Stonyfield Farm - classic brand building ~ Brand Mix

Monday, November 12, 2007

Stonyfield Farm - classic brand building

I was pleased to see Stonyfield Farm make the top 10 of Landor's 2007 Breakway Brands study.

A few years back I was researching the U.S. yogurt market for a European dairy company that imagined, in a rather stereotypical "the Americans don't know anything about quality food" way, that there might be an opportunity for them in the market. Turned out that the market was already doing quite well without them and that Stonyfield Farm was one of the driving forces.

It's been a classic brick-by-brick brand building story. Starting as an organic farming school, the company originally sold yogurt just to fund the school's programs. Today it's the world's leading organic yogurt maker and although, it's now 85% owned by Danone, still retains its reputation as a category innovator and doer of good deeds, keeping credible its "Healthy food for healthy people and a healthy planet" tagline.

Stonyfield Farm benefited from being in the right place at the right time. Its rise coincided with the rise of Whole Foods so getting distribution there first gave it a safe haven from the major players (as well as reinforcing its "natural" credentials). However, unlike many of the other natural food manufacturers that sprang up around this time, it has succeeded in making the jump into the mainstream grocery market.

As the Landor study confirms, Stonyfield Farm evolution from niche player to power brand continues to move along very nicely.

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