Article provided by Discovery Business Insurance.
Brand identification is as important as the products you want to sell, says one of South Africa’s most successful online-turned brick-and-mortar brands, Yuppiechef
Shane Dryden and Andrew Smith, the co-founders of Yuppiechef, say it took a number of fails before they won big on their brand which was launched in 2006. Known for bespoke kitchen appliances and gadgets, they started off in an unlikely area … pest control.
“The very first thing we sold online was called the Jolt. We branded it the Fly Racquet. It had electric strings for swatting flies and mosquitoes. We created the website, figured out how to ship it, and take payment from people. We sold one on the Saturday, to my mom, because we forgot about marketing. One of the things about e-commerce is that when you open the doors on Day 1, nobody knows you exist and you know as opposed to opening a physical store where on Day 1, you will have hundreds of people walking past you at least,” says Smith.
They did end up selling tens of thousands of bug zappers, an electric rat trap, flags and flagpoles. ”The continuation of that journey was that we were just looking for new things to sell and Shane, who was the real foodie, thought we could sell kitchen tools of some kind,” says Smith.
One of their first products was a pair of tongs with nylon ends for non-stick cookware. “It is called Cuisipro. You can’t buy them in South Africa, but we knew the importer and they were not available in physical stores. That’s how the Yuppiechef story started,” he says.
Branding the business
Says Dryden: ”The naming process was important because we knew we were about to do something big and that we cared about quite deeply.”
While there are companies who use agencies to develop, create and build their brand, Smith says: ”Nobody knows your brand as well as you do, if you are the founder and you care about it. When you outsource it, you’ll get a version of success but as the founders, if you can, you should really own that process. You will be in a much better place if you have the confidence.”
Dryden says: “I remember it was Sunday morning, I was still in bed, my family were doing something and I was in the room on my own. We joke about it being a flash of inspiration, but it really was.”
They add that it is rare to find a name that helps the potential customer understand what the company is doing. “Yuppiechef as a name is something which is specific enough that allows us to come across as the experts, we know what we’re talking about, we are in the kitchen category, but also Yuppiechef is not necessary for real chefs,” says Dryden.
They registered the brand, and says an important aspect of this was claiming the website both locally and internationally.
Dryden says: “We deliberately chose the visual representations of how we felt the brand could be portrayed. It was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef series. The lifestyle element of people enjoying food, faces, people cooking and entertaining. Because we were designers, we could pitch the design well and the quality gave us an advantage, people thought and felt that we were quite established.”
“The logo is a continuation of that. The Yuppiechef logo has evolved over the last few years but it was modern and on trend. It was also very pink,” Smith laughs.
Dryden says, “Part of the flash of inspiration of in that moment of the Yuppiechef name, I did see the colour pink. Maybe it’s because my eyes were closed, I’m not sure. But I wanted a colour that we could own, that wasn’t widely used. Early banners that we created were of a guy wearing a pink shirt and the tagline was ‘I’m not afraid to wear pink’. We wanted to be proud and loud about it.”
The team now saves the pink shades for specific campaigns.
Making it in marketing
Without big marketing budgets, Smith and Dryden say it was word-of-mouth that helped build their brand. The level of care shown to customers, focusing on the experience, like delivering without charge to anywhere in South Africa with a handwritten card. “Making sure that our customers were taken care of and that they have told their friends about it. We did take some deliberate steps, so free delivery which we don’t do anymore, but it was a value add, something that really costs us,” says Dryden.
Smith adds: “And we gave away vouchers. We used this as a huge marketing mechanic, giving vouchers away at events, in magazines etc. We would do partnerships with other brands. In the long term helping us build a brand that customers connect to, and not just one that was advertised.”
They did use traditional media versus digital, for gravitas. But Smith says, “When we look for the individual silver bullets, there is not a single one. You have to keep going, just be patient and persistent and just chip away at every little channel that you have, every opportunity that you have to push the brand and not bet the whole house on one particular campaign or mechanic.”
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