I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions…
I know. I know. Let me explain.
I am a huge proponent of having goals. I believe in dreaming big and having big goals to backup those dreams. One of Kaye and my’s current goals is to publish a book. And I get a huge smile on my face typing that out. Because it’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be transformational. It’s going to be HARD. But it’s going to be worth it.
But…resolutions, I’ve just never been able to get on board with. Maybe it’s because they’re focused on one year of change. Or a lot of the time, they’re focused on something SUPER drastic that’s not sustainable. A resolution needs to have a recovery plan for if/when you lose motivation. Because…#life.
That being said, something I’ve focused on in the last couple years is eating healthier. It hasn’t been a specific year’s resolution, but it’s top of mind.
Which made researching this month’s Unlocking Big Brand Genius an absolute blast! I LOVE cooking healthy and actually enjoy eating tons of vegetables. BUT, I have the most ridiculous sweet tooth! I can eat healthy all day and then ruin it all by sitting in front of the TV at night eating 5x the recommended serving of Oreos….#truth.
Then I started researching Quest Nutrition. I think I’ve found my key to healthy eating with chocolate…and cookies…and pancakes! Because, they aren’t JUST protein bars!
So without further ado, let’s take a deep dive look into the Quest Nutrition brand. As always, watch for the top 10 branding lessons you can directly apply to your brand!
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I love how clean and inviting Quest Nutrition’s website is! It immediately pulls you in with delicious imagery. You’re on a website promoting protein rich foods yet the first thing you see is a chocolate chip cookie. I’m in! And now I’m hungry…
As you scroll, you learn that Quest is WAY more than protein bars. My favorite is that they have chips! I’m willing to bet that a common misconception for Quest is that they only sell protein bars. Or protein bars and powder. So right off the bat, they mention their chips, cookies, and cereal bars! Smart move.
Entrepreneurial Tip #1: Set the record straight! Do you have common misconceptions about your brand or in your industry? Make sure your audience understands the truth.
I also LOVE Quest Nutrition’s logo. It’s simple, strong, and bold. The perfect symbolism for their brand. One lesson I learned early in my branding journey is that it’s OK to keep your logo simple. Using a strong font and keeping text only in your logo can be the PERFECT route for your brand. Countless big brands utilize this concept and never stray.
Entrepreneurial Tip #2: If you’re struggling with your logo design and symbolism, go simple. You can always revisit down the road when you have the money/time to hire a designer. But you also may find you never want to add anything else and that you now have the perfect logo for your brand.
Quest Nutrition actually uses a few strategies that fit into very different archetypes:
- Creator: Quest has created its own Cheat Clean Cookbook. This cookbook breaks down meal recipes using…you guessed it…Quest products! Recently, they’ve gone a step further by introducing a video series. They show step by step how to cook/bake some of their most popular recipes!
- Entertainer: A lot of Quest’s imagery and language point towards enjoying life! And eating delicious food as you do. They use imagery of people outside enjoying life with their GIANT products tied in to each scene. It’s fun and lighthearted!
- Innocent: One area where Quest has strong Innocent ideals is its mission statement. They are very clear in their mission to make clean eating simple and delicious. Because it should be simple. It’s black and white. You shouldn’t have to compromise taste for healthy. They’ll never compromise on THAT value.
That being said, the strongest brand archetype Quest exemplifies is the Hero Personality. They are driven to creating products that “help customers perform at their upper limits.” Even as I found examples of other archetypes sprinkled in, Quest always drives back to its Hero roots. This is key to building a successful, but REAL brand. While they create an entire series on cooking Quest recipes, they also dedicate time to a series on transformational change. They motivate through real life examples of people accomplishing their goals without compromise. While they have bright, silly imagery on their website, Quest also stays true to a set Hero design with their color and font choices. I personally love their bright blue as the basis of all design.
Entrepreneurial Tip #3: You will end up with things that aren’t 100% in line with your archetype. If it’s working for your brand, then it’s the right move. Archetypes are your guidelines to making brand decisions. But remember – you are the brain behind the brand. Just make sure you are always being true to your core brand values.
One of my favorite examples of Quest’s Hero roots is scattered throughout their “Our Story” page. It’s evident in their language, drive, mission, and perseverance.
From the start, Quest valued setting the bar high and not accepting any compromises to their end goal. Their end goal was a delicious and healthy product. They believed deep in their core that with enough hard work, they would accomplish their goals. And, they were tested…time and time again! Customers LOVED their products, to a point where they couldn’t produce fast enough. Using industry tested machinery was a bust for them. But, true to their mission, instead of altering their quality, they built custom machinery to produce their bars.
Entrepreneurial Tip #4: If you’re struggling with content creation, use your archetypes as a guideline. All archetypes have common, time-tested themes and storylines. These themes demonstrate the archetypes’ unique strengths and values. Use them as your North Star.
The first thing I *have* to point out with Quest Nutrition’s marketing plan is that they are kicking butt on video. I love all the different directions they’ve gone to capitalize on video content. First, the step-by-step cooking tutorials and the videos of real-life transformations. Then, I wasted… rather, *researched* for a good 15 minutes watching Quest employees try out recipes from their Cheat Clean Cookbook. That series looks like it was a bit old (most videos published last year) so it may not have been giving the returns they wanted, but props to a fun, creative idea. And it’s ALWAYS a win to humanize your brand with real employees being themselves.
Entrepreneurial Tip #5: You’ve heard time and time again to humanize your brand. Let your audience get to know the brain behind the brand. But, that goes for more than just YOU. Be open and honest about the fact that you don’t do everything yourself. Let your employees share a little bit of themselves too. This gives your audience more to relate to.
