In 1978, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield launched Ben & Jerry’s, an ice-cream brand made from milk products and 100% natural ingredients. Two young students, Augustin Paluel-Marmont and Michel de Rovira have decided to take example from this mythical brand (as well as Innocent), and launch their own brand of biscuits: Michel et Augustin!
The story of their brand building is truly a successful adventure, which gives by the way a whole meaning and a huge capital of sympathy to their brands, what the two friends are far from hiding, on the contrary… They wanted to recreate the delicious biscuits of their “grandma” by gathering all the best and natural ingredients. But their positioning is not only about tradition and nostalgia, on the contrary. Admittedly, they use souvenirs as Proust and its famous Madeleines to hit their target – the 18-25 years old living in city – but want to go beyond tradition.
Indeed they claim a return of quality, but in a modern, original and more often crazy way! Values & Identity: a new way of defining itself => put joy of life and fun at base corporate value Michel et Augustin have created a new way of claiming values, which contributes totally to their original brand identity, which could seem not really serious at first sight. The brand value corresponds fundamentally to both friends’ values. And no need to try to understand them, if you do not know the story of these two young entrepreneurs. Michel was consultant in strategy and Augustin was in Air France Marketing.
The both young men were on tracks to build a great career. But they decided to drop everything to make their dreams come true, to live their own passion! Indeed, they did not recognize themselves in the traditional corporate value. They wanted something more, something different, whit less constraints and more joy of life! Then, they launched in 2004 their own brand of biscuits and milk products, surrounded by those unconventional values, converging to one motto, one mutual dream: “Make the world smile”. And those values, incarnated in the good mood are far from being only a marketing communication.
Beyond their headquarter which is called “the Bananeraie”, their slogan “Les trublions du bon gout” and their “crazy” and unexpected packaging, the atmosphere of the firm is truly defined by this central value. Both co-directors claim the same value, as simplicity, enjoy life, solidarity, sense of the effort, in their communication than in the place of work. Thus, the 31 workers of the “Bananeraie” form the “tribu”, Michel is the “calife”, Augustin “the Vizir”, and Nicolas, the accounting manager, the “conteur de bonnes nouvelles”.
Good news is announced by ringing the bell in the office… In short, Michel et Augstin advocates new values, based on sincerity and fun, which are totally conveyed within their management. Their website conveys as well their will of differentiation. As example (below), they denounce on their website the usual cliche on food product benefits. Instead of giving these controversial and usual reasons to like their products, they put forward the simplest and most basic reason to like them: because they are good and fun! And all this convivial values are aimed to one objective: build a deep and true relationship with their customer.
Make the world smile” is then far easier when the values are supported by the brand and the employees themselves! Events, website and packaging become next the ambassadors of those values among the customers! One question remains, is it possible to claim fun, in communication as well as in workplace while being serious in his job? Indeed, as they are facing an increasing growth, with all responsibilities and issues coming by, it will be more and more complicated to keep such a spirit of work… Packaging => An instrumental way to convey their values
They do not play the cart of nostalgia, on the contrary! The brand wants to build a great complicity with its customers, in a fun and simple way, without any hypocrisy. Then, the name “Michel et Augustin” and the logo (drawn in a caricature style) are made to convey an enthusiastic impression, far away from usual institutional statements. Thus, for more interactivity, they go until giving their email addresses and their phone number on the back pack of products! We can then say, without exaggerating, that the four criteria of a good packaging are fulfilled.
Indeed, their packaging is fully: Attractive thanks to its strong originality (story of the brand told in a fun way on the back pack, attractive colors which are well standing out in shelf – with the violet for example – ) * Functional, really easy to open, does not take too much place * Easy to produce and inexpensive * Coherent with the brand value (cf. the phone number, best example of the brand humor and the will of nearness with its customers) Communication => a “street” Marketing aligned with their spirit The art of the “story telling” they stress so much is obviously one of their priorities in their marketing strategy.
Although this brand counts from now one among strong and solid alimentary firms, it can really not compete with Danone or Nestle from a communication budget point of view. Indeed, it is not possible for this launching brand to dispense large amoung in TV advertising, or huge communication campaign. It has to be clever about it, and find creative and cheap way to become famous. And Michel et Augustin has precisely found the right way to do so, by cultivating this story telling art, mixed with their crazy and bluffing behavior.
The both creators acknowledge that their product packaging is their best weapon to reach and target the customers. Yet, they did succeed to create the buzz with unexpected events. For example, they benefited from the huge media retransmission for the “Entrepreneurs Salon” by putting their yoghourt bottle at the Bill Gates‘ table. Thanks to its initiative, they were exposed in front of the “whole” world, as the bottle with the cow was filmed with Gates drinking it! Best inexpensive advertising ever!