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what Innocent smoothies can teach us

How to win in marketing if you have no marketing budget 1st part

For the few that never heard about it, Innocent is an English fresh smoothie company founded in 1998 by three young friends - with basically no marketing budget.

Nowadays, Innocent's has a turnover of more than £ 100 millions (and by the way – in 2013 the three founders have sold 90% of the business to Coca-Cola for a total amount of about £ 300 million)

How did Innocent reach these numbers, starting from scratch and with little or no money to invest in marketing?

This is a story which is worth analysing, as what the three English friends did can be a great lesson for all the fresh produce companies that believe they cannot have any success in marketing since they have no big marketing budget available.

First, Innocent's founders have been great in developing excellent products – a thing that costs time, commitment and requires appropriate skills, but does not involve huge marketing investments.

Indeed, developing an outstanding product does not cost much more than producing a good one. Only, it implies more work. It is far easier to be happy with a good standard product than trying to reach superior levels.

So, outstanding products, to start with.

But more than often, having an outstanding product is not enough to get outstanding business results.

Here's where the geniality of the three Innocent founders came out on top: they created an exceptional brand.

Starting with the story behind it. On their website, you can read that it all started at a music festival: "The boys sold their first smoothies from a stall at a music festival in London. A sign above the stall reads "Should we give up our jobs to make these smoothies?" and people are asked to throw their empties into bins marked 'Yes' or 'No'. ('Yes' wins.)

Interesting story, right?

For sure something out of ordinary and worth talking about.

Besides, they developed an attractive, humour rich packaging, with labels not only used to list ingredients, but full of nice stories and jokes.

All this contributed to create a unique, distinctive brand – one you can't help noticing.

Did this all cost a lot of money?

Surely not. It took geniality, creativity, entrepreneurial skills – but for sure, no huge marketing budget.

So, exceptional products, and an outstanding, unique, distinctive brand were the starting points on the road towards success for Innocent.

What next?

What were the things that – building on great products and a distinctive brand – led Innocent sales from £0 to more than £100 million in little more than 10 years, and that all companies with limited marketing budget can try to imitate?

We'll see it in the next articles.

If you are interested in fresh produce marketing, download the free e-book "Introduction to marketing for fresh produce"

Pisani Produce Marketing is a training & consulting agency for the produce world. It has been founded by Maurizio Pisani, former Chiquita and Fresh Del Monte executive.

For more info:
Maurizio Pisani
[email protected]
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