Customer choosing grocery products

Bold ambitions often come with a side of risk. Making strategic moves like launching a new product in a highly competitive category are inherently challenging, but the reward can be great for those who do it right.


Case Study: Crafting a winning strategy for channel dominance

Several years ago, a prominent snack manufacturer sought an expanded presence in the Organic/Natural channel that would rival the current leading brand, engaging Hartman Group to help develop the strategy for a new natural product line that would grow market share and household penetration. Much easier said than done, right?

To start, we needed to understand if organic and natural were indeed compelling distinctions in the brand’s category. We dug into the Natural channel landscape via a Hartman Group Knowledge Discovery, unraveling consumer preferences, category insights and the fierce competitive landscape within a target retailer. By identifying three primary demand spaces, our strategy and product innovation efforts were anchored in evolving consumer priorities.

From there, we developed and explored nine core innovation areas in a series of focused work sessions with stakeholders from across the organization. After refinement and prioritization, four product concepts were tested and validated through consumer focus groups — and all four showed clear potential.

Armed with concept-specific optimization recommendations, the client was well-equipped to drive meaningful wins in the Natural channel.

Our POV: Successful brands will think beyond organic

Traditionally hailed as a hallmark of quality and authenticity, the concepts of organic and natural have been a cornerstone of many brands' positioning strategies. But today, consumers no longer think these are enough. Their broader lifestyle choices and values stretch beyond what the USDA Organic credential offers — and certainly exceed the industry definition of “natural.”

Organic is at a turning point: and brands need to take a hard look at their strategy to remain relevant.

  • Is organic still a compelling distinction in your category?
  • Will tech evolutions remedy concerns around safety — once a key driver of organic purchasing?
  • When is it time (if ever) to move on from organic?
  • What lies beyond organic?

These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself to ensure you never stop evolving with the consumer. With over 30 years of experience guiding companies through the intricacies of demand space identification, go-to-market strategy, portfolio strategy, and category expansion in the food and beverage industry, we’ve seen the power of strategic risk-taking firsthand.

Let’s talk about what lies beyond your current brand strategy: connect with Shelley Balanko today for a discovery conversation.