We make vegan cheese which sells through supermarkets. I’m not sure how loud to go on our vegan-ness! The quadrant exercise (with Oreos bottom left) was useful. I’d put us in the top left corner.
Only half of the customers I spoke to in my research were vegan – the rest were reducing dairy for health or allergy reasons, but many of them mentioned their discomfort with the impact of dairy on the environment and the animals – this makes me think that although they’re not vegan, they see it as a good thing to be “on side” with, and to work towards – so for our brand to be loud and proud about vegan wouldn’t alienate them. On the other hand, as a proud vegan myself, I worry a little that my personal preferences are colouring my perception of this! Would appreciate any thoughts on this.
Hey Alice – yes, it’s a dilemma that a lot of people are facing at the moment – how ‘vegan’ you should go with your brand.
If you look at someone like Beyond Meat, 93% of their customers are meat-eaters. These are people who would not pick the product up if it was labelled ‘vegan’. But Beyond Meat are actively taking spend away from the meat industry by embracing ‘plant-based’ which is exactly what we want to happen.
I would suggest you go for the lowest common denominator. If half your customers are not vegan then accommodate for them, because the half who are vegan will understand that your product is still suitable for them without you having to say.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t embrace being a vegan company though, and this is where you can ease your vegan conscience. Your product might be someone’s first step on their plant-based journey and that’s what’s important: once you have someone engaging with your brand, can you use that relationship to help them take further steps?
Think about what else you can do to promote cruelty-free living once someone is engaging with your brand. Could you and your team volunteer your time once a month to help promote your local animal sanctuary, and cover this on your social media, to get people who follow your brand to think about the impact of the dairy industry without being explicit in what you say? Could you include recipes that your cheese is great for, and they all just happen to be vegan recipes? Could you link up with other vegan products and do cross-promotions or collaborations – such as in the UK: Meatless Farm, Applewood Vegan Cheese and One Planet Pizza have all teamed up to make the amazing Meatless Farm Cheezeburger Pizza: https://www.oneplanetpizza.com/meatless-farm-cheezeburger-pizza/
Lisa calls this ‘being a vegan ninja’ because it’s promoting vegan by stealth, and just like Blondes Cruelty-free cafe on the worksheet (who are proud vegan campaigners) you should never be afraid of moving your message to match your customer base if it gets more people onto plants. And you can use that connection to keep gently steering them in the right direction once you have!
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I want a brand with a sexy lady on it…I see this, because veganism = health and good vibes!! To my mind, an underutilised part of the equation!! :))))