From: Cecilia Lu
Published June 21, 2010 12:22 PM

Nature’s Path: A Quirkily Beautiful Shift Towards Sustainable Branding

North America's largest organic cereal brand, Nature's Path Organic, has unleashed its first integrated multi-channel consumer campaign, and yielded impressive sales results while fomenting cultural change. Nature's Path is serving its cereal with a generous and delicious topping of sustainability. Read about their breakthrough sustainable brand campaign.


The first workshop seminar I attended at Sustainable Brands '10, Breaking Through the Green Clutter: Examining the Internals of a Breakthrough Sustainable Brand Campaign, was a fitting and exciting start to The Conference. Maria Emmer-Aanes, Director of Marketing,with Canadian company, Nature's Path, who works for one of my favorite sustainable brands, like me, made the trip down from Vancouver to run a joint session with their branding agency, Egg USA. I love this presentation format. It's not just the marketer commenting about their work in glowing terms. By co-presenting with Maria Emmer-Aanes, Director of Marketing & Communications at Nature’s Path, Egg executives Marty McDonald and Hilary Bromberg, were able to showcase two important factors:

1. The value the client perceived from bringing in expert consultants
2. Nature's Path genuine passion and raison d'etre: bringing sustainable agriculture in the world

As an advocate for open transparency in marketing strategies, I fully agree with this type of case study. We're certainly past the stage were brands can afford to be a one-way directional broadcast. The part that made the most impression on me was not among the realms of PowerPoint statistics, but in the personal stories given by each of the presenters – the strongest among them being Maria's uncompromising view of Nature's Path's mission and core values.

The Problem: Nature's Path brand did not correspond with the company’s positioning inside an increasingly crowded cereal space. Initial focus groups keyed in on the fact that consumers felt the company gave off corporate vibes.

The Solution: Nature's Path, an independent, family-owned company, was poised to own sustainability. They were (and are) doing so many good things inside the company (read more by visiting their website), but weren’t communicating what they were doing to their stakeholders.

Instead of focusing solely on the sustainable angle, however, Nature's Path truly came to life when their inner company's culture became part of the brand. All subsequent marketing campaigns embodied a 'quirkily beautiful' image which further differentiated Nature’s Path from the crowded cereal space. How they did it combined the very best of guerrilla marketing techniques and social media. One of the best examples given: goodwill campaign ads on Vancouver's new skytrain line for the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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