Human branding [NEXT Forecast 2015]

Human branding [NEXT Forecast 2015]

To spotlight the release of our 2015 NEXT Forecast, we present this excerpt from Macro Force 6, one of 10 sure to shape tomorrow's natural products industry.

Take a look at the quarts and half-gallons from Organic Valley. Or the wrapper around those chocolate bars from Askinosie. What you’ll find are faces of farmers, the real faces of the real farmers engaged to bring that product in your hands to market. This is the vanguard of packaging and branding in natural products. It’s human, a notch up the impact chain from such recent marketing trends as transparency, raw messaging and minimalism.

Human approaches to branding synch quite well with the broad advance of storytelling inside natural products, an industry full of tellable stories. With authenticity and purpose at your back, it’s easy to talk about who you are, and why you do what you do. People tell stories all the time. We hunger for narratives to make sense of the world in ways that make sense to us, and the stories coming out of natural products have broad audience these days. A face is a great signifier of provenance too, whether that face speaks to a localizing message (a family dairy farm) or a globalized one (coffee beans).

Consider the relationship between Uncle Matt’s Organic and MegaFood. MegaFood continues to innovate on messaging because it can. Their real-time webcam on the factory floor exposes consumers to the company’s raw materials because those raw materials are food-based and squarely on trend. The company gets vocal and active on the GMO labeling front because it’s just about the closest a supplement brand can ever hope to get to a whole food. By aligning the business objectives in this way, marketing quickly gets transparent and raw, even human.

In its latest gambit, MegaFood now heavily promotes its “farm fresh partnership” with Uncle Matt’s by highlighting Uncle Matt in his organic citrus groves. It’s a powerful, human way to connect that vitamin C pill to the natural health it’s meant to convey.

For more faces of the future, peek inside the 2015 NEXT Forecast, now available.

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