FOOD MAKERS AREN’T ALWAYS FOOD MARKETERS
Brian Simon, owner of Simon Seasonings, spent years developing a variety of sophisticated summer sausage seasoning blends. He collaborated with seasoned hunters, honed recipes, and hand-blended in small batches. His product was truly tremendous and there was demand.
Like many passionate, talented food makers, however, Brian had no experience building or marketing brands. Someone with this level of inexperience often doesn’t know where to go or even how to judge the quality of a brand name, logo, or packaging design. He put his trust in his label printer to create something, but printers aren’t commonly skilled designers (and they’ll usually tell you as much).
Simon Seasonings experienced some modest success locally, but limited brand awareness and sagging sales forced Brian to look more critically at his brand. He ultimately sought help from a more seasoned food branding expert and brought Upstart Food Brands in to help.
The summer sausage seasoning market is a pretty uninteresting category. A few large, established brands dominate, but no-one in the space looks like they’ve come into the 90’s yet. This was an opportunity for Simon Seasonings, but they needed a fresh start.
We began with the name. Simon Seasonings was named after Brian Simon, but rarely is it a good idea to hitch a personal identity to a brand wagon like this. If you ever sell a brand with your name on it, you’re also selling your name. And unless you’re Wolfgang Puck or Martha Stewart – someone with a valuable, established, recognizable name – your name probably won’t be an asset anyway. You may be a chef or have culinary credentials, but if you’re not a celebrity or someone who’s done something truly innovative, there’s probably a better brand name out there for you.
We examined what set the brand apart. The most authentic, compelling aspect of the products were that they were developed through trial and error with some of the very best, seasoned hunters in the US. People who had recipes that were handed down for generations shared their ideas, secrets, and wisdom, and Simon Seasoning’s products were the culmination of that collaboration. This is something that the competition didn’t have. We decided to build the brand around this idea, and after researching and vetting a variety of options, settled on Seasoned Hunters as the new brand name.
THE TALE OF THE SEASONED HUNTERS
It’s no secret that the best summer sausage is made by the most seasoned hunters. In Wisconsin – universally known for exceptional sausage – generations of hunters have been honing the craft of sausage-making by finding the right seasonings in the exact proportions to perfectly complement all manner of wild game. Inspired to harness this collective wisdom, we’ve spent years with these great hunters, refining our small-batch summer sausage seasoning blends. Whether you’re a hunter, processor, or home-chef, we understand that every bite of handcrafted summer sausage is a reflection on its maker. Experience the difference that superior seasoning can make; trust Seasoned Hunters to make your sausage exceptional!
To bring the new brand story to life, we not only had to create a brand that encapsulated and supported the narrative, we needed the packaging to do a lot of heavy lifting. We created a simple, yet strong logo that stood well off of a colored custom gingham pattern, which was a subtle, sophisticated reference to hunting.
Instead of the thin, clear bag, we opted for a kraft/butcher paper pouch with a bright, bold label. This packaging fit the product better and gave us a much cleaner, more professional look. The gusseted bag was also a far better solution at retail where standing upright would maximize brand presence and visibility at the shelf.
We reviewed the product assortment and paired it back from an unmanageable selection of products to 4 core flavors. There were also a number of pack sizes for seasonings and various kits, which was inefficient. We recommended reducing the smaller pack size such that you could simply pack two seasoning pouches for kits instead of having a separate larger bag for each flavor. This streamlined operations, and made each product more profitable.
THE TRIUMPHANT RELAUNCH
With a new brand and packaging in place, we needed great photographs to put everything in the best light. As we often do, we turned to Chris Malacarne to produce some amazing custom shots – strip-outs and hero shots.
We also developed a website at the new seasonedhunters.com domain. Part of the sales strategy was to improve the online shopping experience. Summer sausage seasoning kits are commonly purchased online, so creating a robust, search-optimized e-commerce website would give the company much needed exposure.
Additionally, we elevated Seasoned Hunters’ social media presence by branding the company’s social properties with the new imagery and content.
We completely reinvented the Seasoned Hunters brand and equipped the company with the tools for success. With a truly superior product and strong, marketable brand, there isn’t a summer sausage seasoning company better positioned to win in this space. As the brand gains traction online and word spreads, success will surely follow.