Froosh – Borrowing and building ideas from other markets

Guest post by David Nichols, Managing Partner (Global) and Head of Invention.

Updated following feedback from Brendan, CEO of Froosh – thanks Brendan.

And again, following feedback from Ben, at design agency Holmes and Marchant.

I just received a note from someone I worked with a while back letting me know they have now joined a brand called Froosh. You may not be aware of them (I wasn’t’) but they are a funky Scandanavian brand of smoothies.

They have an irreverent personality, believe in the power of fruit, use friendly, lower case typography and try to be as ethical as possible. They have a manifesto entitled ‘In Fruit We Trust’, which outlines their obsession with fruit and fruitfarms and their power to transform communities in developing countries.

Sound familiar?

Froosh products
If it does, that’s because Froosh seem to us to have borrowed some ideas from innocent smoothies, the UK’s leading smoothie brand, who we’ve blogged on many times.

Indeed, as Ben told us in his comment on this post, Froosh just happen to have used a design agency called Pearlfisher who also worked for…. innocent. Prize for balls goes to Pearlfisher for putting with pride both of these competitive brands in their credentials 😉

Screen Shot 2012-01-31 at 11.22.16
Is it wrong to copy some elements of a brand in another market like this?  Or should they be applauded, for taking a winning formula, building on it and applying it to a new market?

I think they should be applauded.  Here’s why:

1.   Borrow with pride

–       There should be no shame in borrowing ideas from competitors in other markets. In fact, this is a well worn marketing strategy. After all, innocent arrived 19 years after the the original funky, friendly fruit drink brand Odwalla was launched in the US, as Froosh CEO Brendan points out in his comment on this post.

2.   Physical availability is king

–       Being where people can buy the product is the first and most important driver of business.  If the ‘first mover’ in a category has not taken up a particular channel or territory, then why not jump in and take the opportunity?

–    Innocent was widely available only in the UK for several years after launch in 1999. Froosh launched in Sweden in 2004, before we think innocent had a major presence there, then expanding to Denmark and Finland. And although innocent is now sold in Denmark and Finland, Froosh’s head start has helped them be the market leader in Scandanavia.

3.   Borrow AND build

–       If possible, its better to borrow and build on an idea, to make it your own, not just copy the idea outright.

–       In the case of Froosh, they have added one functional difference versus innocent– they use glass bottles only, which they claim to be better for the environment and give better shelf life without preservatives.

–        Time will tell whether Froosh can achieve the same success in Scandinavia that Innocent has enjoyed in the UK. They have a huge challenge to do their brand building as well as innocent. What will be the Danish equivalent of the Big Knit promotion or Fruitstock festival?

In conclusion, Froosh’s success in being Scandanavia’s leading smoothie brand shows how borrowing and building on ideas from other markets can be a great way of building a brand and business.