Is the Innocent brand losing its magic?

SimonGeneral

The UK smoothie brand Innocent is often held up as a good example of a successful brand launch into a competitive marketplace.

Until recently the brand’s positioning has been well differentiated against its competition – despite the rapid scaling up of the Innocent business the brand maintained the feeling of being a small, ethical, and most of all “nice” brand whose products you’d like to drink.

Stephen Davies has a good post on prblogger.com that explains well the brand and what it’s all about.

However recently I’d begun to wonder about whether Innocent was starting to make some moves that weren’t as consistent with the brand’s values as they could be.

David Taylor from brandgym is thinking along the same lines. His post picks up two warning signs: the relaunch of Innocent’s water range as a loosely affiliated brand called “This Water” and the size of the Innocent business reaching sales over £100m per year.

The other decision that caught my eye was the trialling of Innocent products in selected branches of McDonald’s in the UK.

This decision caused much debate offline and online from brand afficionados and commentators – was Innocent doing the “right thing” by providing a healthier drink to people eating in McDonald’s (as the company argued), or had it “sold out” to a brand whose values were intrinisically incompatible with its own?

Like David, I really hope the brand isn’t starting to wander from the values that made it great in the first place. Innocent should be an inspiration to marketers to show that if you get it right, it’s possible to launch a successful brand into a competitive category dominated by multinationals.

[tags]innocent, this+water, innocent+smoothies, brand+strategy, brand+positioning[/tags]