Reposition Your Ice Cream Brand to Win in a Competitive Market
- BUSINESS TALKS -
Succeeding in the CPG world is no easy feat! With such a competitive landscape, brands are continuously encouraged to refine their branding positioning over and beyond colours, logo, or even the product itself. Nowadays, consumers increasingly expect their preferred brands to reflect their core values in exchange for their loyalty. In fact, according to Tailor Brands, 89% of customers will stay loyal to brands that share their values. Creating a positioning statement which the target consumer will relate to and remember at the time of search and / or purchase has never been more important…
… or difficult! With only 7 seconds to make a first impression and 90 seconds for consumers to make a (subconscious) judgement about the product, it is imperative for brands to capture a consumer’s attention by clearly defining, communicating, and aligning their business practices towards a set of core values it shares with their targeted consumers. Doing so would allow for a much stronger first, and lasting, impression to support the brand’s growth.
ReThink Ice Cream is a brand which has recently repositioned itself in the ice cream space in order to make room for more brand growth by appealing to their core customers' most important values.
You may remember ReThink from our blog last summer when they introduced their tummy-friendly dairy ice cream to the Innodelice ecosystem. If you are not familiar with ReThink Ice Cream, we recommend starting here before coming back to this article.
This time round, we interviewed George Haymaker, Founder of ReThink to understand more about the brand’s evolved positioning in the ice cream market, how and why they decided to reposition themselves, and what learnings they took away from the move so that you too can learn from their experience.
Tell us more about your new positioning and why you decided to reposition ReThink Ice Cream in 2022?
We initially created ReThink Ice Cream after noticing a gap in the market for a healthier dairy ice cream that tasted as close as possible to the real thing. Our initial launch was focused on consumers who wanted to indulge in ice cream, but do so in a healthier fashion.
As time passed and we engaged with more and more consumers, we were shocked to realize just how many consumers were intolerant to dairy, so we set about to understand the root causes of the intolerance, and create a recipe that addressed these causes while still using dairy (instead of plant-based), as dairy delivers a much tastier and better-textured ice cream than any of the plant-based milks and fats.
When we relaunched in the summer of 2020, we focused on a ‘kinder to the tummy’ positioning. Late in 2021, we switched co-packers and A2 dairy sources, and as a result of this new dairy partnership, we have been able to expand our positioning into a more complete ‘kinder to the tummy, kinder to the community, kinder to the cow, and kinder to the environment’ positioning to better align with our brand purpose and vision of making the best-tasting better-for-you ice cream that everyone can enjoy, while simultaneously building resources to help others, as well as demonstrate our love for animals and the environment.
To ensure our ice cream is truly kinder to the consumer’s tummy, we source our milk exclusively from an A2 ranche that allows us to create our lactose-free A2/A2 dairy base. As mentioned, we recently switched suppliers and now partner with a more sustainable ranch in South California which has been in operation for more than 70 years. The ranch has not only achieved a certification for the humane treatment of animals, but is also solar power operated, reuses manure to power their vehicles, grows all their own nutritious food for the cows, and recycles the water it uses from its own well. Working with a partner like this is what now enables us to promote our ‘kinder to cow and environment’ positioning.
Our ‘kinder to the community’ positioning piece stems from our desire to give back to the community after having received so much help and kindness during my addiction recovery journey over 10 years ago. We partner with multiple charities such as Holiday Heroes and spend time on outreach and fundraising for local schools and animal welfare causes like the Sierra Wildlife Foundation and a number of neighboring schools, including Valley View, and Spark Schools . I also help addicts and alcoholics stay sober as a sponsor.
What are the primary challenges you face as a dairy ice cream brand in an increasingly competitive industry?
Covid caused many issues in the ice cream supply chain over the past couple of years which led to supplier and ingredient costs going through the roof. Getting the pricing right is always a challenge in any industry but it has been a particular concern over the past couple of years for many CPG brands.
The pandemic has also been challenging from a marketing perspective. Not being able to share samples with consumers or tell our story in front of people has been difficult from a brand awareness and loyalty point of view, but we are now thankfully starting to share our new positioning with consumers and rebuild the momentum we had pre-Covid.
Many of the other competitor dairy brands on the market tend to focus on the lactose-intolerance piece rather than being kinder to the tummy as a whole, and I believe that we are regaining strong momentum thanks to our new, more comprehensive approach that encompasses not only the customers health concerns relating to the tummy, but also appeals to the consumer’s core values around their strong belief in environmental, animal welfare, and community issues.
What advice would you give to yourself if you were to start over introducing ReThink into the dairy ice cream industry?
In the beginning stages of launching ReThink, I know now that I had a lot to learn in how to properly operate a brand, and have gone through several iterations to get the brand to where it is now. We didn’t properly target a specific market or core audience which is not a good idea when marketing and positioning a new CPG brand. I realise now that it could have been a stronger positioning from the beginning but better late than never. If I were to start over, I would leverage the expertise of a branding and marketing consultant from the beginning instead of trying to manage it all by myself.
Another piece of advice I would share is to focus your geography within a manageable radius and build the sales velocity out from there.
“In the beginning, the temptation to grow is prominent but the best way to grow is to start small (local) and build momentum outwards.”
When you have successful sales data from retailers to show other potential stores in new areas, it makes it easier for your brand to grow, albeit slowly, and some will even start reaching out to you. Growing fast is an exciting prospect but slower, more concentrated growth can be more sustainable in the long run. In our case, we are now working on becoming a top selling brand in California and Oregon retailers before moving to other territories.
What’s next for ReThink?
We hired a new flavour developer and food scientist several months back who has redesigned our flavouring compounds to include even higher quality and more sustainable ingredients that aligns with our new positioning. The flavors are fantastic and our base mix is now richer, creamier, and easier to scoop.
Our focus for 2022 will be to leverage our new positioning to build further momentum and sales velocity in retail and work on becoming one of the top 5 ice cream brands in our current stores across the West Coast. Beyond that, we will look to new territories for brand expansion as we build on the existing brand awareness and marketing with our new brand positioning.
As strong believers in collaboration over competition, we want to thank George from ReThink Ice Cream for sharing his brand repositioning learnings and insights with us and the ecosystem. We hope they help and inspire you to further grow your business as well.
If you are interested in connecting or partnering with ReThink Ice Cream, you can find more information on how to do that here.
If you have a solution or story that you would like to share with the ecosystem, reach out here.
Founded by former executives in the Ice Cream industry, INNODELICE aims to create a worldwide ecosystem of solutions within the frozen dessert industry. Thanks to the relationships fostered by INNODELICE, manufacturers, brands, importers, distributors and suppliers can discover, buy and sell solutions to GROW their business. These solutions include co-manufactured and branded products as well as innovative and competitive ingredients, packaging and services. Our collaboration model generates lower costs and fewer risks for our participating partners while optimising their time to market. To learn more about INNODELICE, contact Andrea MONTREUIL (email@example.com) or visit www.innodelice.com.