Growth Platform & Repositioning




Creating a platform for international growth

In 2012, The HMT was hired by Oatly’s owner and board to lead their repositioning to create a platform for international growth. At the time, Oatly was an undifferentiated Swedish oat milk producer with unclear and inconsistent messaging. Today a global brand. A leading disrupting brand in the category and an inspiration for many.

Together with HMT, we at Oatly have chartered, analysed, defined and successfully implemented an excellent and value-creating brand positioning.”
– Mats Hallkvist, Chairman 2012, Oatly

The post milk generation Oatly

The Challenge

Already in 2012, Oatly was a well-established Swedish brand in the dairy-free niche category. But when the market started to grow, they struggled to carve out a distinct position and became one of many plant-based brands. Were they for consumers who couldn’t digest lactose? Or were they for consumers seeking heart health claims? Or was there a bigger purpose behind Oatly?

The real challenge was that we started to behave like a generic brand and compete on price without being able to leverage our uniqueness
Björn Öste, co-founder and co-owner of Oatly

The Solution

Oatly’s board and management team were guided by our FourFactors® approach. The analysis showed clearly that the strength of Oatly was not in the science but in the purpose behind the science. What resonated with consumers was the founder’s vision to develop better milk, milk that was better for both humans and our planet. The repositioning was based on the fact that Oatly was in the business of change, which very much differentiated them from the competitors.

Oatly it's like milk but made for humans
The Oatly way

The Result

The Oatly Way.

Oatly is today a brand positioned as a leader in the global Lifestyle of vegan and vegetarianism. The Oatly Way is a positive affirmation that plant-based choices are a sustainable shortcut to a healthier planet and a healthier you. Since the brand repositioning, Oatly has broken sales record after sales record and has also attracted international owners to finance its further global expansion. Oatly is today a highly successful international brand available in over 20 countries and counting.

Our Methodology

The Brand Torch: how to define the position and the expression of a purpose-driven brand

The torch is the name of HMT’s proprietary brand definition model, where the torch represents the two parts of the Brand Positioning Blueprint: The robust handle as the solid position and the flame as the inspiring expression. Both are guarded by the board and given to the CEO, who shall carry the torch. But it is the source of the brand that makes the difference when you have a purpose-driven brand like Oatly. The source is where the values and ethics of the brand live, which makes it critical to anchor this in the corporation. The brand source is what brings the fire to the torch and enables the very strong creative expressions and activities of the brand.

Brand Torch for purpose-driven brands

How can we help?

Are you a change-maker in your area? Do you have a similar challenge as Oatly? Contact us here and let us show you how we can create change together.