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Chobani celebrates being a 'how' brand

News, 05 December 2014

ORLANDO: Chobani is leveraging its status as a "how brand" – namely, a product offering clear benefits in terms of how it is made – to stand out in the increasingly crowded Greek yoghurt category.

Peter McGuinness, its chief marketing and brand officer, discussed this subject while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando.

"We want to celebrate our 'how'. We have a clean label. People care more about what they eat. We have locally-sourced, fresh milk, live and active cultures, and real fruit," he said. (For more, including why marketing is more important for the firm than ever, read Warc's exclusive report: Chobani uses marketing to push beyond organic growth.)

"It's an ancient, pure, simple food. It's the last thing that you should put chemicals and preservatives in. So we're going to celebrate that, because it's a true point of difference."

This strategy is a near relation of two other central differentiating tactics for marketers: either drawing on a core brand "belief" or the long history of their goods.

"I think 'belief' brands are fantastic. There are a lot of 'when' brands. 'Established in 1798' … means you're old," said McGuinness.

"But there are very few 'how' brands, because not everyone has a great 'how' story. You don't want to know how hot dogs are made. And you may want to not know how our competitors' products are made. But we have a great 'how'."

The need to stand out and meet consumer needs is especially profound given the huge number of Greek yoghurt lines now vying for attention, with around 800 offerings on sale.

"No matter how strong your brand is, no matter how good your products are, with 800 additional choices out there, by definition and by default, you're going to get nipped and tucked at," said McGuinness.

Chobani kick started the explosive growth witnessed in the Greek yoghurt category in America during the last few years. And the fact it contains a lot of protein and less sugar feeds into two key food trends today as well.

"We are on the right side of the trend," is how McGuinness described this situation to the ANA delegates.

Data sourced from Warc