Brand Physical: Key Findings
Since 1972, New Jersey based Walden Farms - a family owned company - has been a leader in the healthy foods category, with three generations maintaining the highest possible quality standards while creating innovative lifestyle food choices. Walden Farms was among the first to bring delicious tasting reduced calorie and reduced fat Salad Dressings to healthy eaters more than 36 years ago.
"Reduced Calorie" was a brand promise that target consumers could understand and believe. But when Walden Farms Calorie Free Specialties expanded to the only complete line of over 50 different Salad Dressings, Sweet Syrups, Fruit Dips, Veggie & Chip Dips, BBQ Sauces, Ketchup and Pasta Sauces all with no calories, fat, carbs, gluten or sugars of any kind, it sounded to good to be true...and hard to believe.
And that was a problem...but not insurmountable.
• From "Reduced Calorie," Walden Farms then went on to ride the crest of the "Low-Carb" boom and survived, as their large base of loyal consumers migrated to the new expanded Walden Farms No Calorie, Fat, Carbs, Gluten or Sugar product line. They became loyal Brand Ambassadors spreading the word of the new Walden Farms.
• However, many new prospective target consumers needed an explanation of how it's possible, for example, that a Caesar Dressing or Caramel Fruit Dip could have no calories and taste delicious. • But who are the target consumers for Walden Farms? There are many. Those who want to...
• Eat healthy
• Maintain weight loss
• Lose weight
• Manage diabetes
• Avoid gluten intake
• While the Brand had broad pockets of coast-to-coast distribution, California and the East Coast represented strong regional consumer markets.
• As a family owned company, Walden Farms had a modest marketing budget compared to larger food corporations.
• In the B2B arena:
• Major regional retail chains and independent retailers who carried the original Walden Farms Reduced Calorie line transitioned with success to the No Calorie line, building sales and profits.
• New retailers began to recognize the value of Walden Farms unique Brand qualities, but the 500-pound gorillas like Wal-Mart had not yet come aboard.
• Walden Farms had not yet harnessed the expanding power of the Internet with its on-line store.
To leverage Walden Farms market position and accelerate it's success, the following Brand Core and strategies were defined:
Walden Farms is the only line of over 50 delicious foods all made with natural flavors and real ingredients, but no calories, fat, carbs, gluten or sugars of any kind.
Desired Brand Perception
By simply switching to Walden Farms, you can save hundreds of calories every day to help you achieve your healthy eating goals.
Brand Sweet Spot
Of the many options, two specialized audiences most in need of Walden Farms product benefits:
• Those on weight management programs
• Those suffering from diabetes
Walden Farms Unique Touch Point Map
The primary touch point for the large national audience focused on losing weight are the national weight management programs such as Weight Watchers and Curves. Those who need guidance in managing their diabetes turn to Registered Diabetes Educators and Nutritionists.
As such, Walden Farms focused its communication plan as follows.
Influencer Driven Communication Plan
To engage national unified groups of dedicated and likeminded dieters, Walden Farms expanded it long time relationship with Weight Watchers magazine:
• Expanding its media commitment to 12 months a year for continuous exposure and awareness building
• Developing a major presence in the magazine's new product feature page, "On The Watch" to introduce block buster new products such as calorie free MAYO and Whipped Peanut Spread
• Creating special classroom materials for the Weight Watchers meeting rooms
• Creating a relationship with Weight Watchers instructors in their special publication Thin Line
Walden Farms also formed a strategic relationship with Curves gyms to:
• Create a relationship with the national community of women who follow the Curves weight control and physical development programs.
• Participate in the Curves outreach to its members through manufacturer's direct mail coupon mailings and literature, and online promotions.
To help those managing diabetes limit their carbohydrate intake, Walden Farms also created a strong presence in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast and Diabetes Self Management, and established a sampling program for the patients of Diabetes Educators.
And to extended the brand's awareness into all corners of good nutrition, Walden Farms formed relationships with Today's Dietitian, instituting a patient's sampling program, and direct to consumers in Today's Diet & Nutrition
Furthermore, Walden Farms leveraged its budget by participating in a national high-impact Lifetime TV Network program, The Balancing Act, reaching 93,000,000 households. The Balancing Act is composed of five 5-minute segments of "soft infomercials" for various products and services. In this extended format, Walden Farms reached a vast national audience several times, and to strengthen its influencer program engaged a leading national nutritionist, Dr. Janet Brill, to explain the Walden Story. This program delivered thousands of visitors to a special landing page and "Buy One Get One Free Offer" just for them.
At every touch point, consumers were directed to Waldenfarms.com.
Strategic Creative Development
To give prospective target consumers a reason to believe that Walden Farms specialties are delicious, but have no calories, fat, carbs, gluten or sugars of any kind the key objective of the creative executions was to explain how that is possible:
• Great taste, no calories - how do we do it? Concentrated Natural Flavors. Walden Farms irresistibly sweet calorie free specialties are prepared with ingredients such as real fruit flavors, premium natural cocoa, real chocolate and other natural ingredients, all sweetened with Splenda.
• Walden Farms tasty, savory specialties are prepared with ingredients such as dozens of freshly ground herbs and spices, the finest aged imported and domestic vinegars, soy sauce, lemon juice, natural blue cheese, Dijon mustard, crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, sliced onion and other concentrated natural flavors.
• There are no artificial colors or flavors.
This explanation was the foundation for every brand message.
All creative executions delivered a powerful consumer benefit:
• "Simply by switching, you can easily save 330 calories a day, 10,000 calories a month to lose 34 pounds a year...The Walden Way"
• Every creative execution demonstrated how many calories could be saved compared to competitive brands. For example:
• Save 400 calories compared to regular Mayonnaise when making tuna salad
• Save over 800 calories compared to regular peanut butter and jelly when making a classic PB&
Strategic Creative Tactics
Develop a totally new Walden Farms web site to:
• Reinforce the new Brand Promise on every page
• Utilize mouthwatering food preparation images to communicate the appetite appeal of each product
• Continually demonstrate the calorie savings of each product
• Provide complete nutritional information for every product to further support the Brand Promise
• Leverage the third party endorsements of satisfied Walden Farms consumer reviews
• Install a state of the art Shopping Cart to facilitate online purchases
• Include a robust "store finder" to support retailer relationships and drive business to retailers point of purchase
• Develop an SEO program to propel Walden Farms organically to the top half of page one of search engines.
• Create a CRM program to capture the growing community of visitors and purchase at the Walden Farms web site.
• Launch a "Recipe E-Blast" program to Walden Farms opted-in community.
• Develop a "Carb Control E-Blast" program to a development list of opted-in diabetes sufferers.
• Close the advertising/marketing loop by providing retailers with an on-going shipper program to create dynamic brand sales at the point of purchase
Since Strategic Thunder has become a member of the Walden Farms team 3 years ago, together we have achieved the following:
• An minimum of 10% growth each year including 2008, and continued growth in 2009
• Based on trackable unique internet sales, a 630% return on the investment in the Balancing Act Program
• Based on trackable internet sales, a 286 % return on investment in the Carb Control E-blast program to the diabetes market
• The addition of Wal-Mart and other major retailers
• Page-1 organic listing for almost every of Walden Farms 50 products
Strategic Thunder is very honored to have this relationship with such a progressive and fine manufacturing and marketing company as Walden Farms.