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Identifying Your Real Audience Yields Big Dividends

You think you know who your audience (or your potential audience) is. But do you?

For our client HighKey, that was a $70 million question.

Brand leadership came to us when HighKey was a startup and early entrant into the Keto market. In six months they’d dominated the category on Amazon and aimed to explode the business in brick-and-mortar channels.

In our assessment, HighKey was a product line, not a brand. And Keto was a limiting factor, not a defining one.

Identifying an Overlooked Audience

During our 360° Brand Development engagement, the most pivotal stage was target audience identification.

HighKey’s Amazon data indicated their purchasers were hard-core gym rats who followed a Keto diet to build muscle. And maybe their girlfriends.

Our research showed a whole new type of consumer who would be likely to buy tasty low-sugar/low-carb snacks: A woman striving to maintain a healthy weight who wants treats that can make her feel good about herself. And there are millions of her out there.

We looked at who nobody was paying attention to. Keto was gaining some popularity with dieters but still dominated by extreme fitness people. Health-conscious women were seeking products like HighKey’s, but brands were ignoring them because they didn’t fit the category.

To convince a skeptical leadership team, we created a mood board that represented this consumer: A busy millennial woman, driving a minivan on her way to yet another obligation, running late; taking a corner too quickly, her purse spills onto the passenger’s seat. And a package of HighKey cookies tumbles out.

They immediately got it. And this audience insight changed everything.

“Retail Voodoo helped us align over 100 product ideas into seven categories we’re using to grow our brand. What a tremendous partner!”
– John Gibb, CEO, Summit Naturals + HighKey

Audience Drives the Bus

From there, the rest of our brand development work flowed.

Brand mission: Focused on HighKey Gal and her health aspiration, we built a new brand mission around reinventing the American diet by removing added sugar from packaged food.

Brand promise: We developed a new tagline — FOMO NOMO — that promises that she’ll never again have to miss out on her favorite snacks because they don’t fit her eating goals.

Brand voice: The brand communicates in a way that’s real and honest, and a little self-deprecatingly eye-rolling.

Design language: The new packaging system is perfectly imperfect. Typography doesn’t align; the food styling is appetizing but scattered like HighKey Gal’s life. We opted for grab-and-go packs for most products so she can stash them in her bag.

Innovation: We pared a list of 100+ potential products into seven logical but flexible categories. From a launch lineup of mini cookies, HighKey now offers crackers, cereals, baking mixes, and more. The audience profile drives their innovation strategy.

Go to market strategy: Our mantra became “get thee to Target.” It was their ideal outlet because that’s where she shops to get what she needs and also to have a little fun.

In the two years following our engagement, HighKey went from a $2 million Amazon business to a $68+ million multichannel category killer.

Magic? Nope.

We create market opportunity. Our secret weapon is finding people that nobody’s talking to and inviting net new consumers into the category. It’s not just stealing customers from brands already in the market — but collecting new people and building a community with them.

Do you know who your real audience is? It’s a multimillion-dollar question. We can help you answer it. Let’s get in touch!

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Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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