“Consumer perceptions of health and macro-nutrition are really changing and shifting to become a bigger, more holistic approach to wellness … that goes beyond just the physical needs of the body to include the metaphysical emotional needs,” Jeanne Wilson, associated director of brand marketing at Kashi, told FoodNavigator-USA.
She explained that while three out of four consumers still view protein as very important, they increasingly think about the macro nutrient not just in terms of what it can do for their bodies but what it allows them to do with their lives by providing “powerful sustenance and energy” to do the activities they love.
As such, Kashi decided the word ‘lean,’ and what it represents, “was weighing down the brand because it has more of a perception of diet, which is not really part of our consumers’ vernacular anymore.”
She added that Kashi’s main consumer is now focused more on lifestyle, which the brand decided it could better access by playing up the word ‘Go’ in the new branding.
As Wilson points out, the company “didn’t stop with just lopping off the word ‘lean’” from its product name. Rather, she notes, “we were inspired to reach farther” and position ‘Go’ as an optimistic and energizing brand that plays to consumers’ holistic perception of physical and mental wellness.
The brand did this by stylizing the word ‘Go’ on the package to look like an infinity symbol with an arrow to metaphorically represent the “continuous energy that you get from eating these products and the momentum you get from it and to show how [the brand] really just helps you keep doing more of what you love with that powerful sustenance that is provides,” Wilson said.
As consumers look closer at the logo they also will see a motivational word in the center of the ‘O’ in ‘Go,’ which again plays to research that shows the connection between mental and physical wellness, Wilson said.
“We looked through some research that showed the power of words in driving positivity … and thought there was an opportunity to really set the stage for a positive outlook in the day” by choosing words such as ‘rise’ or ‘crush’ or ‘wonder’ to create an emotional response and make positive connection for consumers with the brand and their overall outlook, Wilson explained.
“I know it is a leap for some people. They asked, ‘You are doing what with a cereal box?’ and we are like, ‘Yes! We are going to take cereal to another level because we think it is a powerful way to start your day,’ she added.
‘You don’t undertake rebranding lightly’
While rebrands can be exciting and full of potential, they also run the risk of confusing consumers who have acclimated to a certain look and who might not recognize the new name or package. To counter this risk, Kashi maintained many familiar visual elements and this week kicked off a national marketing campaign to support the new branding.
“You don’t undertake rebranding lightly. We went through lots of research to tell us we had a low risk from the change, but we were also very strategic in how we changed it,” Wilson said. “So, you can see that we maintained a good amount of the equities while we changed the branding.”
For example, the brand kept the white blocking, and the key colors along the bottom of the boxes that signify to consumers the different flavors and type of cereal, she said.
As the new packaging filters on store shelves, the company also has turned on a national television ad campaign, full social media campaign – complete with contests and the use of micro-influencers – in addition to in-store activation and sampling.
“A lot of those tactics will reach our loyalists and say, ‘Hey, we haven’t changed anything except our brand and we are super excited about it. So, a new look but the same great recipe,’” said Wilson.
New products expand the brand’s reach
Along with the rebranding, Kashi launched several new products, including a new cereal and a trio of bars.
Kashi GO’s Maple Brown Sugar Flakes & Clusters is unique in that it is a new format for the company’s line-up, which is dominated by cluster cereals, and because its flakes offer a “lighter, crispier eat versus a hard cluster,” which is hard to achieve with high-protein foods, Wilson said.
A serving of the cereal delivers 10 grams of plant-based protein from pumpkin seeds, lentils, peas and quinoa. This is balanced with a ‘hint’ of brown sugar in a two to one ratio of protein to sugar, which Wilson said, “hits the sweet spot.”
The new bars also pack a plant-based protein punch with 12 grams per serving and ‘single digit sugar’ at 6 grams. The bars come in three flavors – Crunchy Peanuts + Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate +Almonds+Sea Salt, and Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter.
The brand hopes to differentiate its bars in a highly competitive space by playing up the position of mind, body and spirit, Wilson said.