Behind the scenes – Crafting a purpose driven Fazer brand
Fazer is a unique Finnish food company with a 128-year history. The Fazer brand is one of Finland’s most valuable. The company is offering quality bakery, confectionery, biscuit and grain products, plant-based meals, non-dairy products, on-the-go food and drinks as well as food and café services. Fazer operates in eight countries and exports to around 40 countries.
As Ulrika Romantschuk, Executive Vice President, Communications and Branding points out, “Having redefined our ‘Food with a purpose’ mission and strategy, it became evident that we also needed to reposition the Fazer brand. Fazer’s vision is to spark joy and well-being through meaningful food experiences. To guarantee this meaningfulness, the brand positioning had to be shaped around consumer needs. We wanted to understand how the consumer perceives ‘joy’, ‘well-being’ and ‘food experiences’, and build our positioning around these themes. The themes were derived from the vision and strategy. This was the starting point.”
The Fazer brand’s new positioning is purpose driven, making it strongly value based. It requires taking a strong stance ‘for’ and answers the bigger question of ‘why’ rather than ‘what’. While many brands adopt category driven positioning, purpose driven positioning extends beyond category competition. The positioning needs to encapsulate the whole offering to ensure credibility.
“At Fazer, we want our brand positioning to build on a strong purpose that will stand the test of time. When this work started, we were not sure whether one positioning could credibly cover our total portfolio. Yet, discussions with consumers proved that our themes were not only relevant, they were inspiring and differentiating. We got the confirmation we needed to take a stand and forge ahead. It also became evident that for consumers, our chosen themes consisted of several dimensions, and so it would make sense to let a strong purpose characterize all businesses and our position,” Romantschuk continues.
Consumer insights are at the heart of crafting a purpose driven positioning
A strong purpose driven positioning calls for insights that extend beyond categories. When creating something totally new and innovative, qualitative insights are indispensable. Hence, the analysis was based on assessing the global competition within the themes of ‘joy’, ‘well-being’ and ‘food experiences’, rather than focusing on specific categories. Consumer insights were based on discussion sessions across several markets. The aim was to understand the consumers’ values, lifestyles and emotional needs, and how Fazer could achieve a differentiating and relevant positioning within the chosen themes.
One key finding was that joy and well-being often go hand-in-hand, and that food is an enabler of both. A major insight was that people don’t stop to enjoy the moment. Hence, Fazer wants to be a brand that enables joy and well-being in the present moment by creating meaningful food experiences.
“We knew that a person’s relationship to food is highly individual, and so we set out to gain a better understanding of this relationship. One of the most interesting findings was that food is a key ingredient in both joy and well-being. Food provides a break from the everyday, it brings people together and creates shared moments of joy. Food is an enabler of active, daily joy as well as deeper happiness,” Romantschuk explains.
Based on these insights, coupled with Fazer’s aspirations and heritage, the “Northern Magic. Made Real.” value proposition was developed. The value proposition captures what Fazer stands for and why people should choose Fazer. “Northern Magic” signifies the Northern values e.g. quality, inclusivity and liberal attitudes, as well as stability, a clean environment and modern urban living – all elements of our Northern uniqueness. “Made Real” indicates high-quality craftsmanship, innovation as well as delicious food produced with natural, pure ingredients.
In addition to the value proposition, key positioning themes were crafted. The key themes guide how and what Fazer communicates. The key themes are “Northern Liberty”, “True Relationships” and “Fearless Creativity”. These stand e.g. “for the freedom to live the life you desire”, “for choices that do good for yourself, people and the world around us”, “for courage and high quality craftmanship that leads to taste sensations”.
“A purpose driven brand requires the consistent pursuit of this purpose to be credible. We are actively working on proving our purpose to all our stakeholders. ‘Fearless creativity’ is in our heritage and in our products , such as the Cricket bread and Fazer Ruby Pure Chocolate to give a few examples. We also have several ongoing initiatives that build on ‘Northern Liberty’ and ‘True Relationships’, such as supporting Baltic Sea improvements and the Fazer ‘Grain Vision ’, not to forget our cooperation with SOS Children’s village for the past 40 years. The positioning qualifies us to be forerunners in the future,” Romantschuk continues.
“Northern Magic. Made Real.” creates a positive halo for the whole portfolio
Building the desired Fazer positioning, brand perception and consumer experience calls for consistent communication in the consumer interface. To ensure successful implementation of the “Northern Magic. Made Real.” positioning, a consumer communication concept was created. During this process, the “Northern Magic. Made Real.” promise really started to resonate and duly became a natural tagline for the Fazer brand.
As purpose driven brands are emotional, they need a clear link to the offering and products. The positioning needs to be communicated throughout the product range and provide value and meaning for the whole portfolio. “Northern Magic” highlights the intangible benefits in the positioning themes and value proposition. “Made Real” represents the tangible benefits, the seal of Fazer’s high-quality craftsmanship and uncompromised taste that becomes visible through the offering. Successful communication concepts are built on a strong link between these intangible and tangible benefits.
“Building strong brands requires hard work and consistency. Fazer used to be known just for its confectionery, but we’ve successfully extended the positioning into several food categories today. Now it’s time to position Fazer as a world-class brand competing in a broader market than food categories – to compete for consumers’ hearts and minds,” Romantschuk adds.
Showcasing the “Northern Magic. Made Real.” positioning
The communication concept will be visible to external stakeholders during the beginning of 2019.
“It makes it easier for the consumer to choose Fazer when the values that the brand stands for are clearly communicated. The communication concept ensures speed to market and systematic implementation of the positioning across geographical markets. The goal is the same for all markets, but the implementation will be achieved in sequences. Change will take time, but the underlying aim of the positioning is to support Fazer in its objective to double in value by 2022. The positioning will also strengthen Fazer internationally. Ultimately, it will empower us to develop cross-category and consumer need-based concepts,” Romantschuk explains.
Catharina Stackelberg, the founder of Marketing Clinic, summed up working with Fazer as follows:
“Building world-class consumer brands calls for C-level attention. It’s inspiring to collaborate with a company where branding and marketing are on the strategic agenda. Having been a part of this transformation since the redefinition of the Fazer strategy, it has been great to follow Fazer’s journey towards consumer first marketing, and it’s amazing to witness the ambition and the efforts made to realize it.”
Ulrika Romantschuk concluded by saying:
“We have worked on several projects together throughout the years. This was one of the best collaborations so far. Working with Marketing Clinic is inspiring. They always strive to go a little bit further to exceed expectations. They have a structured approach to brand building, yet keep the dialogue open, which always makes for inspirational meetings.”