I recently led the development and launch of a disruptive brand in the health and wellness food and beverage space for the first time in my career. It was a very rewarding experience. As I think about what made this launch so successful, I want to share the 5 most important lessons I learned which I will apply to wherever my next opportunity lies and will also use to help others in the process of preparing for a new brand launch. Some of these lessons are obvious, but not to be overlooked!
- Education, Education, Education: When you are a disruptive brand, you can never underestimate the importance of educating consumers on your product. In our case, the product is refrigerated in a category that is filled with shelf-stable products. We used search and social to tell and remind consumers to look for us in the refrigerated area of the store. This is still part of the brand’s core messaging almost a year after the launch.
- Highlight Only the Most Compelling Benefits: This product has several nutritional benefits. It was tempting to talk about all of them, but we resisted and succeeded as a result. We consistently spoke to the 3 most compelling benefits throughout all of our brand messaging across search, social and in-store and let the consumer discover the other benefits once they engaged online and in-store.
- Consumer-Friendly Packaging, in Design and Function: Create packaging that is simple for consumers to open and reseal. This one is obvious, but in a startup, things don’t always go as planned. In our case, the package we launched with was suboptimal because we needed to commit to packaging equipment ahead of the design work. We ended up with a clumsy package that consumers didn’t realize was resealable. Our customers communicated this to us and we immediately began work on an improved package.
- Don’t Give Up Despite Retailer Reluctance: We were convinced that our disruptive product would sell much better if it was displayed on pegs so the compelling benefits were easy to spot, but most retailers merchandised us laying down in the well. It took time and persistence, but when we were finally able to convince one of our retailers to display our package on pegs the velocity became significantly higher. Once we had the data we were able to leverage it to influence other retailers. Don’t give up on giving your brand its best chance of success!
- Embrace Your Fans: One of the many nutritional benefits of our product was it was the only keto-friendly option in the category. Keto followers became our biggest fans, creating new uses and recipes themselves and posting to share with their fellow keto followers. We embraced these fans and paid the most active ones a nominal amount to create several quick and easy at-home snacks when we all found ourselves at home back in March. This gave us a ton of great content and strengthened our brand’s relationship with this community that continues to flourish as they have become passionate advocates.
While the product referenced is not plant-based, the lessons learned still apply! Check out Egglife here.
Chris Mahoney is a brand marketing executive with 20 years experience accelerating brands in the food, beverage and pet industries. She has led brands at companies including MolsonCoors, Beam Suntory, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Merrick Pet Care. Most recently, Chris led the very successful launch of the egglife™ brand at EggLife Foods.
Chris is actively seeking new, disruptive projects and is excited to connect more deeply with the plant-based movement and market.