Saturday, October 8, 2011

Arla upgrades design of Arla Cow hard cheese

My husband and I take turns doing the weekly grocery shopping. Today it was his turn and yet again he managed to do his shopping in 40 minutes. A trip that normally takes me about 1,5hours since I tend to spend more time looking at brands, new launches and new design, rather than focusing on the shopping list... Well, I guess it comes with the trade...

Anyway, when unloading the bags I managed to spot something quite interesting. I think I've previously highlighted the brand positioning 'closer to nature' work by Arla, one of the largest dairy FMCG companies in Europe. Arlas new brand positioning has so far resulted in a new corporate logo, an impressive number of new ads and quite a few new products. The Arla total brand family is huge, and it cannot be an easy task trying to connect all the different sub-brands to the now more 'natural' motherbrand. Some need to be tied more closely to the core values of the 'mother', and others should be allowed to act more freely, given a different role in the market.

Anyway, back to the point. What I spotted today was a new design for Arla's range of hard cheese. Looking at the previous design it may have been clear and recognisable. But it also gave a very industrial and cold impression. With Arla now aiming for a warmer, more natural touch, it was interesting to see the upgraded design of hard cheese. Spot the difference below.

To the left you can see the old design for Arla Präst - with the Arla Cow quite prominently displayed on the front, on black background, and with a photo of a sandwich with cheese on the left.

What can one say about this design? Cold, rather boring, basic, isn't it?

Now, look at the new design below. And bear in mind that the pastic packaging solution is exactly the same.
Personally I think the new design conveys a higher quality cheese. But not only that. In the new design there is a linkage to cheese heritage and tradition, and a clearer and more logical brand architecture with connection between Arla corporate, Arla  cow and last but not least to the variant Präst. I especially like the new Cow seal that holds the variant name.

In the new design Arla is also aiming to lift the taste and consumer benefits of Präst cheese through simple yet tasteful storytelling. I think this is the right way to go in a category that is highly competitive and where Arla must convince consumers that it makes sense to stick to the Arla brand, and not divert to the growing number of cheap no label or private label alternatives.

One thing that I find may still be missing in the new design is a stronger connection to 'naturalness'. The usage of 'beige' is surely there to convey this feel but maybe it could have been even more prominent. Hard cheese is surely a natural product - so there is definetely no mismatch with naturalness and the product itself.

So, to summarise the argumentation above I must say that I like these upgrades by Arla and I look forward to follow the next steps of Arla building and developing their brand and broad product portfolio.

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