How Do You Create a Unique Brand Identity? 3 Lessons from a Portuguese Sardine Company


I had the chance to visit Lisbon in early October. Not far from Rossio train station, a unique storefront caught my attention: a colourful, amusing boutique that looked like it belonged at a fair. Its inscription read: Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa (Fantastic World of Portuguese Sardines). I must admit, it looked more like a toy store than a sardine shop! Despite my aversion to sardines, curiosity got the best of me and I couldn’t stop myself from going inside.

Here are three lessons that we can learn from those sardines!

1. Have the courage to stand out with a unique story

This Portuguese company’s unique selling point is its totally unconventional brand image, which contrasts with the product they actually sell. Its positioning demonstrates that you shouldn’t underestimate any brand. No matter how bland and ordinary a product might seem, the branding behind it can be unique and inspiring.

This sardine company’s unusual story is intertwined with Portugal’s history and folklore, and the brand alludes to the country’s colourful identity.


The amount of care that goes into designing the colourful cans of sardines, as well as the product’s flavour and the cheerful brand identity, come together to create a totally unique experience. The following excerpt from the company’s website conveys this well:

Fábrica de Conservas da Murtosa recently made one of its oldest dreams come true, by opening in Lisbon a space to pay tribute to the Portuguese Sardine and to all that popular fish has already done for the country.

The formula found for that purpose was « Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa », a space that attempts to respect one of the most extraordinary features of the Atlantic prodigy: to be noble and popular at the same time.

The fun atmosphere inside the store creates memorable experiences for customers. They are encouraged to take photos, record videos and share the content on social media.

2. Personalize your products

Each can of sardines has a unique colour scheme and features two historical facts that are connected to the year written on the packaging. This special touch offers the customer a personalized experience and reminds them of a specific memory connected to the brand.

For tourists, it’s an ideal souvenir or gift with a personal touch. The product makes you smile and creates an emotional connection. And the experience goes far beyond simply buying a can of sardines. The product reminds us of the emotions we felt when we saw the design and read the information on the packaging.


3. Create a coherent brand experience

With an identity like “Fantastic World of Portuguese Sardines”, the brand must live up to customers’ expectations and offer a coherent experience through its various points of contact. Here are some examples:

  • The storefront’s dazzling illuminated display constantly changes colour.
  • The product packaging is coherent and original.
  • The text appearing on the packaging is consistent with the company’s identity.
  • Inside the store, the employees are friendly and accessible and they’re passionate about the company’s history and products. The music played in inside the store also matches the circus theme.
  • The company’s website also captures the stores’ magical ambiance.
  • Finally, their Facebook page is consistent with the brand image and is used to share content.

This experience reminded me that brands can be adventurous and surprise consumers with an image and approach that defies expectations. Of course, success ultimately depends on how well the unique brand identity is communicated.

Thanks to: Stéphanie Richard and Valérie Blackburn

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