Marcelle van den Kommer
Marketing invisible traits
Delivering iron/zinc crops:
an invisible nutrient
First Global Conference on Biofortification
9 November 2010
Invisible traits: an issue?
From attribute to aspiration: what are we selling?
Building trust; the role of branding
Marketing to BOP-consumers
The marketing process
Summary and conclusions
Some of HarvestPlus’ biofortified crops look
different from the standard….
Some do not.
Should that be a concern?
Many food products have invisible traits!
So why do consumers buy products that look the
same but promise something different?
These products deliver something they want
Same products – easier to fit into life
They believe the promise and trust the sender
1. How do we get consumers to want our products?
2. How do we generate belief and trust? Can branding help?
3. Any specifics for base-of-the-pyramid (BOP) consumers?
what the productsBenefits
ad 1. Products are means to an end for consumers
Contains zinc and iron
Improved health, income
Strong, healthy family
Be good parent / person; esteem
Brand proposition: our promise
ad 1. People have the same aspirations around the world
Unilever lifegoal model
research has shown
people have the same
lifegoals around the world
– only the meaning of
these goals may differ.
Most successful brands
connect to consumer
lifegoals and values.
ad 2. Building trust takes time and consistency
• The product comes from a trusted source:
Key influencers: People from the community
• Open and consistent communication over time,
on a rational, emotional and moral level.
ad 2. A brand identity can take many different forms
A brand identity can be linked more or less explicitly to:
The brand’s promise
The brand’s benefits
The product’s attributes
Visual brand elements: graphics, colour, logo
No brand strategy / generic product
Building trust quickly: use a trusted sender.
e.g. miller uses his name/brand; crop is mentioned as “Intel inside”.
ad 3. Marketing to BOP-consumers: providing security
Key risk in changing varieties:
food and income security.
involvement - farmer participatory breeding – demonstration fields
good access to planting material – free/subsidized samples
increased farm revenue through increased production or
improved production efficiency
added economic value from improved end-use quality and
development of markets for both the harvested biofortified crop(s)
and any processed products made from them.
ad 3. Marketing to BOP-consumers: education
Key issue: limited awareness and knowledge
about the link between food and health.
HarvestPlus crops: in general no practices
need to be altered or new skills taught.
So: Is improved revenue not enough a driver?
Do we need to talk nutrition?
Visible traits: positive, neutral, negative image.
Invisible traits: avoid misperceptions about having altered food
without consumers’ knowledge.
-> explain, educate, inspire!
Behaviour change model: how to increase adoption
what the products
Cognitive – relevant
health/strength <-> impact nutrition
The marketing process
Place / distribution
Into the market:
Marketing invisible traits is not new.
Consumers around the world have similar aspirations.
The brand proposition best to connect to consumers’ goals and values.
Brand identities come in many forms.
A trusted source such as key influencers or a brand help building trust,
together with consistent communication.
For BOP-consumers ensuring food and income security is key.
Education about food and health is necessary for increased adoption for
both visible and invisible traits.
There are 3 stages in successful marketing: brand development,