Case study—

Building a brand to meet the needs of a new market

CLIENT  NEW ZEALAND MĀNUKA GROUP

Success story—

Building a brand to
meet the needs of a
new market

CLIENT  NEW ZEALAND CUSTOMS SERVICE

THE QUESTION

How might customer
insight inform and inspire
branding and positioning in
a new US market?

THE SOLUTION

A visual brand identity, new
product recommendations
and a marketing and education
strategy tailored to specific
experiences and perceptions

THE QUESTION

How might customer insight inform and inspire
branding and positioning in a new US market?

THE SOLUTION

A visual brand identity, new product recommendations
and a marketing and education strategy tailored to specific
experiences and perceptions

New Zealand Mānuka Group (NZMG) leads their industry by investing in product innovation and scientific research. They are now taking the native mānuka plant to new markets and customers worldwide. As the Chinese market saturates, NZMG decided to pivot towards the under-tapped US market.

NZMG have a honey product — Melora — they believe would suit the American market well. To position the brand in the strongest way, NZMG wanted a greater understanding of the US market. They approached Empathy to help inspire and inform the brand work through an in-depth customer insight project.

Stories and experiences through immersion

Empathy’s Los Angeles and New Zealand based teams worked together to gain customer understanding. They began by talking to staff and customers in grocery and natural health stores about their experiences with mānuka honey. We gathered stories of how people are using honey as a part of their health regimes.

We conducted ethnographic immersions with participants from Southern California, Colorado and New York City. We met them in their homes and where they workout. We shopped with them at their local grocery stores and went with them on their daily hikes. We cooked meals with them in their kitchens and explored their cupboards, workout rooms and medicine cabinets.

Research uncovered not just what participants think about honey, but what they think about healthy living, food consumption, and how they view and engage with natural health products and remedies.

Big new market, big new opportunities

Using qualitative data and learnings, we uncovered patterns and insights that revealed the essence of what is meaningful and valuable to NZMG’s potential customers.

Our strategic recommendations considered how customer insights will impact Melora’s brand – visual signature and overall brand platform – in an American market. We identified further education opportunities to raise product awareness and spread key messages. Finally, we identified core customer needs to use as a platform for new product ideas. These recommendations became the backbone of NZMG’s next steps into the American market.

NZMG have since launched Melora in Costco, a major American supermarket chain, with plans to release the product in more retail locations soon.

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