Completely rebranding a high-profile product line that has tremendous customer and retailer loyalty is a juggernaut effort. What anchored our approach here, as it does with all of our clients, is our conviction that a brand is not a logo or a shouting of features and benefits. It’s a gut feeling you want others to have about what you stand for, how you relate to them, and the impact you can have on the quality of their experiences. In other words, those elements that make your company and its products imperative.
When it came time to sign the contract for this particular engagement, our client came to the table with a pen and paperwork. He also brought a bunch of very sharp knives. You see, that client is Eric Gutknecht, the CEO of one of Denver’s most admired food manufacturers, Continental Sausage, Inc. So the knives were for the big plate of his right-out-of-the-smoker Bison Pastrami Round and Smoked Buffalo and Pork Jalapeño Cheddar Bratwurst that he wanted us to taste. “Is this where I’m supposed to sign?” he asked. I replied, “Yes. And wow!”
Get Stirred Up is called in to brand and rebrand many types of companies. A sausage manufacturer was a first for us, however. And boy, did we score with Continental. Not only did we have a remarkable story to reveal about four generations of culinary artisanship, a passionate and community-focused husband and wife leadership team, a rich archive of historical imagery from the family’s businesses in Switzerland, and a plethora of industry awards. More importantly, we had phenomenal products to showcase. Products we were familiar with but versions that completely changed our perceptions of what they could taste like and how they could be produced.
It ended up being these two drivers—craveable flavor profiles that appeal to what we refer to as “modern palates” and the highest standards of ingredient selection, sourcing and production—that became the anchors for our brand strategy. Every brand touchpoint, from the name and logo to the website, package design, and messaging needed to reinforce these attributes in a bold and compelling manner.
That was a big shift for Eric and his wife, Jessica, the company’s CFO. They had already achieved more than a 500% increase in sales since they took over the business from Eric’s parents in 2003 and started selling their products in major retail accounts like Costco, Whole Foods, and various specialty stores. They achieved that with a brand name and packaging that were unremarkable, at best.
But they asked for that shift. Having recently sold their family’s deli in Cherry Creek in order to switch their entire focus to manufacturing, they felt it was imperative that their branding more accurately reflect what their company truly stands for in everything it produces, how it operates, and what its mission is within the industry.
Based on our extensive brand audit, all of that got summed up in our proposed value proposition, “REDEFINING CLASSIC CHARCUTERIE,” which became the company’s new brand positioning and its trademarked tagline.
As we addressed the topic of creating a new brand name for the entire product line, we encouraged Eric and Jessica to recognize that they were producing much more than just sausages, so it seemed critical to not limit the new name to that one specific category. We made the case that sausages, bratwursts, pastramis, patés and all of their other products are more broadly defined as “charcuterie,” a European term that is increasingly showing up on restaurant menus and in culinary publications throughout North America.
These products are the “classics” and the varieties Continental produces are steeped in its family’s four generations of traditional Swiss charcuterie artisanship. Bringing the family’s proud heritage in line with today’s highest standards of ingredient sourcing, recipe formulation and manufacturing was a real priority for Eric and Jessica. So was their mandate to exceed the expectations of their customers’ increasingly adventurous palates, keen understanding of nutritional and dietary requirements, and strict ethical standards regarding how their food is produced.
Taking all of that into consideration, we proposed the name “CharcūtNuvo,” playing off of the two words, “charcuterie” and “new” in a playful and thoroughly modern manner. The tagline, Redefining Classic Charcuterie™ further reinforces this. The new website does so, as well, in a visually and editorially engaging manner, even though it will primarily focus on e-commerce.
When we turned our attention to redesigning their packaging, we focused on the product names. Using a black background color allowed us to make the product names really stand out in super bold, all-white typeface. So when loyal customers look for Continental’s beloved Jackalope Sausage or Mac-n-Cheese Furter, they’ll be sure to find them, even though the brand name and package design is different.
For the initial brand transition, we made sure to include an updated version of the Continental logo on the new packages, indicating that Continental Sausage, Inc. is the “Maker of CharcūtNuvo.” We also printed the two logos on all of the shipping containers and boxes, to minimize confusion among distributors and retailers.
As is the case with any major rebranding, especially with a consumer-facing product, it is critical to create dynamic messaging that results in engagement. In this case, we opted to go with a print and digital ad campaign of big, bold, whimsical text headlines, accompanied by imagery of the new packaging.
For example, one ad in that campaign reads: “Our Jackalope is Dope.” And the only other items featured on that ad are an image of the new packaging for their Jackalope Sausage product and the new logo and tagline. Another single-spot ad features the phrase, “Shar-koot-noo-WHOA!” along with a variety of products in their new packaging and the new logo and tagline. The latter ad will be featured at Coors Field, where some of the company’s products are sold at the concession stands.
Products under the new brand name and packaging are now being introduced into various retail accounts, most prominently at Whole Foods Markets and Costco.
For more information, please visit www.CharcutNuvo.com.