Redefining a disruptive brand
WhatIF Foods does more than just selling plant-based foods. Their mission is to offer the next generation of foods and reinvent the whole food system from the ground up, category by category. At the heart of the company, there was the idea of “360° sustenance”, a concept that enables to offer nutritious food coming from diversified and indigenous crops that are climate-resilient, resource-efficient, and at the same time, support local farmers and their communities.
”Grounded on profound knowledge, armed with lots of experience, an energetic youth, and equipped with an efficient process, the HMT team invested time, empathy and professional rigour into listening to our story, our way, our passion.”
– Chris Langwallner, Founder & CEO WhatIF Foods
With a big purpose that spans the whole value chain from farming via production to the end products, WhatIF Foods develops products from the forgotten crop bambara groundnut, sourced from local farming communities in West Africa.
#1: the company had a complex corporate structure with many communication messages. We needed to create internal alignment to build a strong brand.
#2: WhatIF Foods planned to launch in the US, and with the brand rooted in Asia, the target consumer and their motivations are most likely different. So how to activate the brand in the US?
The brand had to be optimised to ensure that the brand purpose and the storytelling were cutting through, disruptive and differentiating from all other plant-based brands.
The solution was to create a big idea that enabled dramatising the founding purpose “sustainability is not enough, we must regenerate”, and starting a movement that engages consumers in the necessity to transform the whole food system.
#1: Brand Repositioning
WhatIF Foods repositioning enables them to connect to a consumer movement of those who are hungry for more in life, giving hope to their future by making regenerative practices enter the consumer’s world and relevant in everyday life. The WhatIF Way as defined in the HMT workshops helps promote the regenerative lifestyle which enables to replenish our body
with great nutrients, to restore our land and reconnect with the farming communities.
#2: Brand Communication
The insight behind the communication idea is that it is not the planet that needs saving. It is we, humans, whose future needs to be saved. The communication idea for entering the US is built around the insight that younger consumers are frightened for the(ir) future and WhatIF Foods is there to “create lust for life” – for the planet (restoring biodiversity and soil health) and in consumers’ daily lives (having a sense of freedom and flexibility to do what you want to do and go where you want to go).
The BrandTorch: 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 WhatIF Foods. 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.
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