A 2011 Edison Awards finalist; one of Time magazine’s ‘50 Best Innovations’ of the year; the host of the Sustainable Squeeze Pack Summit. No, these are not national brands. Rather, they are challenger brands-small, independent companies that are using innovative packaging and marketing techniques to put their brands on the map.
Thanks to Twitter, Facebook and networking sites like American Express’ OPEN Forum, they’re doing it on what is a relative shoestring budget.
Case in point: the five companies featured in this month’s cover story, Brands to Watch. From a small, Boulder-based nut butter company to a tea brand inspired by the founder’s grandmother, each profile is a testament to the fact that you don’t need to be a massive corporation to develop a successful product. A little innovation goes a long way.
And, because these smaller brands are achieving newfound fame, national brands are finding that they must also constantly innovate to stay relevant. Take Kraft Foods, which, in order to compete with private label products, recently redesigned its Mac & Cheese and Miracle Whip lines. Or Starbucks, which, in removing the “Starbucks Coffee” lettering from its identity, is repositioning its brand.
So, as budgets continue to get the squeeze and consumer spending decreases, the leaders in this industry won’t be marked by size or budget - they’ll be those that max out their resources and work on continuous reinvention. Let your competitors look to the big multinationals to figure out what’s new and what’s next. Our latest crop of Brands to Watch is a reminder that small independents just might be a better bet.