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Natural: A Rewarding Nut to Crack

Granola – how shall I put this – isn’t exactly a one-of-a-kind product. If you’re going to elbow your way in between Quaker Oats and Kellogg’s and all the other granola pushers, you’ve got to come up with some serious branding. Serious branding, not an aluminum can with a photo of a hill on it.

  • packaging
  • social media
  • video
  • Website
  • in-store display

To be fair, Ladera Granola’s aluminum can had a photo of a hill from Ladera, Calif., points out Rena B. Meyer, principal of Rena B Design, the studio that rebranded the product…But still.

Ladera_Sheets

Nuts About Branding
Meyer’s mission: Create a logo, product packaging, website and other branding materials such as business cards, sales sheets, etc. – all designed to work together to differentiate Ladera Granola from other granola products. She wanted the branding to be a beacon to its target audience: those who are fit, athletic and embrace an active lifestyle. Or those who at least daydream about being those people.

Since the granola is made up of natural and minimal ingredients, “I kept the illustration and the typography in the logo really clean,” she says. The logo plays upon the taste buds, featuring a stylized bowl with a spoon. Illustrations of oats – the main ingredient in granola– also play prominently in the branding materials.

The website, too, leaves little to the imagination, featuring photographs that allow visitors to see just how appetizing the granola looks “with yogurt, with fruit, with milk, and as a snack.”

Meyer developed a color palette using natural hues such as red, yellow and dark brown, with the idea that the logo colors could change along with the flavors of granola. “We knew that new flavors were coming without knowing exactly what those flavors would be,” she says. The packaging for the first product, the Original recipe, features reddish-orange accents.

Ladera_web

LAD_Tabletop

Nuts About Packaging
Ladera Granola is a young company that is committed to sustainable practices and healthy living. Initially, the company wanted to package the granola in a compostable pouch. However, they scrapped that idea since not all regions that might sell the product have composting programs to support the effort.

They ended up using a recyclable standup pouch, instead; Meyer captured their commitment to the environment with the tagline: “We’re nuts about natural.” It “speaks to the natural ingredients, but also their commitment to sustainable business practices,” she says.

Ladera Granola also wanted to showcase their youth and “think-outside-the-box” spirit, so social media was key, as were creative ideas such as embedding videos throughout the website. While Meyer did not come up with the social-media campaign or create the videos, she supplied Ladera Granola with background images to make sure those elements blended in seamlessly with the rest of the campaign.

Finally, Meyer sought to shed light on Ladera Granola’s ideal customer. This is not your grandmother’s granola, after all. The branding features illustrations of people engaged in activities such as climbing and playing basketball, which “has to do with their whole mission of fueling the active lifestyle,” says Meyer.

Ladera Granola is currently featured in six stores, mostly in San Francisco’s South Bay area. To introduce themselves to new customers, the company holds in-store tastings at tables topped by a branded tablecloth and samples of the product. The branding is important not only to attract people to the table, but also to ensure that they will easily recognize the packaging on the crowded granola shelf later on when they want to buy it.

Nuts About the Blueprint
Not only has the company doubled its sales since Rena B. Design started rolling out the new branding, but “they’ve become the No. 1 selling granola in several stores that they’re in,” says Meyer.

She began working on the project in late 2011; the packaging was finished in 2012; and the website was completed in 2013. Other elements such as business cards and branded tablecloths were developed in between those milestones.

“Not everything had to be done at the same time. Obviously for these guys the package was the biggest deal because they didn’t want to approach any new stores until they had the new package. Once the package was done, then the website became pretty urgent.”

Since Meyer knew she would be creating a cross-media campaign that consisted of printed materials, packaging and a website, she created a basic blueprint that she followed throughout. “As we’re adding different elements like stickers, sales sheets, table frills and business cards, it’s not like we’re reinventing the wheel. It’s just sort of an expansion.”

Creating a blueprint also makes it easier to make adjustments in the future. Though Meyer is now working on the second iteration of the packaging, she is confident that the changes will only enhance the brand going forward. “Once you know where you’re going, everything falls into place.”

LaderaPackage

Author: Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a freelance writer and editor who has written extensively about business, careers and success for such publications as Working Mother, Real Simple, and AARP Bulletin.

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