Hi, I’m Elias, and I belong to generation Y. I so happen to work in the same company as Joeri, and thus have the privilege of sharing some of my thoughts via this blog with you today. If you’d like to get in touch about this or something else (I love coffee!), find me on twitter via @eliasveris.
I love a good story. A story that resonates, that I can identify with. That’s probably why I love the story of innocent drinks, that’s probably used in every class on entrepreneurship. Just in case you would like to refresh your memory, here is the story in 4 sentences: A couple of young guys with an entrepreneurial spirit decide to start their own business in 1988 (when I was 3 years old and still enjoyed matchbox cars), and come up with the idea of making smoothies.So they get a booth at a music festival in London and £ 500 in fruit, and put up a large banner asking “should we quit our day jobs to make smoothies for a living”? Underneath it, they had a bin with YES and a bin with NO, where the people at the festival could drop their empty bottles. At the end of the day, the YES bin was full, and so they totally went for it.
I really like this story, because I can identify with (or at least aspire to) being a young entrepreneurial guy. I like the grassroots creative way of doing market research. I like music festivals. Perfect mix, right? What the difference is between this brand, and a zillion other brands that have a great story behind their foundation, is that this spirit still seems to influence a whole lot of things in the company today… And that is exactly what illustrates the component of Realness (capital-letter-realness indeed!) in this brand. Even if you don’t know the back-story, and a lot of normal people don’t, they have a bunch of ‘authentic habits’ as described in the HCBSH-book. To pick one of them, the love for their craft is illustrated duly on the innocent packs. The packaging claims that 1) innocent only uses whole fruits, 2) never uses concentrated juices (‘because they add nothing to the taste’ – I have no clue whether that’s true, but hey, you guys sound authentic, so I’ll believe you!), and that 3) they always do a special, secret dance in front of the fruit to make it taste real nice. They also indicate that one of the 3 claims might not be entirely true…
This brings me to the next capital-letter word: Happiness! If you have an innocent-pack lying around, take some time to explore it. It’s like the packaging equivalent of Easter eggs! In the ingredient list, it consequently lists the number of fruits the pack contains. It goes “16 strawberries, 2 apples, 2 bananas,… 0 plastic ducks”. Best joke in the world? Not really. Worth a smile on a Sunday-morning breakfast moment? Definitely! Looking at the bottom of the pack rewards you with “what’s up? The other end, that’s what’s up!”. And there is more, much more happiness to be found on their packs. Stuff that illustrates how packaging can be an experience. Stuff that shows Innocent understood that happiness comes through gratification. It’s not a simple pleasure to see the pack, I need to study it. I need to find all Easter-egg jokes in order to enjoy myself. Yesterday, a friend visited, and I showed her the pack. She totally loved it, and even found a couple of jokes that I didn’t see before.
It’s an happiness-arousing something, it’s enduring (and not one-shot) and engaging, it’s shareable and stimulates word-of-mouth AND it’s branded. Sounds like every marketers briefing to an ad agency, right? And it’s just a pack.
One more thing to close with: if you’ve read HCBSH, you came across a page that discusses a bunch of mistakes that innocent made, including miscommunication about their carbon footprint and a deal with McDonalds. Stuff that I definitely don’t like, and that do put pressure on the Realness of the brand. At this point, they’ve got enough credit on my account (which could lead us to Self-Identification, but we’ve had enough capital-letter-words for now), but I suggest they watch their steps. So will I. Throwing in another joke on the pack won’t work this time!