A Product Never Before Seen This Side of the Atlantic by Flavia Barbat
Greek yogurt stand aside because a new healthy dairy product has now made its way across the Atlantic. Coming to us from Germany, quark is not something that many Americans are accustomed to–most of them have probably never even heard of it. However, it is renowned on the European continent for its nutritional qualities and that is one of the things that new quark brand, Elli, wishes to be recognized for. The product’s launch is brought to US soil by PS Let’s Eat and McLean Design, Inc., who executed the image, positioning, packaging design, sales materials, website design and content strategy for the novel brand.
Taking the German quark-making process and incorporating it into a brand specifically designed for the American market, the two companies faced various obstacles common to the development of a new product. According to Preya Patel Bhakta, Elli’s founder, the development strategy involved a trip to Germany during which the team studied all aspects of quark presentation; they witnessed how the item is made, packaged and marketed, along with the ways in which consumers eat and use the product. They were intrigued by the omnipresence of quark and how its multiplicity of uses lead it to become Germany’s leading dairy commodity. Indeed, quark can be employed in a lot of one’s cooking, whether it’s making pasta sauce rich and creamy, topping your baked potato, spreading it on a bagel or transforming it into dips and dressings.
The Elli team went to Germany, the quark Mecca, in order to study the entire creation process from scratch.
However, the branding strategy in Germany could not be reproduced here in the US. First of all, the packaging of quark in Germany is extremely similar to the packaging of tofu (square and plastic) in America–something that would make large-scale acceptance of the product impossible. The other style of quark packaging involves a cup with a foil lid, something along the lines of our dips and spreads in the US, which also would not work because of the difference in shelf presentation that the product would receive. Therefore, as Bhakta mentions, the team decided to package Elli in a way analogous to that of yogurts; not only does that align well with the existing popularity of Greek yogurt, but it also showcases the quark (alien to the US) as a spoonable single serve.
Now, the product does come from Europe, which is already considered a set of health-conscious countries in comparison to the States, but the Elli team decided to take the concept a step further by forgoing the addition of any extra sugars to its flavors. Also, in hopes of being considered a supporter of decreasing the obesity in this country, Elli presents its healthiness right on the packaging itself, with three little circles dedicated to the low number of calories, nonexistence of fat and high amount of protein. Jane Wight, senior designer at McLean Design, explains that, “By boldly calling out Elli’s beneficial qualities on the front panel, we reinforce the honest, straightforward vision of the brand. We also provide distinct nutritional information for today’s data-driven consumers who actively seek smarter solutions.”
Wight continues with an elaboration on the design process, itself. The team wished to create an image that was approachable and friendly, so as to offset the foreignness of the product. Hence, the packaging includes simple typography, a lot of white space and flat illustrations; more so, the teal color was chosen to be “vibrant, modern and healthy” and, not only fit within the dairy section, but also stand out as the best option.
Elli captures a youthful, forward-thinking aesthetic.That helps it differentiate from typical dairy products, which are good for you but not actively healthy like quark. — McLean Design
Lastly, Wight links the brand’s name, elli, with an honest and down-to-earth persona, along with revealing a hope that the product will forge a link between the consumer at the dairy shelf and the original farm.
And that is not all the name is meant to represent. It is also a reference to German mythological times in which Elli is the goddess of old age and ends up winning a wrestling match against the incredibly strong Thor. The simplicity of the brand’s name, mixed with the wholeheartedness mentioned in the previous paragraph and the mythological character’s healthiness, architects an image that supports everything from the product’s beneficial qualities to its approachable personality.
With a name as meaningful as that, the Elli team has a lot to work with throughout the rest of its marketing strategy. A great example is the brand’s website, which the team plans on utilizing as a tool for teaching the unaware American market about the various uses of quark. If there is one thing to say about a successful product launch (regardless of what industry it stems from), it is that it usually integrates the concept of teaching the audience something and, preferably, something new. This informative role is one that Elli plans on incorporating throughout its public relations strategy and will probably remain at the forefront of its priorities while the product remains new in the marketplace.
So as Elli makes its way into the shelves of Whole Foods (a big success for the brand), Ralph’s, Albertsons and other notable retailers, the value of quark will hopefully be discovered and widely accepted. And PS Let’s Eat (along with McLean Design, Inc.) hopes that Elli’s brand value will increase at an equally-rapid pace.
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