Building artisanal brands; One story at a time

Artisanal brands are like a celebration and rediscovery of ingredients that are essentially local, from sourcing to packaging, especially how they relish everything seasonal. The paradigm shift is probably noticed today, as audiences indulge in exquisite experiences that are convenient and easily available. (And most often seen in the F&B industry). 

For many ‘artisanal’ might not be a word that captures mindspace but simply creates intrigue, of why is it special. The reality is that artisanal brands don’t have companies or organisations working towards their creation, instead they are led by motivated individuals who wish to bring products that are unique and fulfil their claim to existence in all entirety. 

So, when you have a brand on hand that isn’t the usual ‘massy’ or that won’t travel a typical journey, how do we communicate their story? 

Artisanal brands bring to table that other products in the similar category might not deliver. These brands have a story to tell that is different from the next product. What we need to keep in mind here is to celebrate the people behind the brands, because their story is what will differentiate the origin of any artisanal brand. 

For instance, chocolates produced in limited quantities, using traditional methods signify to be called as artisanal chocolates. Few years back you wouldn’t have heard about them, but today the market is slowly full of more than enough options. The one that first caught a lot of attention would be Mason & Co and maybe Earth Loaf as well. This could well be just about the coffee lovers, because we spotted Mason & Co bars at Bluetokai cafes and then at Foodhall and Natures Basket. When I googled the brand, was delighted to read about this bean-to-bar chocolatier. What caught my attention was how the founder’s thoughts and ideas took centre-stage to create something that the markets didn’t have before. The media stories around the brand were purely focused on the how and what about the brands origin – something that gave credibility to the brand and the personalised love by the founders.

As communicators, we live each day to share a new story. But when it comes to artisanal brands, it is important to understand and handle the brand story differently each day. No one story can share the same information. Build a legacy for them one piece at a time, because these brands are working too hard to bring to the market some exquisite flavors and combinations. 

Handpicking and sourcing organic ingredients, ensuring local farmers get to share their produce that has been organically grown – and not in a mass batch – eating local and eating fresh – have been few of the fundamentals that keeps Gouris Goodies, an artisanal snacks brand going. Their cereals come with millets. They have options in their energy bars portfolio that fit into dietary restrictions such as vegan and gluten free. And their products can be consumed anytime, anywhere in any format that suits you (after all its not necessary that cereals should be tried only with milk and yogurt always!). So, when we set out to build this brand, it was important to showcase the face behind it. It was imperative to talk about the journey that Gouri Gupta, founder of Gouris Goodies, took to create her products. Every change that the products saw was owing to the consumer feedback and insights shared directly with the team. As we worked together, we all realised the story will always have to be personalised and not competing for space, instead had to be recognition for the ingredients that went into making the brand. 

Creating a space in media for the artisanal brands could at first seem like a tall task. Sometimes no takers even, because on facevalue the brands don’t seem different. 

I mean when offering artisanal coffee – how does one explain to not rush and dismiss it just as another coffee brand. Hence, the need to educate audiences. We need to learn what goes into creating a bean-to-cup coffee that has been handpicked, served by special roastery-cafes to bring alive the best cuppa for our mornings. The café-culture did introduce audiences to experiences beyond a filter coffee, but the new wave of “coffee-preneurs” is highlighting the joy of trying coffees with new flavors. For the past few years artisanal coffees or rather Specialty Coffee brands are gaining prominence, because audiences are gearing up to try something new. And the fact that media finds these stories interesting is commendable in itself. Do read all about coffee coming from North-East India, yes it will definitely surprise you on how these entrepreneurs began their journey and what it took to make specialised batches of delicious coffee. Lot of brands that can catch your attention – Ete Coffee, Darjeeling Altura, Naga Coffee, Smoky Falls Tribe Coffee – amongst the many others coming to the forefront from the north-east region of our country. And this does not diminish that there are more and enough artisanal coffee brands today in India, from varied regions. And one such brand that can catch your attention is Nangoo Coffee, look it up!

Creating stories for artisanal brands might look simpler at the onset, because they bring their differentiation along. But what matters is how you intend to share this story. Celebrate the faces behind it and at the same never forget to lose eyesight of the product – because a healthy combination of these two is what will excite the fraternity to know more.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Trehan
Pooja Trehan, VP, Communications & Public Policy.

Building brands through story-telling is what keeps me going! Having spent 18years in this industry, I am far more excited to experiment on what's next to unlearn. Worked with industries across FMCG, Oil & Gas, Technology, Fashion, Telecom, Media House, F&B and now Sports, my curiosity to craft a narrative only gets deeper. Marathons, Black Coffee, learning about Scotch and Malts, reading everything i can, travelling, are few of other personal passions that I happily pursue.

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