Section 1: Understanding your customer and the market
Section 2: Your vegan marketing toolbox
Section 3: Creating and carrying out your marketing plan

Recap, resources and support

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Excellent section. I admit, so far I saw my readers as either vegans or pre-vegans. When I analyse my messaging to date, it is clear they are mostly intended for vegans for the environment, ethical vegans, and vegan activists. I never directed any messages at the vegan gym bunnies. So how about this:
The trilogy that will raise your heartbeat to a pace equal to 20 minutes on a step-machine! 🙂

Hey Maya, and ha! That’s certainly an idea!

I would say however that your book trilogy shouldn’t be viewed in terms of vegans and pre-vegans at all. There are plenty of books with a message that have been adopted into popular culture way beyond those people that were already behind the message. Take the works of George Orwell for instance or the many dystopian novels that are thinly-veiled warnings against climate change. I remember reading Coffin Road by Peter May which was a gritty Scottish Highlands mystery that had a strong message against industrial pesticides.

To take the next step in getting your book in front of a wider audience, you may need to stop thinking about it in terms of someone’s vegan journey at all.

Donna Gryniewicz May 24, 2022 at 1:37 pm

Really interesting content on here ..

I feel that my business is coming from a different angle .. my business is marketed at vegan businesses that need admin support titled ‘Your Vegan VA’

I am getting anxious that only 1% of the population are vegan and the likely success of my business based on those stats.
I have only just started my business so I don’t have a client base yet.

Perhaps a re-branding of my name back to my original one would be advisable .. that was ‘Aligned VA Solutions’ and then I could attract both vegan and non-vegan customers .. small businesses is my biggest target audience .. but if I still network within this community and hopefully find some vegan businesses to support?

Do you think there is a market in your community for a Virtual Assistant that supports vegan businesses?

I would be so grateful of your experienced opinions … I have to make my business a success!

Hey Donna, and great to see that you’re making progress with the course!

This is a really interesting conversation. First, can I ask you to post this question in our Community Hub on Slack. We’ve got a number of VAs I’d like to tag into the conversation so that they can tell you of their experiences. They won’t view you as competition because we’re all on the same mission.

We’ve also got a number of service-based companies who have ‘veganised’ their companies, and it would be good for you to connect with them also to see what the result was.

You’ve identified a really important point. When we turn vegan, we want to use the skillset that we already have to move the vegan cause forwards. This means the first thing we usually do is think we want to work with vegan companies until we quickly find out that those vegan companies don’t have a lot of money! Those companies that do are either not vegan (they are just selling a vegan product) or because of their size are already well-serviced and using agencies.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t build a client base of vegan companies, and the number of vegan companies is growing all the time (just look at our own mailing list of 1.7k people). But it means that the majority of vegan service businesses work with a combination of vegan and non-vegan businesses.

So there are two ways you can go with that. First, you can embrace the vegan message but make it clear that it’s YOU who are vegan but your customers don’t have to be. People see veganism as shorthand for you being ethical and environmentally conscious which is a really positive trait to have as a supplier! Take a look at https://theveganpublisher.com/ and https://yourveganbookkeeper.com/ for two Vegan Business Tribe members who have taken this approach.

Second, you can position yourself as someone who looks to work with ethical businesses – and as such you especially welcome vegan ones. Take a look at https://motion-manor.com/ and https://www.kakaducreative.com/ as Vegan Business Tribe members who have taken this route.

Both routes work. We also touch on this on Episode 078 of the podcast here: https://veganbusinesstribe.com/078-will-going-vegan-put-your-customers-off/

A third potential point to mention is that, actually, we know that the biggest marketplace for vegan products and services are non-vegans. For example, when Lisa and I first brought our marketing skills into the vegan sector, it wasn’t vegan companies who we attracted, it was the non-vegan high street brands who were most interested in us. They wanted our knowledge of vegan consumers and buying behaviour. So it may well be that your specialist skillset and knowledge of the vegan market is equally as valuable to non-vegan companies wanting to better engage with plant-based consumers.

A lot to think about!

David 🌱

I’m reading now the comments, so if I understand well, the vegan term is now mostly used (instead of plant-based) by non-vegans who want to reduce animal products for health/environmental reasons and because of the pandemic, right?
Thanks!!

