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What Your Large CPG Can Learn from 3 Challenger Brands Disrupting the Content Game

Mar 4, 2022

Written By
Danielle Muller

Established consumer goods brands — yours included — need to rethink their marketing strategies as challenger brands disrupt the content game. 

Glossy, manicured production value no longer wows consumers, especially the elusive and highly sought-after Gen-Z audience. All consumers are more interested in content that tells a story, fosters genuine connection, and speaks to the whole human. Content that only serves to reiterate product features just won’t cut it. 

In other words, today’s consumers want authenticity

How can a large CPG company like yours create authentic content like smaller, more agile companies? You might feel like there’s too much red tape at your organization. But give yourself a little credit. You have the resources to create innovative content, even if you take baby steps to get there. Use these three brands as inspiration.

1. Fly By Jing: A Personal Narrative Creates a Popular Brand 

This spice and condiment company was born out of a suitcase when Jing, the founder formerly known as Jenny, stopped trying to assimilate and started claiming her own identity. She left a corporate job, moved back to her hometown in China, opened a restaurant featuring Sichuan cooking, and found herself. 

All of that soul searching led to the Fly By Jing its devoted consumers know and love today. An emerging, New York Times-featured company selling authentic Chinese sauces. 

How do we know all of this about Jing? She writes about her journey openly through content on Fly By Jing’s website. It doesn’t get more relatable and authentic than Jing and her story. She shares so much more than the (amazing) features of her (delicious) products. 

This company’s content is so engaging, it makes the consumer feel instantly connected to Jing and her line of products. But Fly By Jing didn’t stop at storytelling on their website. To remain relatable and retain their cult-like following, the brand joined the NSFW platform OnlyFans. They’re one of just a few companies experimenting with the platform, which, like Fly By Jing, is all about appealing to intimate audiences

Fly By Jing’s content strategy is nothing short of brilliant. The proof is in the pudding — or hot sauce. 

2. Mid-Day Squares: Likable Founders Make for a Loveable Company 

Speaking of success, Mid-Day Squares started with one snack chocolate bar and is now a phenomenon. All of their offerings are plant-based and delicious

The company was founded by a husband, wife, and brother team. They bake authenticity into their brand by documenting every step of their journey as inexperienced entrepreneurs — from the challenges of being young and married to a Cardi B-inspired podcast episode. They’ve even discussed visiting a business therapist. Talk about transparency. 

Mid-Day Squares built a narrative around their brand before they even mentioned the actual chocolate. And it’s a good thing, because while the product itself might not garner a huge following, this kind of 360 degree access to its owners sure has. 

Even now that the company is more established, they continue to make fun, authentic, and inspiring content that gives consumers full access to what it’s like behind the scenes at Mid-Day Squares. 

3. Last Crumb: Exclusivity Breeds Notoriety 

Last Crumb — a cookie company launched in LA that ships everywhere — is less than a year old. But it’s already made a huge splash thanks to the drop model

The food brand offers a limited number of cookie batches every week to an exclusive list of subscribers and social media followers. You have to get on a waitlist just to hear about the drop. And even then you’re not promised any cookies. They typically sell out in under a minute once a drop goes live. The icing on the cookie? Consumers don’t seem to balk at the $150 per box price tag. 

It might sound too good to be true. But content and branding have made it possible for Last Crumb to attain this level of success and notoriety. The brand is built on exclusivity, and every word of their content speaks to that as well as their cheeky, irreverent ethos. Without this level of confidence and exclusivity — and the content to back it up — Last Crumb probably couldn’t do what they do. 

The drop model isn’t the best choice for every brand, at least not on the scale Last Crumb is using it. But you can still work exclusivity into your content strategy. Perhaps use the drop model for a single product in your line, or something limited edition. You could even try talking about this limited edition offering with the nonchalance that works so well for Last Crumb. 

Authentic Content Can Future-Proof Your CPG Brand  

Crafting content that truly resonates with consumers and provides value outside of the attributes of your product is the wave of the future. That goes for brands both large and small. Consumers’ expectations for connective, creative content are already increasing.  

We know your food and beverage brand is feeling the pressure from two sides — challenger brands like the ones discussed here and sophisticated private labels. Perhaps the only way to compete is to up your storytelling game with authentic, unique content.

If you’re still feeling uninspired or don’t know where to start, let the storytellers at The GRO Agency do the marketing strategy and copywriting work for you. Get in touch.

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