We’re not all Innocent

Being authentic with your tone of voice

There was a time when supermarket shelves were catwalks of dormant packaging. Now walk into your nearest Waitrose or Sainsburys and you’re bombarded with chattering menageries of ‘friendly’ cartons, declaring sentiments like “Lot’s of goodness inside!” and “I’m really tasty!”

This trend for chatty packaging is largely due to one organisation – Innocent. When Innocent launched 13 years ago, they invested heavily in writing copy for their packaging. With a limited marketing budget to play with, their bottles and cartons had to be the voice, as well as the face, of the Innocent brand.

And it worked. Innocent now sell over two million smoothies a week. Their ability to leverage what they call ‘house media’ has helped them grow into one of the UK’s most recognised food and drink brands.

Unsurprisingly Innocent’s success has led to businesses outside of the FMCG sector adopting this way of speaking. Nowadays it’s not uncommon to open a letter from an insurance company or a bank and be greeted with forced declarations of personality. The world of business, it would seem, has discovered it’s friendly side.

And it’s not just big businesses that have been drawn in by this conversational marketing. The number one request we hear from small businesses on The British Library’s Innovating For Growth Programme is ‘we want a brand like Innocent’s’

But when you dig a bit deeper into the rise of Innocent you soon realise it’s not just about copywriting. From a playfully designed HQ (named fruit towers), to their emphasis on personable staff training, Innocent’s personality drives all four vectors of the brand. Their success isn’t just due to great copywriting, it’s about building trust through a consistent brand.

The lesson to be learnt isn’t how to talk like Innocent, but how to be genuine to who you are.