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A dynamic and creative campaign delivered in a matter of weeks to launch a new entrant into the UK snack market

by Ricky Wallace

The background

Already established in Japan and the US, ZENB was gearing up to launch in the UK with its brand-new Veggie Sticks. It required a launch strategy and compelling creative to promote the brand and product range to this new market.

Taking its name from zenbu — the Japanese expression for whole — ZENB (pronounced Zen-B) creates vegetable-based snack products aimed at consumers on the go.

ZENB is part of the brand line-up of the global corporation Mizkan, which produces the likes of Bertolli in the US, and Branston pickle and Sarson’s vinegar in the UK. Its products include a range of vegetable-based snacks that aim to move food culture forward and work to raise awareness and inspire change within the food system. They do this through the use of the whole vegetable — including the core, peel, seeds, and stem — meaning their snacks provide an easier way to eat veggies while also promoting food waste reduction.

Established in Japan, the brand launched in the US in 2019 where it is finding success with a direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales model, either in bulk as one-off packs or via a monthly subscription. The aim of this distribution model is to create a lifestyle brand experience and appeal to people who want the convenience of having their snacks delivered to their door.

Off the back of this success, ZENB set about planning to launch in the UK market, initially with its on-the-go product range, Veggie Sticks. Thanks to Zone’s expertise in creating exceptional digital marketing, content and campaign creative for some of the world’s leading businesses, ZENB asked us to develop the sales strategy and launch creative to introduce the brand to a new audience.

The challenge

Getting to know ZENB’s customers’ lifestyle habits to create a compelling sales narrative in the midst of a pandemic

ZENB’s unique selling proposition centred around its ‘Food rediscovered’ brand positioning, tapping into the desire for organic health food. Although a niche product, it operates within a highly saturated snack food marketplace.

It was important to get cut-through for this new entrant by focusing the creative on its USP and adhering to the design principles from Japan, while subtly adapting this for a different audience in the UK.

We assembled our expert team of data and content strategists and creatives to build the brand identity for the UK market. We first built out a data strategy that focused on identifying the key audiences for ZENB’s initial product launch – Veggie Sticks – in delicious red pepper, beetroot, carrot and pumpkin flavours.

ZENB wanted to target ‘Millennial Mums’. We conducted a lot of audience research work to validate this audience and uncover the key opportunity for ZENB in the UK. We utilised demographic and psychographic methods to interview consumers up and down the country and used this feedback alongside data profiling tools to identify a number of audience truths.

We were able to broaden the audience to ‘Millennial Families’, a group shaped by a number of core factors:

  • They are open-minded online shoppers and amenable to change (early adopters, curious to try new health foods)
  • They are health conscious
  • They are environmentally conscious
  • They live full lives (professionals, possibly with young children)

Taking this data-led approach meant all creative content was produced based on key user insights, giving ZENB the confidence in its effectiveness to resonate strongly with the audience, resulting in subscription sign-ups and sales.

Our creative studio went through several rounds of brainstorming and concepting based on the research, culminating in a bespoke campaign idea that perfectly reflected the ZENB brand.

The world was then hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. There wasn’t an option to delay the launch as it would negatively impact ZENB’s business. We strongly advised that it went ahead with a digital-first launch so we could start to test and learn, while building out an online community. Therefore, we had to think fast to adapt the launch strategy and creative messaging to a rapidly changing world filled with cautious, concerned consumers.

We completely overhauled the approved campaign creative and content strategy to respond to the changing needs of the audience. A full Out-of-Home campaign had been conceived which we adapted to suit a digital-first launch.

This was achieved through truly collaborative ways of working. We were able to easily liaise with stakeholders across the UK and the US by utilising our tried and tested remote working and agile principles. We had daily calls with ZENB, resulting in timely feedback where we could quickly resolve any issues or blockers with ease, meaning we were able to bring ZENB’s new vision to life in a matter of weeks.

The outcome

Using our insights to build a brand identity, we have developed campaign creative and messaging that enables ZENB to resonate with its new UK audience.

Zone worked with ZENB to successfully introduce its brand and Veggie Sticks product range to the UK market. As ZENB’s lead strategic partner, we’ve set KPIs specifically for the UK and built out a measurement framework for success, as well as collaborating with the US brand team on the overarching global creative messaging and producing full launch campaign creative for UK audiences.

We utilised our user experience expertise to recommend improvements to the global website where all purchases are made, helping to make the purchasing journey as seamless as possible.

We also collaborated with other third-party suppliers to ensure the ZENB launch went without a hitch, including Klayviyo, a specialist email marketing platform for online businesses, with whom we built out the CRM strategy to target the ‘Millennial Families’ audience.

We continue to work with ZENB to improve its end-to-end customer experience, including:

  • Content strategy, comprising advertising messaging, digital marketing and social media assets
  • Creative content production, consisting of UK website content, campaign creative, video, product design and influencer content
  • Email marketing and customer relationship management
  • Analytics and data reporting

Our focus going forward is on customer retention and brand loyalty. Our deep understanding of the market and data-led approach means we are armed with the right information to create and adapt engaging marketing campaigns and messaging that truly reflect ZENB’s customers’ needs.


Creative and design
Launch Strategy