I enjoy reading and writing about branding, how the public perceives a company.  Branding helps a company become “alive,” creating associations related to colors, logo formations, slogans, short and long-term objectives, etc.

Personally, I encourage companies to seek branding opportunities.  It helps create exposure and helps align a brand with a defined target market; while vendors constantly search for respective markets, the latter group also seeks brands to identify with.  For instance, Vans has produced skate and surf –related clothing for a long time.  Pick up a surfing magazine and the brand is advertising within.  Go to skating or surf competitions and the brand is sponsoring.  Surfers and skaters gravitate toward Vans due to the companies “personality” and branding objectives.

However, what if your current “personality” limits your market exposure?  A New York Times post, featuring Manischewitz, the 123-year-old brand dedicated to producing kosher food products, is changing some things.  While some brands have graced the kosher food market within the last ten years (Oreo cookies turned kosher in ’97 and Tootsie Rolls in ’09), inviting more consumers from the Jewish faith to convert to eating particular foods, the Manischewitz brand is broadening horizons as well, modifying its brand with future intentions of producing more foods marketed toward gentiles.

For a long time, the Manischewitz brand catered to a select target market; this objective was reflected through print advertising, in-store product placement, and branding techniques.  Now, the brand has ideas to broaden exposure.

I would also like to draw attention to the company’s strategic plans for change.  Rather than overhaul the brand, executives are thinking methodically.  For instance, older, recognizable products are not being taken from specialty aisles.  Alternatively, the brand is keeping current items the same but producing new items to intrigue a larger market; current consumers, pledging allegiance to the brand, are not in for surprises or disappointment.   Good move; we know what happens (*cough* Netflix) when a brand attempts to make a major shift without considering consumers’ responses.

Obviously, the brand plans to market coming changes, making preparations to place ads in mainstream papers such as the Washington Post.  Additionally, it’s estimated the brand will invest more than $10 million in ads and marketing in 2012.

Hopefully, Manischewitz has plans to engage in online marketing, such as search engine optimization services, as well as traditional offline marketing.  The brand is making some good decisions; though limiting the brand to offline ads only, may not be kosher with brand executives looking to produce more revenue, who don’t want the 123-year-old brand to get stale.  What’s the freshness level of your brand?