Former marketing executive establishes chili farm and product line in just five months, Part 4

Photo courtesy of Erl Orenza.

By Yvette Tan

Erl Orenza is a former marketing executive who wanted to run a farm and ended up doing that and developing a successful line of chili products under the brand Salbahe as well.

In Part 3, Orenza shared lessons he’s learned from running a chili farm. Now, drawing on his 20+ years in the marketing world, he offers tips on branding and marketing a product so that it reaches its desired clientele.

A marketing expert’s tips on making your brand stand out

Salbahe’s success comes from a combination of having great products, fun marketing, and excellent customer service.

Some marketing principles transcend products. Whatever you’re trying to sell, here are some things to take into account when developing the brand of your value-added product.

It has to be catchy, and it has to be relatable. For example, all of Salbahe Chili Products’ visual identity, from its logo to its promotional photos, as well as its copy (the words in its ads and posts) all embody its identity of a brand that’s fun, a bit naughty, doesn’t take itself too seriously, but most importantly, is delicious. Photos of the farm likewise highlights the brand’s emphasis on quality. Showcasing ripe red chilis in farm enables customers to better make the link between fresh produce and the finished product. “Saying that a product comes from your own harvest really helps,” Orenza says.

Utilize social media. A social media presence allows a business to thrive, even without a brick and mortar store. It’s a convenient way for customers to reach the business owner. And now that there’s a pandemic raging worldwide, it’s become practical as well. Salbahe has been selling its products entirely online even before the quarantine period started. “Social media is really helpful,” Orenza says. “As long as your presence is seen, [people] will talk about you and feature your product. You can also get testimonials on it.”

That said, one has to be careful with what one posts. Each post has to be “on brand,” or within the personality of the brand. “You have to make sure that… you use the right language for your market,” Orenza says.

Make it easy for your clients to be your biggest endorsers. If you have an excellent product, catchy branding, and good customer service, chances are, your customers will do your advertising for you. On social media, this can translate into mentions of your product on their posts, or if you ask nicely, testimonials on your page. Salbahe’s loyal patrons include celebrities who mention it on their own social media pages. Sometimes, these are reposted for other Salbahe followers to see. “It’s not hard to market nowadays because social media is free,” Orenza says.

Photos courtesy of Erl Orenza.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s September to October 2020 issue. 

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Yvette Tan
Yvette Tan is Agriculture magazine's managing editor’s web editor. She is an award-winning writer who likes to eat, travel, and listen to stories about the strange and supernatural. She is dedicated to encouraging people to push for sustainable food sources and is an advocate of food security, food sovereignty, and the preservation of community foodways.

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