Hey Pelagia – we recently revisited this topic on the podcast with some more updated thinking that you might find interesting – after VFC (Vegan Fried Chicken) banned the use of ‘plant-based’ in their descriptions and marketing:

https://veganbusinesstribe.com/044-is-it-time-to-ditch-plant-based/

‘Vegan’ means many different things to many different people – but to many non-vegan customers, they see the term ‘vegan’ as a short-cut to reducing their environmental impact or improving their health. Experience shows that most consumers only connect with the animal ethics side of veganism once they are further along their journey.

David

Fantastic content that is an eye-opener for me!
Thanks so much!

Great that you are engaging with the content Pelagia. It really helps to understand the market background.

Do you think that Galaxy, Magnum, Ben & Jerry opted for the word vegan because plant-based consumers do not consider harmful in any way (environment, health, fitness, cruelty) dairy products?

It’s an interesting conversation Carlota, and one that’s evolving too.

Many people now buy ‘vegan’ products because they consider veganism to mean environmentally conscious and ethical. So swapping out an animal product for a plant-based one is seen as the equivalent of cycling to work or taking a reusable bag to do your weekly shopping. These people still haven’t made the ethical, animal connection but they are aware that choosing some vegan products is reducing their impact on the planet in some way.

That’s why we’re seeing more of the big brands now using the word ‘vegan’ when a year or so ago they would have used ‘plant-based’. Vegan now has more positive connotations with many people than bad ones.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it normalises vegan products and the more they are exposed to plant-based the more likely they are to learn more. And we know that as soon as people start showing an interest in veganism online, it’s not long before YouTube and Facebook start recommending videos from Earthling Ed and Joey Carbstrong!

But it’s also a problem because if people are not making the ethical connection then they are less likely to transition to fully vegan, or stay vegan. Which is why I always think it’s our duty as VEGAN businesses to continue to educate our non-vegan customers that have engaged with us (in the kindest and most understanding way) that it’s not just the planet they are saving, it’s an individual too.

Ohh, really! The Vegan word is becoming more ethically relevant than plant-based? Interesting. So vegan products could be the occasional moral choice. By the way, The Vegan Word could be an interesting name for my copy business.

It could be! And yes, campaigners realised a long time ago that people who might be put off veganism when you talk about animals will engage when you talk about the environment or their own personal health. That message has really got through now. Although, it’s important once someone is on that journey to make sure they keep going and eventually make the ethical connection too.

All the points in this section are just golden for new vegan start-ups. Having been through many identities in the growing of our business, we have settled for “plant-based” as the core heading. By focusing on health and nutrition, I know we have created many more vegans through stealth tactics and removing any stigma some feared they would be tarred with. In 10 years it will be a totally different story I am sure!

That’s great David, although there is a feeling that the tide is starting to change sooner. A lot of people now see ‘vegan’ as another word for environmentally-conscious and so are starting to look out for the ‘vegan option’ the same way as they do recycled, fair-trade, etc, even if they are not vegan themselves.

I somewhat controversially spoke about the topic of the change we’re seeing on the podcast a month or so back:
https://veganbusinesstribe.com/044-is-it-time-to-ditch-plant-based/

Nice worksheet! It’s important to keep in mind that I am not my customer. But when I think about connecting my product – coaching/counseling – to people who are vegan for the ethics, I still see myself – not trusting any therapist/counselor/yoga teacher talking about holistic concepts and still consuming animal products.

Hi David, Thanks for all your help as I go through this journey. You adroitly defined different motivations behind vegan customers. I’m working in my head to extrapolate that information to my current, past and future business-to-business clients. Each of my clients has their own history, goals and motivations, but most are vegans who are in it for making the world a better place. My partner and I have explored, though, (and not gotten anywhere with it yet) with finding clients who are not vegan at all but are trying to introduce vegan products in the marketplace. I’ve seen some that have failed miserably because they don’t understand the mindsets of the core vegan audience, which while small in number are very loud and can be pretty influential.

