Jenn Root

Independent Study 

Brand Launch

Every Creative Brand Manager completes an independent business study during the last year of the Brandcenter program. This capstone project requires each student to complete a business analysis and marketing plan for a client tackeling a real-life business problem the company is facing.

I had the opportunity to work with a Richmond based start-up that is making a limited ingredient, dairy-free gelato. 

Ask:

1. Create a Marketing plan to Launch O’MY Dairy-Free Gelato into local markets this summer.
2. Research flavors or innovations the company can develop in order to differentiate them from their competition. 

 
 

Situation:

Coming up on their first year in business, the founders were working to perfect their recipe and get their product produced. In late fall, 2017, the only branded element they had developed was their packaging.
The founders were gracious to receive help in creating a strategically backed launch campaign. They requested to include elements for sampling events, as well as a marketing campaign focused on exhibiting at the Natural Foods Expo this fall. 

Dairy-free is the new gluten-free! Dairy-free product introductions have increased 55% over the last few years (Mintel, Ice Cream & Frozen Novelties, April 2018). O'MY has to act fast to stake their claim in the dairy-free frozen dessert landscape as small, niche creameries grow rapidly and ice cream brands extend their footprint into dairy-free lines of product. 

 

Research: 

The first months of this project was focused on research, as understanding the landscape of better for you food brands, packaging claims, and favorite ice cream flavors was important to understand where O'MY stood out from the competition. I conducted Individual interviews with peers who have food restrictions, a focus group with 6 individuals with different dietary restrictions, two surveys - one with over 500 responses focusing on flavor preferences, as well as industry and trend research.
 

 

My first area of research concentrated on food packaging claims. The natural foods industry is experiencing a movement toward clean-labels. Leading the pack in the clean-label movement are healthy snack bars, strong examples of this are brands like RXBAR and That's It who are also founded around minimal ingredient recipes. They exhibit the transparency in their recipes by showing all of the ingredients prominently on the front of the package. One brnad, Zego, which created a nut-free snack bar, places a link to their website FAQ page by the use of a QR code on every package. 

According to Mintel Research, 55% of shoppers believe that allergen warnings are important enough to be on the front of food packaging. And, per my research, 59% of respondents with food allergies place the highest importance on whether the food packaging states that it's product fits their diet. 

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Survey question determines difference in flavor preference for those with food allergies over the general population. 83 Dairy-free, 40 with other food allergies (egg, nut, gluten), and 94 vegan respondents. 

The second area of focus for my research was to understand if there are any variances in flavor preference by individuals with dietary restrictions. Overall, everyone loves the same decadent flavors, full of extra treets like cookie dough, brownies, and fudge swirls. The one flavor that stuck out for those who have food allergies and eat vegan was caramel. Caramel would be a key flavor extension for the brand as it is often hard to find caramel that is vegan and gluten-free. 

 
I wish someone would make a vegan caramel swirl ice cream!
— Male, Vegan - different diets focus group
 
 

Target

With consideration to those who have restricted diets, the brand can market to a few different audience groups; those with food allergies restricting them from foods, or those who to restrict their diet based on preference, religion, health, and wellbeing factors. For O'MY initial brand communications, my suggestion is to target an overarching personality of the Intentional Eater.
This individual is female, the primary shopper for her household over 80% of the time, uses her mobile device while she shops to research the packaged food she buys, and eats frozen dessert a few times per month. 

Target

Bringing it All Together

Insight:

1.  For people who are true vegans, they know that not all sugar is vegan, and frozen dessert brands are often not transparent enough about the sugar they use. 
2. For families affected by severe food allergies, they have given up most frozen desserts because they have not found one that DOES NOT produce their product on shared lines. Families often purchase an ice cream machine to make frozen desserts at home. 

Truth:

O'MY Gelato is the solution for people with concerns about the origin and safty of their food. The company has carefully sourced ingredients to be vegan compliant as well as ingredient from suppliers who have dedicated practices to ensure there is no allergen cross-contamination. 
O'MY will also be extra sensitive about contamination in their manufacturing process, testing the equipment after cleaning between each flavor production. 

Implication: 

1. The company must be as transparent about their manufacturing process, weaving it into their marketing communications. 

2. As the company continues to grow it's offerings, they can fill a niche for allergen-aware flavors. 

3. Clearly and Concisely communicate that O'MY Gelato is the truly clean gelato option people have been looking for. 

 
 

Branding:

In order to clearly and concisely communicate the O'MY brand, I created brand standards for the company to use as communication standards when working with marketing partners and posting on their social accounts. 

 
 

To develop creative for the brand to utilize in stores and online, a Brandcenter peer, Kelley Bode (1st Year Copywriter) helped me create the advertising concept and flush out the communication for various materials. 

Creative Concept:

O'MY is the
delicious dessert
you can say
YES to. 

 

Social Media

A company's social media presence is an increasingly important representation of their brand. As O'MY is planning to launch, I recommended they start explaining their brand's story and why they created their decadent gelato as soon as possible. They also have an opportunity to showcase their manufacturing process and testing procedures in a timely manner to the product's story while producing their first commercial batch this April before it is expected in stores. 

 
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