I vividly remember going to the gas station with my grandfather each Thursday after primary school. When entering the gas station there was only one thing on my mind: getting a snack and an Innocent smoothie for the road to Purmerend (I Know it’s not that for from Amsterdam, but still, what’s an eleven-year-old to do anyways? I had no choice in the matter). Besides really liking the taste of these smoothies, there was one thing that always stood out to me with Innocent smoothies, the funny text on the side. Years later while doing some research I found myself on Innocent’s website and social media. I was immediately struck by how well they have managed to transition the feel of the funny text (their brand) onto their online brand. So, for this article, I would like to share some prime examples of Innocent’s masterful online branding tactics.
Their tone of voice
One key aspect that makes Innocent’s identity is playfulness. This key aspect is found everywhere in their use of tone of voice. Offline places where this can be found (and originated from) are for example the side of the bottle’s, as stated above, and of course the names of their products (i.e. Totally Tropical, Magnificent Mango). Those playful characteristics have been carefully translated to their online brand, how you might ask? Well, starting with the website, they have managed to create an impeccable balance between seeing what you would expect from a website, and then playing on those expectations. Examples of this are the replacement of the “product” section with “Things we make”. Another example would be the replacement of “Call customer service” with “Call the bananaphone”. These seemingly small changes help immensely with transferring their brand onto the visitor. And make no mistake, these examples are small on their own, but the combination of all these little gags and play on words makes it incredibly effective. As the old saying goes: “One carrot is easily breakable, a bundle of carrots become impossible to break”.
When scanning through their social media you can clearly see the same carefully crafted tone of voice coming through, al be it in a slightly different manner. That playfulness I was writing about is found on their Facebook with the help of daily updates, these daily updates always feature a photo of an animal (usually and employee-owned one) and a slightly sarcastically written piece of text. These texts contain a lot of jokes but are always aimed at making peoples day a bit brighter, as their smoothies aim to do as well.
The combination of social media use and their website shows us that this is all part of a well thought out online strategy. Something every business that’s focussed on B2C should focus on.
They show what they stand for and are working towards (yes, you can also see where they have failed)
One often forgotten rule of building a repour with your audience is showing what you’re all about. Often times companies are worried about being everybody’s friend. Innocent on the other hand just shows you what they hold in high regard and are happy when you decide to tag along. If you don’t like what they do and stand for, no hard feelings. This way of looking at their audience gives them a unique advantage, namely the advantage called freedom of doing whatever you want (within bounds of course).
Okay so that was a lot of talking about their philosophy, now let’s show you what that entails in a practical sense. The key aspects of Innocent’s brand are playfulness, experimentation, transparency and (social) awareness. They’re not scared to show these principals on their website. Take the header menu for example. Everything you would want to know about the company can be reached from that single menu, their mission and vision (Innocent promise), plans for recycling and inclusion, what they’re doing at the moment and even all the marketing and design products that they have made over the years (under the header “bored?”, I really recommend you check it out!). Reading these categories can easily turn a consumer of their smoothies into a lifelong fan, and maybe even brand ambassador. The lifelong fan angle is also something Innocent shoots for because they can only fulfil their promises with the help of motivated supporters.
Researching Innocent for this article brought me back to those Thursday gas station stops while I was young, and that goes to show how well they have crafted their online brand. Every single step in the process of Innocent’s branding, both online and offline is catered towards giving people that Innocent feel. If you are a starting company, then Innocent should be viewed as a benchmark for online branding.
Now excuse me while I go to the gas station (I think you know what for).