Entrepreneurial Tip #6: Video is taking over. Get your brand on board with video content. There are *so* many ways to take advantage of this media – find what works for you.
Quest Nutrition is active on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and sorta Twitter. They are another fabulous example of keeping their social media cohesive without boring you to death. For example, their current marketing focuses on their protein cookies. BUT every single promotion doesn’t look the same. They utilize nutritional information on some graphics, and natural ingredients on others. And they bypass the standard banner all together by using a video banner on their Facebook page. Genius!
They’ve also done a great job of building up their following and utilizing brand advocates on social media platforms. On their website, Quest has a “Quest Squad” application. You can apply to be one of their product ambassadors. I’m not sure what’s ALL included in the title because I didn’t apply. 😉 But the lesson is still there! Treat your top advocates extra special! Show them how much you appreciate them! Quest gives their brand advocates exclusive access to extras and contests. In exchange, they have RAVING fans on social media. They’ve capitalized on this extra attention with the hashtag: #onaquest. This makes it SUPER easy to find motivated brand fans. These individuals cook with Quest products and lead healthy lifestyles are ALL over Instagram!
Entrepreneurial Tip #7: Create and *cultivate* brand advocates. It’s not always enough to pick a hashtag and expect your audience to make it viral. Exclusivity, contests, or personal call-outs can all help your brand advocate program take off. Be creative and have fun with it!
Quest Nutrition does a fabulous job of being inclusive to all – not just super fit athletes. Early on in their journey, Quest realized that it wasn’t only athletes enjoying Quest bars. They had teenagers, parents, and professionals interested in their products. It was about more than fueling your body with protein. They had accomplished their goal: A simple, healthy, delicious product and the word quickly spread!
Even to this day, Quest is achieving its goal of appealing to people that want to be healthier. This is especially true in their imagery. They aren’t JUST showing athletes accomplishing impossible acts. They’re fun, light hearted people that look healthy and enjoy life.
Entrepreneurial Tip #8: Don’t limit yourself or your brand by identifying TOO specific of a niche of ideal clients. There may be a whole other subset of customers that would buy if you spoke to shared values instead of specific demographics.
Quest has done a great job creating a strong, straightforward brand. It consistently portrays their values, mission, and goals for the future. That being said, building your brand never ends. And there’s always room for improvement. So, here are a few suggestions for the Quest Nutrition brand.
Expand on the Quest Brand Timeline:
I love Quest Nutrition’s origin story. It’s textbook Hero. Hero entrepreneurs out there… observe this structure! It starts with an idea. A goal. Throughout the years, they explain all the obstacles they overcame in accomplishing that goal. They talk about the times they could have taken the easy route. They talk about the challenges they encountered as a direct result of NOT accepting any compromises. BUT, the story stops in 2014. It’s 2018 and Quest’s growth and expansion is extraordinary. But we are in the dark to what’s happening or what challenges they’ve overcome in the last three years. I’d absolutely recommend they expand on their timeline with the same structure they’ve already perfected.
Entrepreneurial Tip #9: Your brand must evolve and adapt as you do. Throughout the years, you’ll grow, make mistakes, accomplish goals, and change direction. And repeat. Use this evolution to fuel your content and your credibility.
Further Develop a More Inclusive Community:
Quest has done a fabulous job of creating and cultivating their Quest Squad. BUT, they have a whole community outside that niche that I’m sure wants to feel the love as well. They are a brand for anyone looking to improve their health and not sacrifice taste in the process. And their Hero Personality is motivated by improving the world. How fabulous would it be to have a space on their website or even a dedicated Facebook group to everyone that loves Quest. Those individuals that want to learn about the products or comment on the recipes in the Cheat Clean Cookbook. The individuals that love the cookies and cereal bars but have never used protein powder in their lives. Why do they even need it? And bonus – Quest already has a whole vetted community of experts! The Quest Squad can be active in the group by creating discussion or answering questions. #winwinwin
Strict Imagery Guidelines:
Quest goes a few different directions when creating images and graphics. This CAN be ok, but it can also be a slippery slope for your brand recognition. They use bright colored backgrounds when promoting specific products. Then they mix in wooden backgrounds/patterns when they’re focused on ingredients. When including people with the products, they keep the photos outside, and usually make their products 10x the normal size (which I love!) These paths are all great on their own, but aren’t cohesive with each other. It looks like their brand has evolved, but they haven’t taken the time to audit what “on-brand” now means for their business.
This is also very clear on their blog. They use some of the imagery mentioned above, but then they add in comics and selfies for some of their graphics. The result looks a bit disheveled. It looks like part of this comes from the fact that other people are writing the blogs on behalf of Quest. But that makes this even more important. You must ensure that content stays consistent with the look and feel of your brand. Even when brand ambassadors are publishing on your behalf.
Entrepreneurial Tip #10: All design aspects on your website MUST be on brand. This is non-negotiable. If you have writers or brand ambassadors publishing on your behalf (which is a *genius* move), offer to provide the graphics that go along with the content. Or give some template options.
Quest Nutrition has a strong brand. They’re impressive *just* when you look at their strategy and tactics in building their brand reputation. But then…you look at the hard numbers, and truly understand. Quest Nutrition is an A+ example of a successful business that worked *hard* to get to the top and didn’t compromise their values and goals in the process. In three years, they grew by 57,000% and earned the #2 spot on the Inc. 500 list. (Source: Forbes) They started out with 4 employees and now have hundreds. They’re a textbook example of what a few people can do with a unique idea, dedication, and a great brand. 😉