Several years ago, we had had some communications with senior people at Native Foods, which is a fairly successful vegan restaurant chain here in the States. They had just muscled out their founder, who we knew and who was the heart and soul of the company, and at the time, I think there was no one in senior management who was actually vegan. One day, they sent out a kind of innocent-looking questionnaire to a hundred or so key people on their mailing list, one of whom was my partner. Near the end of the form was a question asking what we thought about them introducing an actual fish dish to their menu. Immediately, my partner fired off this message to every vegan leader she knew as well as well as all of our key followers. Within six hours, Native Foods was inundated with so many angry responses that they not only called off the idea, but they tried to portray it as an internal memo that they accidentally sent to a few people. Needless to say, Native Foods is vegan to this day.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to harness that kind of fervor into something that we can use to convince people to hire us. Perhaps, non-vegans with vegan products would be a good market for us.

I loved ‘The Game Changers’ produced by Pamela Anderson. Baywatch at its best. Just shows how healthy active vegans can be.

“The Game Changers will probably remain the only film in history to feature executive producer credits for James Cameron and Pamela Anderson.” ? ? ?

This course is great, I’m so glad I found you!
I’m vegan and run a translation agency, but I’m a bit scared to say openly that I’m vegan, as non-vegan prospects may run away from me and the vegan market is not yet big enough/I’m not so well known to work only for vegan businesses. At the same time, vegan prospects may prefer vegan translators who define themselves vegan – so I’m kind of stuck in the middle here.
I would really love to work only with vegan companies and having a vegan translation agency may be truly remarkable (since I don’t know vegan translation agencies for the moment), but it looks too risky…

Hey Ambra and great to have you on board! A few thoughts for you:

First, if you are serving both vegan and non-vegan customers then you don’t need to lead with the word vegan. As a service, saying you work with ethical companies or offer a cruelty-free service is a great place to start and NO-ONE is put off by the word ethical. Even the biggest companies who have spent decades ripping up the world will say they are ethical! Episode two of the podcast examines the ‘do I call my business vegan or not’ debate in quite a bit of detail as it’s one of the biggest questions we get asked:
https://veganbusinesstribe.com/podcast/

Second, if you set yourself as an expert in a specific niche then your win rate goes up. All of a sudden you are far more targetted in who you are selling to so your marketing messages connect so much better. You can even set up a separate page on your website that is dedicated to vegan translation and you lead all your vegan prospects there. Some companies go as far as setting up a separate brand, like our member Keith who runs http://veganaccountants.co.uk/ alongside their main accountancy business.

Showing your vegan credentials is important. In our agency, https://promotevegan.co/ Lisa and I have worked with many non-vegan brands but they come to us because they know we understand the market, and part of that is because we live and breath the vegan lifestyle ourselves. If I was wanting translation services for a plant-based product, I would want someone who was vegan themselves doing the translation to make sure I avoided any faux pas or animal-based colloquialisms – the foreign version of ‘putting all your eggs in one basket etc’. And it might be that non-vegan companies selling into the vegan marketplace is actually your biggest potential client-base, because these are the things they know they don’t understand and are looking for experts for.

And finally on your comment about how big the market place is, I had this conversation recently in the forums here:
https://veganbusinesstribe.com/community/ask-the-community/is-th/

Just how many new clients do you need?! 10 a year maybe? We’ve had over 1k people register with Vegan Business Tribe since we launched 12 months ago and I doubt we’ve even scratched the surface of people with vegan businesses. And that’s just the people who are vegan themselves, what about all the companies wanting to sell TO vegans and plant-based?

Managing risk is easier than you think. We talk a lot about ‘testing’ in the course before committing spending – and it’s the same here. You can put together a vegan-translation page on your website as a specialist sector you work in without throwing out the rest of your customers. You can run some low-budget Google PPC to see if you can get some traffic to the page and offer a PDF download of the 5 biggest mistakes people make when translating for vegan and plant-based products in return for someone’s email address.

You can do some ground-work and find the directors on LinkedIn of some mid-sized vegan businesses (or mid-sized food companies with plant-based products who sell overseas) and connect with them and send a link to the web page, just to see what kind of conversations you can start with them. And you can do all this whilst keeping the baby very firmly still in the bathwater in terms of your current clients!

David ?

Thank you so much David, your response is impressive! You gave me a lot of ideas to think about, this is so helpful! You guys are doing an incredible job – I will check the podcast for sure!

Yes, I will include a vegan page on my website, that’s sure.

I’m always so happy when I can support a vegan company – it feels like the “righest” thing to do ?

Rainy regards from Tuscany – stay safe and healthy!

Ambra

I actually took this topic and expanded on it for episode 010 of the podcast!

D ?

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