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Post Written By Sandie Glass, Owner of Innovation ROI

A Strategic Full Service Ideation & Research Company

Natural

We continue to zip through our dictionary to bring you inspiration for creating new ideas! We are now on the letter “N” from our A-Z of Creativity and today we have the word NATURAL to explore!
NATURAL is defined as “existing in or formed by nature” or “having undergone little or no processing and containing no chemical additives.” Other words include “unaffected, genuine, spontaneous, unmannered.”

So let’s get this conversation started! One can be a NATURAL at sports or playing the piano by ear. But for ideation sake, let’s utilize the definition that has turned this term from niche market to a mainstream mega trend – genuine, having undergone little or no processing and containing no chemical additives. That’s what consumers want to buy and it has inspired many new businesses and products to exist from toothpaste to clothing lines. Fruits and vegetables in the produce section used to be our only definition of natural, but now we have segmented natural so we can know “how natural is it” with Organic continuing to gain momentum in the playing field. But don’t let me digress, let’s continue on our original path to explore NATURAL.

NATURAL makes me think of brown, unbleached copy paper. It takes me outdoors to orange groves, blue skies, babbling brooks, and whispering winds. Stop one minute and think about your consumer. When it comes to your product or the category, what is your consumer looking for when it comes to NATURAL? Think about one specific element like the ingredient or the texture or the fragrance? What would make your product more NATURAL? Are there ingredients in your product that the normal person can’t even pronounce? Could you change out those ingredients with ones that are recognizable? Replacing high-fructose corn syrup with raw sugar or salt with sea salt just might be the breakthrough you need. Or would you be better off reducing the number of ingredients in your product to simplify the product? Would this action not only change your brand, would it transform the category? Think about ingredients, technologies, textures, benefits, packaging – how can you inject NATURAL into your product equation? If you happen to be in a category where it seems impossible for your brand to be entirely NATURAL, would putting it in a glass mason jar give it that NATURAL ‘feel?’

Here are some examples of executing the concept of NATURAL:

 

• Häagen-Dazs Five– Häagen-Dazs already has a great product portfolio, but when looking at a NATURAL innovation platform they realized that it doesn’t take too many ingredients to create a great-tasting product. Häagen-Dazs Five is an all-NATURAL ice cream crafted with only five ingredients for incredibly pure, balanced flavor… and surprisingly less fat! What a great bonus benefit for taking a more NATURAL product stance!

• Evian Water – All-NATURAL and perfectly pure, this bottled mineral water comes from the French Alps. I love how they describe the product on their website:

“Each drop of evian starts as rain and melting snow on the peaks of the Northern Alps. It filters through layers of glacial sand on a 15+ year journey deep in the heart of the mountains. Through this process, evian is filtered naturally, without chemicals, giving it the purity, mineral content, and taste that nature intended.”

And you thought all water was created equal! Now how can you drink anything more NATURAL than that!

• Frito-Lay – At the end of 2010, Frito-Lay announced plans to make 50% of its product portfolio with all-NATURAL ingredients. In order to prevent quick reaction from competition, they set out to do this huge re-launch simultaneously across their brands. This included all flavors of Lay’s potato chips, Tostitos tortilla chips, SunChips multigrain snacks, Baked! snacks and Rold Gold pretzels. Part of this re-launch involved the now famous SunChips biodegradable bag which we are told will fully decompost in 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost bin or pile.

• Arm & Hammer Baking Soda – Using one NATURAL product, they were able to create a multi-brand franchise by capitalizing on the versatile benefits this NATURAL product provided and incorporating it into multiple products and categories. From baking to freshening, toothpaste to cleaning products, this NATURAL product just keeps delivering the goods.

We hope we have given you some ways to incorporate NATURAL into your brand. Why not set up a quick 30-minutes this week to re-read this post and begin working on a NATURAL strategy for your product line. You never know, one small change could possibly transform the category! Put yourself in your consumers’ shoes and think about what they would want to be more NATURAL when it comes to your product. Good luck with your ideas!

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