Danone’s distinctive innovation taps into local culture

Post by Bety Martinez, brandgym Partner based in Mexico City.

Breaking through the stream of new products launched every month is a tough challenge. Danone’s new line of yoghurts celebrating the regions of Mexico is an example of how to do just this. Its early days for the launch, but signs so far are positive. “We are pleased with the results that keep being strong and growing,” commented Alejandro Campos, Danone Brand Director.

In this post we review some of the key learnings from the launch to inspire future innovation.

1. Global stature, local voice

The new range of yoghurts is a lovely example of a global brand showing it can speak in a ‘local accent’. “Danone is a loved brand in Mexico. We wanted to celebrate local pride through our core and most iconic brand,” commented Alejandro from Danone. This nicely combines the trust of a big international brand with the closeness and proximity of a local brand.

2. Distinctive product ‘sausage’ …

The lineup of five flavours each have a distinctive twist versus a regular yoghurt, using fruits typical of a specific Region in Mexico such as fig, guava, coconut-lime, banana, and mixed berries. Every product also uses 100% Mexican milk.

3. … with emotional ‘sizzle’

I love how each flavor tells a little story about the region it is sourced from. This makes it feel more than just a product, allowing consumers to connect with the proposition on an emotional level. Here’s how one of the products is described in the brand’s social media feed:

‘Veracruz fills our soul ❤️ with the freshness of its fruits like coconut and lemon 🥥🍋. With them we create a delicious combination with our yoghurt made from 100% Mexican milk and natural ferments. You have to try it! # Let’s celebrate what unites us’

The little YouTube video for the Veracruz product suggests that the range proposition has appeal, with over 4 million views. Not bad for a simple product video with no special effects, crazy stunts or expensive celebrities: it lets the product do the talking!

4. Brand Social Responsibility

This is a lovely example of what we call ‘brand social responsibility’ (BSR), where a social cause is ‘baked in’ to the product. Sourcing ingredients from local communities not only supports local economies, but also provides lower transportation costs and guarantees the freshness of the ingredients.

We suggest BSR innovation is more powerful than the more common corporate social responsibility (CSR), where a company sells normal products and donates a percentage of profits to a good cause. This is because BSR has a direct link between the brand and the cause, providing more of an incentive to purchase the product.

5. Beautiful execution 

Smart strategy is key, but so is excellent execution. Each of the flavours has a beautifully crafted bottle design with colourful elements of the Regional culture. For example, the Michoacan bottle proudly showcases the millions of Monarch butterflies that have this region as a home in the winter.

The right level of marketing support is also critical to give any new product a chance of success. The regional yoghurts seem to be getting decent support, based on the strong in-store placement and the brand’s on and offline marketing.

In conclusion, the Danone Mexican Celebration yogurts show how a great product ‘sausage’ combined with a compelling story with emotional ‘sizzle’ can help design distinctive innovation that cuts through the clutter.