Brownes Dairy Transformation

Finding the true purpose behind an iconic dairy.

Brownes engaged Meerkats in a significant internal transformation strategy to help them uncover their purpose. As 100-year-old company with a rich and varied history, it was clear to many in the business that they had lost their way. The original passion for making great dairy products, shown by the founders, had been lost to the commercial pressures of the modern business, which now faced significant disruption.

Meerkats began the strategic process of our Motivating Business Idea (MBI). We researched and dug deep into the business, talking with farmers, the owner’s family and many of the employees – some of whom had worked at the dairy for more than thirty years.

The mother of all transformations.

One of the key moments in the transformation of Brownes came from the human insight that many of their employees were mothers. What we uncovered was an embarrassment they felt when not giving their own children the product they made daily. This was pivotal.

Here was a business full of employees who knew how to make delicious, healthy, affordable dairy. Products that mums everywhere could afford to give their family every day. The truth was the employees didn’t like what they were making. They thought the reason the business was failing was not because of commercial competition, it was that the products weren’t good enough.

Brownes’ staff wanted to make great products that were tasty enough and healthy enough to feed to their families. Products that were natural, affordable and made from a place of passion - not commercial process.

The purpose of Making Better Dairy Together emerged. It changed everything. Products were re-imagined, ingredients and recipes re-worked. New processes were built from the ground-up. Machines were re-tooled. Passion was re-ignited. The commercial viability of this businesses true purpose was set free. Things were looking up, and a new air of confidence and belief was evident to all.

By mums. For mums. Advertising the truth.

This rediscovered purpose drove them to create a new product they’d deem good enough to feed their own kids. After a year of research and product and packaging development, Brownes’ kids were gobbling up a new, healthy and natural yoghurt.

We dug into category data to research whether the idea of being ‘proudly made by mums, for kids’ was compelling to the broader yoghurt market. We knew that making a good decision was more than just sticking to a budget: it was also feeding her family nutritious food they’d actually eat. As mums themselves, Brownes wanted to be thought of as her ‘trusted dairy partner’, helping make it easy to make tasty and healthy choices.

Silence is yoghurt.

The mums at Brownes that made this new yoghurt felt great. This was a product that was all-natural, and one that got eaten. Their kids loved it because it was delicious. How did we know? Because when we did the analysis and watched kids eat it, the thing everyone really noticed was … the silence. A moment of quiet food appreciation mums normally associated with foods that created guilt. This moment, we all realised, was rare. ‘A Natural Silence’ was imagined: a moment when you can enjoy your child enjoying a moment.

So we turned to real children, not professional talent. We simply recorded these kids quietly enjoying the yoghurt. No voiceover, no music, no branding, no call to action. As simple and natural as the product itself. Then we put the spots in the middle of the noisiest event of the year, the AFL Grand Final.

The results keep improving.

It changed mums’ attitudes towards Brownes yoghurt, and increased the number of families that purchased Brownes. For many, it changed the brand they most regularly purchased.

  • Beyond simple awareness, effective reach (brand recognition and linkage) indexed at 209% compared to normative category data.
  • Consumers who had seen the campaign were 12% more likely to have noticed the product.
  • 70% of research respondents that saw the ad felt Brownes was the best yoghurt to feed their kids.
  • The number of consumers who saw the TV ad and intended to try the yoghurt indexed at 162% vs normative category data.
  • Of those who had noticed the product, 71% of those exposed to the campaign had tried it.
  • Total category growth was 9.7% by volume and 2.4% by value. Brownes, by contrast, grew 19.4% by volume and 11.1% by value.
  • Brownes saw a statistically significant uplift in the standard IPSOS brand equity measures of popularity, quality, relevance, familiarity and uniqueness both for its yoghurt brand and master brand.