For the juice and flavored water brand good2grow, vice president Edzra Gibson says, the marketing shift from children to parents “has been a tough challenge,” but one it appears to have cracked successfully based on its 300% increase in online sales and rebounding in-store velocities since the pandemic began.
He explained to FoodNavigator-USA that the magic marketing formula combines digital marketing that balances selling to parents with being a resource for them, “scrappy” in-store displays by a fast-moving sales team and a new app for children that brings the brand’s products to life as an experience.
A new target demographic
Historically, good2grow approached marketing from the eyes of children – appealing to them in store with collectable, reusable bottles that featured characters from their favorite movies, shows and story books.
“We were used as something special that when kids went to the grocery store with their parents, sometimes against their will, they could look forward to as a special treat” for behaving, but since the coronavirus outbreak began, the “family experience in stores has changed” to the point it often no longer exists, Gibson said.
But, he added, the need to reward, surprise and encourage good behavior remains. In fact, he said, it may be even more prominent now than before the pandemic as parents try to balance working from home with being their children’s primary educator and entertainer day in and out.
Recognizing this need, Gibson said, good2grow has tried to create a “holistic resource for parents,” by giving them tools to entertain their children as well as a better-for-you drink with no sugar added or artificial ingredients that they can feel good about giving their kids.
For example, when states first began to lockdown, the brand created a virtual puppet show online to help parents entertain their children on a Sunday afternoon. It also offered ideas and free resources through social media for parents to entertain their children by bringing to life the characters on the brand’s packaging.
The brand also launched an app that helps bring to life the characters on the packages. Children can scan their bottles and see video clips or hear the character. The app also includes games that can help keep children entertained – giving parents a potentially much-needed few minutes to focus on something else.
“Our core DNA is as a delighter, of something special,” so we want to remind parents that in these trying times we are still a resource in their wheelhouse to make their children happy, Gibson said. Likewise, he said, by positioning the products as a helpful tool, the brand also subtly shifted its core positioning from an impulse item to a beverage parents add to their lists before heading to the store.
At the same time, the brand continued to play heavily to its impulse-purchase roots through new geotargeted ads that reminded parents in grocery stores to pick up their beverages and “bring home a smile” to their children.
The brand also appealed to parents in stores with displays that doubled as a helpful space-filler for retailers struggling to keep shelves full during the height of the pantry loading phase of the pandemic.
“One of the things that was an odd side effect of all the panic buying is retailers had a lot of empty space, particularly early on during the shelter-in-place. … We pivoted really quickly and our sales force was able to go in and fill those areas with displays and a lot of retailers thanked us for that because were able to provide a productive space where it used to be empty for our retail partners,” Gibson said.
Through the combination of displays and digital advertising, Gibson said, good2grow is starting to see its velocities increase into the range it would expect if children were still going to stores and asking parents to buy the beverages.
Expanded online distribution
Historically, online marketing was not a large part of good2grow’s portfolio, but as more consumers shifted to ecommerce to avoid stores during the pandemic, the brand did, too, Gibson said.
“We have been really delighted in the growth we have seen on our Amazon business. We are up 300% here during this current period versus the prior,” Gibson said.
He attributed the online sales growth to the companies renewed focus on digital advertising, partnering with different influencers and showing the different ways children and families can engage with the brand.
Ultimately, Gibson said, the brand’s success at shifting its marketing to parents has allowed the brand to take a “more well-rounded approach to our marketing and mindset” that he said will help the brand continue to grow even after the pandemic ends.
“It has been a tough challenge, I’m not going to lie, but it is something we are learning every day,” he said.