Be Afraid of What Isn’t Scary

LOV2746 Love Child Brand ID4

A little while ago a couple from Whistler came to see us about doing some package design and branding for a line of premium priced, high quality organic baby food. They had a name for it. It was OK. But we changed it.

This business of marketing gorges itself on jargon: Differentiation, niche, point-of-difference, positioning. Rather than clear all those charge-by-the buzzword terms I’d like to add one: Undull. Undull, it’s a verb, it’s an adjective. And it’s important because so much of what we experience in the world has been focus-grouped, committee-d and job-security-ed into drowsy submission.

My wife and I used to celebrate the fact that we always agreed on paint colours. Until we realized that we were painting all the rooms in our house different shades of beige. Sure we fought a lot when we repainted, but our place looks great.

Here at Spring we use a motivation exercise called think/feel/do. As in, what does the target audience think? And how can we impact that thinking? What do they feel? And can we have a hand in that? And finally, what will they do? And can we get them to do something? And what is that? Think. Feel. Do.

We’ll start with an insight on our premium baby food target audience and go from there.

Insight: “First Born” is an important concept. It is the point when parents care the most about getting it right. It’s when they take the most photos, install the best car seat with the most care and put the most effort into parenting. I can tell you as a three-time parent, it’s pretty much downhill from there.

So? Anyone who pays a premium price for baby food is probably a first time parent. Yes I know, there will be second and third time parents etc. remember your marketing 101, secondary target audiences are superfluous to focus.


Note: Please forgive the attempts at a comedic tone here; case studies can be a little tedious without it.

Think: “We must have the very best quality, safest and most nutritious baby food in the world for the very best baby we’ve ever had.”

Feel: “We used to be cool. We were a couple. We hung out in cool places, we were individuals! And we just fell in love with this beautiful little person. But please, don’t bury us in a minivan. Yet.”

Do: “Let’s buy baby food and stuff that reflects our newly discovered two-is-now-three-ness.”

Now let’s go back to the beige paint. Don’t want beige? Get your brave pants on.

Too many brands drop dead. Actually they were born that way. They weren’t different enough, they didn’t stand out. Nobody took a chance, nobody got into an argument. They were conceived in a committee and gestated in a focus group.

Taking the Undull Route.

We decided to call the baby food something kind of out-there and controversial. At the same time it had to be descriptive. We went back to our imagined parents, two individuals on a new frontier of love and fear.

We dealt with love by creating a brand that was loving. We dealt with fear by making it a clean and trustworthy package and design that projected purity, nutrition and confidence. And we found a name that felt iconoclastic and strangely, controversial. And individualistic. We wanted our audience to feel like they were doing something cool when they picked the package up off the shelf. We wanted them feel like they’d want to show it off in their pantry.

Love Child. Like the song about illegitimate children. It scared the hell out of us. But it was perfect.

Thank God for John and Leah. Two people who had risked everything to start up a baby food company that they could believe in with their whole hearts. The name scared them too. And they knew that if they wanted to break though the massive barriers from packaged-good idea to packaged-good on shelf, they needed something of a wrecking ball. It worked. Big time. Walmart North America big time.

Last week the Vancouver Sun reported that Love Child went on Dragon’s Den and won the largest investment in the show’s history. Congratulations to John and Leah. They are bound for brand and business glory. Because they knew to be afraid of what isn’t scary.


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