Classic brands built on tradition need to adapt and evolve to keep up with changing times.
Emma Heath, of oatcakes specialist Nairn's, tells Julie Baxter how her brand has done it
IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTHS
Nairn's has been baking with oats since 1896 using wholegrain oats grown in the Scottish borders to make products that are simple, natural and wholesome. It has become the number one producer of oatcakes in the UK and more recently has extended its range and broadened its appeal with contemporary launches.
RIDE THE TRENDS
Responding to trends towards gluten free diets, healthy, free-from eating and snacking on the go, Nairn's has kept contemporary by adding flavoured oatcakes, crackers, biscuits, cereals and snacks across its core portfolio and a newer Gluten Free range.
To connect with new customers and make the product relevant to their needs and lifestyle, Nairn's contemporised the packaging – retaining the recognisable white packs and the N logo, but adding a twist with hand-painted tartan, an updated font and blogger-style photos of serving suggestions. It engaged with bloggers and influencers, and as a result saw new and exciting toppings spring up on Instagram. Porridge with the twist of seeds and fruit for example.
TARGET NEW MARKETS
They expanded their target markets through events and sampling campaigns among non-traditional groups such as at shows dedicated to yoga, babies and sports nutrition, and attended sporting events and music festivals, and soon built a following among fitness fans who rated the portability of the new pouch packs.
KEEP IT MOVING
The launch of portion packs for both sweet and savoury products also gave Nairn's an entrée into the onboard sector with contracts with Virgin East Coast, Trans Penine and LondonScotland Sleeper trains, BA and City Jet planes and P&O and Calmac ships. Listed products include the standard oatcake range, gluten free muesli and crackers, oatcakes and biscuits.
Future adaptations will revolve around reducing the sugar content of the biscuits, responding to the snackification trend, the growing on-the-go demand and out of home and convenience sectors. nairns-oatcakes.com