“Business has only 2 functions – Marketing and Innovation” – Peter Drucker.
Companies who make it big understand it’s not one over the other and how both these business functions walk hand in hand to create success from an idea to a million dollar company.
The other day I saw one of my Facebook friends like Just Falafel’s (JF) page and out of curiosity, I checked out what it was. I had also recently seen a JF outlet in Bangalore so I was all the more curious to check it out. Their Facebook page picked my interest because it spoke of company’s strong social presence with a very active community.
As I began to research more about the company, I was amazed to see the amount of buzz this company had created socially that apparently helped it roll out its franchise model at lightning speed.
Intrigued about their marketing (more so social media strategy), I dug deeper and as I did so, I began to draw parallels with the marketing strategy of Innocent Drinks (ID) in the UK that had started way back in 1999.
While the 2 companies came into existence more than a decade apart with nothing but an idea, both these companies scream of Marketing and Innovation as their fundamental pillars.
Both JF and ID converted basic products that have been around for many years into modern, creative products. Falafel – the basic ingredient that JF uses has continued to come down from generations and was considered the food for the poor. JF has made some innovative tweaks to the traditional ‘falafel’ and keeping it as the hero of the dish, created innovative healthy recipes and positioned it as “Modern, healthy fast food”.
Similarly, Innocent Drinks (originally Innocent Smoothies before being acquired by Coca Cola), replaced the fruit juice concentrate with fresh fruit thereby giving a healthier drink to the consumers to enjoy.
Doesn’t it make us wonder that Innovation can be driven by such obvious stuff?!
Having said that, these companies have not only been started with an innovative product, but have made a constant effort to remain innovative thereby trying to retain the competitive advantage and giving big established companies a run for their money.
When the marketing campaigns of Just Falafel (JF) and Innocent Drinks (ID) are studied in parallel, one can pin-point the overlapping fundamentals of a well-thought out Brand strategy:
1. Strong story telling – These companies have delighted consumers with history of their products, what goes into making, how it is manufactured, where the raw materials come from, who manufactures it etc. An important point to notice is that their story telling is not only about the founders’ journey but the journey of their product.
2. Communication that captures the essence of the product – In both cases, the brand proposition of products reflects the essence of the product. “A modern, ‘healthy’, vegetarian fast-food offering” – JF
“…..in our quest to make natural, delicious, healthy foods that help people live well and die old” – ID
If one takes a look at their websites and products, one would notice that the communication of the brand essence perforates consistently through their packaging, logos, product videos and social media posts.
3. Leveraging social media – JF claims to have resorted to social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter because they did not have the marketing budget as that of bigger companies. Today, JF features in one of Facebook’s case studies for having generated more than 3500 franchise requests through Facebook alone.
These companies have leveraged the power of social media with engaging content (live videos, contests, humorous posts) to reach to their target consumers. It’s also interesting to note that for both these companies, the marketing strategy was developed in-house.
The cases of JF and ID go on to bust a myth that marketing and innovation are not prerogatives of those who can afford it but instead they are a mindset that has the power to grab market shares of existing and leading companies.
For those who would like to read more on how to create a Brand Strategy for startups, refer to Brand strategy for startups by Dr. Merlo (Marketing Prof. at Imperial College and Fellow at Judge Business School).
Pic Collage by FounderMates.com. Pictures taken from justfalafel.com and innocentdrinks.co.uk
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NIDHI KAPOOR - Nidhi is the co-founder of FounderMates. She holds an MBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from Imperial College, London. Prior to starting FounderMates.com, she worked with 2 reputable startups in London. One of the startups was as young as a year old where she was the first hire while another was almost 5 years old. This has been an enriching experience for her in understanding the dynamics and needs of a startup across a broad spectrum.
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