Natures PathNorth America’s largest organic cereal brand, Nature’s Path Organic, has unleashed its first integrated multi-channel consumer campaign, and yielded impressive sales results while fomenting cultural change. Nature’s Path is serving its cereal with a generous and delicious topping of sustainability. Read about their breakthrough sustainable brand campaign.

by Cecilia Lu, Founder and Co-owner of Kiwano Marketing. Get social: Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook.

The first workshop seminar I attended yesterday at Sustainable Brands ’10, Breaking Through the Green Clutter: Examining the Internals of a Breakthrough Sustainable Brand Campaign, was a fitting and exciting start to The Conference.  Maria Emmer-Aanes, Director of Marketing,with Canadian company, Nature’s Path, who works for one of my favorite sustainable brands, like me, made the trip down from Vancouver to run a joint session with their branding agency, Egg USA. I love this presentation format. It’s not just the marketer commenting about their work in glowing terms. By co-presenting with Maria Emmer-Aanes, Director of Marketing & Communications at Nature’s Path, Egg executives Marty McDonald and Hilary Bromberg, were able to showcase two important factors:

  1. The value the client perceived from bringing in expert consultants
  2. Nature’s Path genuine passion and raison d’etre: bringing sustainable agriculture in the world

As an advocate for open transparency in marketing strategies, I fully agree with this type of case study. We’re certainly past the stage were brands can afford to be a one-way directional broadcast. The part that made the most impression on me was not among the realms of PowerPoint statistics, but in the personal stories given by each of the presenters – the strongest among them being Maria’s uncompromising view of Nature’s Path’s mission and core values.

The Problem: Nature’s Path brand did not correspond with the company’s positioning inside an increasingly crowded cereal space. Initial focus groups keyed in on the fact that consumers felt the company gave off corporate vibes.

The Solution: Nature’s Path, an independent, family-owned company, was poised to own sustainability. They were (and are) doing so many good things inside the company (read more by visiting their website), but weren’t communicating what they were doing to their stakeholders.

Instead of focusing solely on the sustainable angle, however, Nature’s Path truly came to life when their inner company’s culture became part of the brand. All subsequent marketing campaigns embodied a ‘quirkily beautiful’ image which further differentiated Nature’s Path from the crowded cereal space. How they did it combined the very best of guerrilla marketing techniques and social media. One of the best examples given: goodwill campaign ads on Vancouver’s new skytrain line for the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Nature's Path Skytrain Ad Campaign(Photo credit Nature’s Path – special thanks to Kylie for sending this over)

This, combined with coffeeshop takeovers, sampling, tongue-in-cheek advertising, and wide engagement on social media platforms (including an active blog, a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook), allowed them to communicate outside of their core audience to the everyday consumer concerned with health and tasty cereal.

I’m glad to see Nature’s Path has no intentions of losing its indie vibe as it grows and will be listening to their existing customers for what works— this will enable the company to grow hand-in-hand with stakeholders and retain what makes them so unique. Their “Path to Sustainability” quiz is a good starting point for beginning the conversation, and I look forward to the unveiling of their full rebranding and more customer stories on their Eat Well/Do Good website platform.  See more of The Path to Sustainability” concept.

© 2010, Cecilia Lu. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Cecilia Lu (2 Articles)

Cecilia Lu is the founder and co-owner of Kiwano Marketing, a green marketing agency dedicated the development of sustainable businesses and practices. As the Networking Ninja of Kiwano Marketing, her passion is forging relationships through a mix of public relations and social media. Cecilia has worked primarily with startups and non-profits in the past, and is well-versed in taking a big idea and small budget to the next level. Her years of experience in the ever-growing social media field provide valuable expertise for small businesses in both the strategy and implementation stages. The Ninja's drink of choice is a good single malt whisky. Get social: twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook