SunButter launches successful new brand re‑positioning
with iterative concept testing, packaging and creative insights
SunButter – a once niche sunflower spread product – was looking to modify their brand strategy to cast a wider appeal for the brand. Once viewed as a nut butter substitution for allergy sufferers, SunButter wanted to elevate their sunflower butter product to be considered a new superfood in its own right, garnering mainstream appeal as a premium and tasty spread capable of disrupting the category. They needed a new strategy to re-position the brand, and were looking for insights into which strategies had the most potential.
To develop effective positioning, SunButter first needed to understand the drivers of brand choice (rational and emotional) for the category in general, and the SunButter brand specifically. As part of their mission, SunButter also wanted to launch a new line (SunButter Chocolate) to drive sales and expand appeal within the brand.
Maximizing both research and creative dollars depends on getting the right data at the right time, interpreting it collaboratively, and activating it creatively. MetrixLab developed a fully customized series of solutions for each step of the brand development process and teamed up with creative agency Humanaut to iteratively integrate insights at every stage.
Step one was a Contest concept testing solution to: 1) assess which positioning statements resulted in the most potential, and 2) identify what elements within the concept were driving that appeal. The second objective was important in providing stakeholders direction for later stages in product and brand development process. The winning concept emphasized SunButter’s healthy properties and SunButter could move forward having identified the elements to focus on in packaging and advertising – great taste, great texture with less fat, less sugar and more protein. Humanaut could immediately include these proven drivers of successful branding in their creative and packaging development.
Step two was a PACT packaging test to identify the winning designs that would effectively communicate the key elements that drove the winning concept and stand out on shelf. At this stage, advertising testing also revealed the creative that would get consumers’ attention, convey the key drivers of appeal and inspire people to buy.
Steps one and two were shaped by the results of the concept test that ensured prospective consumers would like what they saw and heard about the product. But SunButter still needed to know if people would like how it tasted. The final step was an in-home use test. This would assess whether SunButter’s product actually delivered on its promises. Will consumers buy it after they try it? The in-home use test generated a 1-year sales forecast to predict performance in-market.
Based on the results, SunButter could launch the re-position and line extension confidently. Before the launch, the creative team at Humanaut was able to optimize the creative according to the findings, and optimize the creative and packaging label designs accordingly.
“SunButter launched our enhanced packaging in late Q1 2021 and launched the Spread Some Sun creative video campaign in April along with the line extension of the Chocolate,” says Justin LaGosh, Managing Director at SunButter.
“The latest data shows the SunButter brand sales up 19.2% versus the overall category decline of -1.3% over the same period. The brand positioning, packaging refresh, validation, creative campaign and strategic media buying have helped drive growth in a category struggling to show growth over previous year’s sales. A huge thanks to our partners and our internal teams who worked together to make this a success story.”