brand platform (mission, vision, values, story, promise, positioning, personality and voice). You might not need all of these. The components will vary based on the complexity and size of your business. Thinking of these and taking the time to write them out is a valuable exercise.
  2. Design your visual identity to match your brand platform. Or, update your visual identity (logo, colors, fonts, etc.) to better align with your brand.
  3. Write messaging that resonates with your target audience and is different from that of your competition. Use your brand platform as a guide and be sure there is an emotional component to it.
  4. Share your message through the channels that work for your audience. It’s key to be where they are, when they are there.

It doesn’t matter if it’s tomatoes, marketing services, medical devices, or anything else, you need a strong brand. Implement these steps, or a version of them, and your tomatoes will be well-chosen. ●

Sue Stabe is Co-founder of Long & Short of It

Sue Stabe



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