Revitalisation by Ryvita

My highlight of last week was news from Carol and the Ryvita team about good results from their brand revitalisation, that we helped them on, back in 2009. The brand now in 22% value growth year-on-year, and total value share is up 2.3pts to 15.3%.

Its a great example of re-focusing on the core business and rejuvenating it.

1. Refresh the brand expression

At the heart of the Ryvita re-launch was a more confident and contemporary expression of the brand, both in terms of product “sausage” and emotional “sizzle”.

Screen Shot 2012-02-27 at 10.39.01The brand had become famous as an aid to dieting, with advertising proclaiming “In the inch war, Ryvita helps you win”. Later advertising maintained the diet association by featuring a TV presenter, Fern Britton, who was a public and controversial dieter (using surgery to loose weight). This was a clear positioning, but it led to the brand’s crispbreads having an image of being dry, boring and “punitive”: something you had to eat rather than want to eat. And by 2009, people were less prepared ro make a “trade-off” when trying to eat more healthily. They wanted healthy food that was nice to eat too.

A breakthrough came when talking to Ryvita users by themselves, not in a focus group setting. They said they loved the product. It was crunchy, tasty and the perfect host for lots of lovely toppings. And on top, it was really healthy.

This led to a communication strategy to dramatise the delicious food you can create with Ryivta. Also, the idea was to portray Ryvita in a social setting, not a something to eat on your own in secret. The re-launch advertising had the endline “For Ladies who Crunch” and can be seen here.

I think the recent fine-tuning of the campaign here makes it even more effective. The new set of three friends and the higher production values make the brand more aspirational. And the endline “Fancy that” is a call to action that dials up the taste appeal.

2. Follow the money

The team “followed the money” to re-focus talent and budget on the core crispbread business, which accounted for 70% of sales, but was in decline. The team took the tough decision to kill two new products had been diverting attention from the core, risked diluting the Ryvita brand and where the “ability to win” was limited. The first was Limbos, a savoury snack which took Ryvita head-to-head against the might of Walkers (Frito Lay). The second was goodness bars, which took the brand out of savoury food into sweet cereal bars, up against the power of Kellogg’s.

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3. The power of packaging

The crispbread packaging has been re-vamped, with two key improvements I think are worth highlighting. First, the new packs celebrate the product plus topping, whereas the previous version had actually made the Ryvita crispbread invisible, as if the brand was embarrassed about showing its product!. Second, the new pack introduces a consistent brand symbol in the form of the red rectangle, which is now used across the range and should help create “memory structure” to make the brand recognizable on shelf.

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4. Smart stretching

The Ryvita Thins extension has worked well for the brand, helping add incremental sales value of £8million. The brand has tapped into the habit of “dipping” which is popular, and created a product to meet this need which is, for the moment, unique. Dipping is a social habit, so Thins further builds the sociability of the brand.

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5. Using product formats for memory structure

A final thing I like about Ryvita is the way the product range has consistency in format, texture and mouth experience: rectangular/square, crunchy, savoury. This is an under-used way of building distinctive memory structure that helps the brand be recognized and recalled. Interestingly, the two products that were killed, Goodness Bars and Limbos, broke with this memory structure and so were diluting the brand’s visual equity.

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In conclusion, Ryvita is a cracking (sorry) case study that shows how to re-focus create energies and budgets on the core business to get it growing again. And then using this solid foundation as a platform for stretching into new occasions.


To get some practical help to grow your core business, you can download our Core Growth Driver toolkit by using the form below. This walks you through the 8 core growth drivers we’ve used on consulting projects and in training for leading companies including Mars, Unilever, Mondelez and AB InBev.

We also offer a short, on-demand course on our brandgym Academy platform here. The course is only £95+VAT and is fully refunded if you go on to take the full Mastering Brand Growth program.

To explore grow brand revitalisation, check out the following post HERE