How Brand Focus can be the best Brand Strategy
One of the most powerful truisms of branding is; ‘You can’t be all things to all people’. Yet when we think about the supermarket category, and even the innovations in this space of convenience stores, mini-supermarkets and boutique supermarkets, they continue to offer as broad-a-variety of products as possible to meet the needs of as many different consumers as possible. Indeed, target audiences for Supermarkets are more about geographical location than anything else. But Veganz, the world’s first all-vegan supermarket breaks that mould.
Founded in 2011 by Jan Bredack, a former Mercedes-Benz exec., there are over 10 locations of the brand currently open across Europe in cities like Berlin, Munich, Prague and Vienna and plans to launch in the US with a first store in Portland, Oregon. Bredack became a vegan in 2009 and found shopping for plant-based food in his home country of Germany an ordeal. As you’d expect from such a clear-cut consumer value proposition, Veganz stock an incredibly wide range of vegan goods: from ‘cheeses’, ‘meats’ and ‘fish’, to egg substitutes, vegan biscuits, snacks and ice cream, as well as environmentally friendly toiletries and cosmetics. For the vegan target market, who are typically starved for choice in many of these regular supermarket categories the concept must seem like manna from heaven.
Most interesting though, Bredack estimates that 80 percent of his customers are not vegan nor vegetarian. Veganz appeals as much to the consumer trend of eating better as it does to the vegan and vegetarian consumer. We often talk to clients about brand focus and specifically that positioning your brand as specialists in your category does not mean you wont attract customers and clients who sit adjacent to your focused target audience. As Veganz are demonstrating with their launch into the market, this is especially the case when your differentiated value proposition places you at the apex of a consumer trend. Not surprisingly it turns out that a vegan brand proposition also positions Veganz as a leader in the much larger ‘healthy eating’ category, a position the general supermarkets with their ‘Health Food’ isle can not possibly compete with.
In order to stock such a comprehensive range of products Veganz imports from 30 countries around the world. As the brand grows and its relationship with its consumers matures from the ‘honeymoon phase’ to the more cynical ‘marriage phase’ it will be interesting to see if this approach causes tension with the same target audiences for whom many find ‘air miles’ to be issue that also drives what they choose to consume.
Showing his entrepreneurial credentials, Bredack has plans for a vegan restaurant and a clothing store as well as a Veganz food truck that will sell vegan hot dogs, bratwurst and burgers at festivals, music and sporting events around Europe – brilliant brand engagement activities one and all.
For all brands, including market leaders, but especially those starting-up or challenging for market dominance, Veganz demonstrates the strategy of brand focus. Identifying a niche community who is poorly catered to and building an offer around their needs provides for an intensely loyal core customer community and when positioned right, also a broader audience who see you as aspirational experts.
Pics courtesy Veganz