Posted by Laura Williams
27th May, 2021

2021 05 27 How should you be growing your brand 2021 05 27 How should you be growing your brand

How should you be growing your brand?

Brand Talks Q&A with Pip & Nut, Well&Truly, Nix & Kix and Beyond.

Last week creative branding agency Beyond, hosted a Brand Talks webinar: ‘How should you be growing your brand?’

The lively panel discussion unveiled insightful tips on branding, packaging, consumer insights, investment and much more. All of which were shared by an incredible line-up of brand owners and marketers from some of our most loved food and drink brands; Sara Trechman, Co-founder & Director of Well&Truly, Julia Kessler, Co-founder of Nix & Kix, Jacq Ellis-Jones, Marketing Director at Pip & Nut, and Beyond’s Client Services Director, Sarah Harrison.

If you’re a brand manager or marketer in the food and beverage sector and you’re thinking about launching a new brand, tackling a re-brand or hiring the right agency to help — here’s an insightful sneak-peak into the processes and benefits you can expect along the way…

Did you feel like it was important to invest in brand to attract investment from buyers?

Sara Trechman, Well&Truly
“It was fundamental. Because at the beginning we just had samples of the product. When you're going out there with your initial pitch to investors, they have to invest in you as the founders and they have to believe in the vision of what you're going after. Brand is a really big part of that. It’s the same with buyers too. We actually pitched to Sainsbury's at the beginning, but they came back to us and said ‘we don't think your brand is right for us in that space...’ But after we did our big rebrand, we went back to Sainsbury's, and they were like, ‘yes, we want you now!’

We’ve done three investment rounds on the journey of Well&Truly and each time investors want to see how you develop the brand, who your target audience is, how that's changed, what you know about them and what insights you have...”

Where do you focus your budget and is there any tension between investing in product and investing in brand?

Sara Trechman, Well&Truly
“It's a constant tussle and we have to split between the two. Before we launched, we really needed to develop our brand identity, because ultimately that's what the investors are going to back. Not only you as founders, but also the brand and the product. Once you're live, you need to start refining your product. So again, you're investing in that area. Once you feel that your brand is back on track and you know who your consumers are, you're probably going to want to start working on your next product launch. So again, you invest back into products and then when you're looking at that new product launch, you're going to have to go back into brand because potentially you’re going to need to refine it. You're going to have a wider audience and you may want to tweak the personality or the tone of voice. And the cycle continues… But what's interesting is that 59% of category growth in FMCG is actually driven by SMEs. The retailers and the buyers expect you to continuously innovate, not only with products, but also with your brand. They want to see you as that ‘challenger brand’. So those are the two areas that you constantly need to keep going back over and checking so that you're still on track.”

What do you feel are the most important things to consider when you embark on developing a brand?

Julia Kessler, Nix & Kix
“I think for us, it's really about coming back to the why. Why are you doing this? We didn't want to drink alcohol and we were let down by the options available. There’s only so much cranberry juice that you can drink and it is not very exciting. So we thought that if we were in that position, then others might be as well. The more we investigated, the more people we found — other people felt the same needs. And that for us, is the number one thing to consider and we keep coming back it — WHY are we doing this?

We want to bring some excitement to the soft drinks market and we want to create something a bit more adult. Hence putting flavours like Cayenne in the drink. When we started people were constantly wondering why we we’re doing that— that’s mad. But for us, it was all about creating a very unique flavour profile. And that differentiated us enough in the marketplace. So yes, always come back to the question as to why you’re doing what you’re doing.”

How do your consumers shape the brand and the way that you communicate?

Jacq Ellis-Jones, Pip & Nut.
“It’s massive. We’re in business to help people love food that loves them. So, it's all about striking the balance of really enjoying the food that you eat but making sure that the food you eat is as natural and as healthy as possible. And we have our audience at the core. It's all about who are they, what they want, what they need, what do they believe and how do we deliver that to them in a way that feels unique and relevant for our brand?

Our audience actually formed the basis of our comms strategy because it's all about harnessing that community of nut butter lovers to spread the word about how tasty we are. So rather than it coming from the brand, our comms strategy is that it comes from the consumer.

We had a squirrel outdoor campaign where we use one of our distinctive assets, the squirrel, as a representation of the fandom for our product. And we use real life social quotes to support that campaign… it was absolutely shining a spotlight on our audience.

For me the Holy Grail is — and I ask myself this question regularly — would my consumers care if I disappeared from the shelf? I think that has got to be sat on your shoulder all the time, building your brand. You've got to aim to build a brand that people care about.”

How did you arrive at your current visual identity?

Sara Trechman, Well&Truly
“It happened in two stages. We saw a 300% increase in like-for-like sales after our first rebrand, which was incredible. What we then were missing was the personality of the brand. So, we worked with another agency who developed the whole personality of our brand, which is ‘naughty-ish’ and is working really well for us. That stretches not only from the tone of voice of our emails, but it stretches to the types of people we recruit… That’s been really fundamental in trying to lift the whole brand level and making sure that we can start to emotionally connect with the consumers, which we couldn't do before.”

What do you think that today’s customers and consumers want from brands?

Jacq Ellis-Jones, Pip & Nut
“You ultimately need to continue to deliver on your product performance. That is the most important thing. Nobody will buy a pair of Toms because Toms give money back to various charities. People buy Toms because they're brilliant shoes. The same goes for Tony’s Chocolonely. Yes, some consumers will be motivated and attracted because of the anti-child slavery and they're passionate about removing that from the industry. But ultimately, Tony’s chocolate tastes amazing. So never ever compromise on the product performance because that is ultimately what consumers want from a brand.

It’s also familiarity – knowing your brand. That is helped through marketing and distribution to unlock popularity. Additionally, the conscious consumer is absolutely, undeniably rising. They want to buy from brands that they know are doing business in a better way and they're not always putting profit first. We all have to make money. Otherwise, we can't do the other stuff that gives back to the world. We have to make profit. It’s about balancing profits with what you do for people and what you do for planet, which are the principles of B Corp and the principles of Pip & Nut.”

What is the one action that everyone should take today in relation to growing that brand?

Julia Kessler, Nix & Kix
“It’s all about engaging with your customers and consumers and keeping at it. Keep talking to them and building a tribe. But it's also important to keep learning from them. Keep very close to your customers!”

Sara Trechman, Well&Truly
Don't be afraid of change. You might have set out to do something in the beginning, but then you might have to start all over again so don’t be afraid of that.”

Jacq Ellis-Jones, Pip & Nut
“Be obsessed with product quality. Don’t ever lose sight of that.”

If you’re keen to hear more from how these incredible panelists; how they carry out their market research and gain customer insights, plus the influence of B Corp business; people, planet and profit — then head over the Feel-Good Brands YouTube channel to watch the full 60-minute webinar.