A Lesson from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream in the Art of Branding
While some companies make use of creative promotional items to develop their brand name, others rely solely on their product to promote itself. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is a prime example of this. The Vermont-based ice cream company was started by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield back in 1978. Right from the start, the now ice cream moguls knew they wanted to do something different. Established competitors like Haagen-Daz and Dreyer’s had already perfected the standard flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Ben & Jerry’s immediately recognized that the right decision was to create original flavors.
From this perspective, the duo was able to develop a unique brand based on several principles that other ice cream companies did not have. The most important aspect of the Ben & Jerry’s brand is its sense of humor. Ben & Jerry’s clearly does not take itself too seriously, and that is a very refreshing quality for consumers to be presented with when surfing the aisles of the supermarket. Their goofiness can be witnessed in everything from the names of their flavors, to the attitude of the co-founders themselves.
Ben and Jerry show off two of their many original flavors of ice cream
The naming of their ice cream flavors is another crucial aspect of the Ben & Jerry’s brand. While another company would call their chocolate flavor “Chocolate”, Ben & Jerry’s adds some extra toppings to it and calls it “New York Super Fudge Chunk”. Sure, the ice cream itself is absolutely delicious but which name sounds more appealing – chocolate or New York Super Fudge Chunk? It was a no-brainer for Ben & Jerry’s, and this is part of the reason why their product promotes itself.
Just look at the packaging of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s too. Pictured below is a pint of the flavor, “Phish Food”. This flavor was created along with the legendary rock band Phish with the proceeds going to the Lake Champlain Initiative in Vermont. That front of the container has the Ben & Jerry’s logo (notice the fun, light-hearted font that is used) as well as a picture of a cow grazing in a pasture (you need cows to make ice cream). Below, is the flavor name “Phish Food” in a nifty and original font, as well as a graphic of all the add-ons that you will find mixed in with the ice cream itself. The container is anything but boring, and it maintains the entertaining positioning of the Ben & Jerry’s brand that was previously discussed.
Finally, Ben & Jerry’s was an eco-friendly company was before the concept of “going green” began. Of course, the environmental consciousness of the company has helped them generate even more respect in today’s market, but that’s not why they did it. Ben & Jerry’s started as an environmentally-responsible company because it was the right thing to do; no “green washing” necessary. That genuine quality of caring is what allowed consumers to have respect for Ben & Jerry’s in the first place.