Rubies in the rubble ketchup picnic

Source: Rubies in the Rubble

Investing in packaging and consumer partnerships can pay dividends

As small brands, we sweat a lot in our attempts to stand out against the giant brands with deep pockets, using clever marketing plans to engage consumers, ads, promotions, samplings, pop-ups and online presence. It’s my favourite part of building a brand from the beginning – thinking outside the box to stand out.

However, this takes a lot of time and resource, with occasionally little impact on the topline.

We recently became Wimbledon’s official ketchup and mayo provider, and we received numerous messages from tennis-loving customers spotting Rubies pumps across the sites. This reminded me of the power of investing in customer partnerships – not just for revenue, but for brand growth.

Karen Lynch, the ex CEO of Belu Water, was a great support to me when I first started Rubies in the Rubble and I remember being amazed that her brand didn’t have a marketing department. Instead, Belu focused on getting their distinctive glass bottles on dining tables across the country and nourishing their relationships.

They were focused on bringing their customer on their journey and therefore, Karen’s job was less about selling water and more about sharing the brand’s mission, and getting customers committed to supporting the building of wells in Africa through Belu. As well as doing good, this helped create a personable, sticky relationship with customers.

At Rubies, we have adapted this model – giving customers annual food waste certificates so they can see what impact their decision to switch to Rubies condiments has made.

We have also over-invested in our on-trade serving options to offer quality branded pumps and refillable screen-printed bottles.

We’ve even gone as far as branding our back-of-house bulk options to ensure every touch point serves to highlight our brand values and share our story.

Although early days, the feedback from our decision to focus on brand visibility has been great and the knock-on effect strong.

It’s a good reminder that simply investing in packaging and consumer partnerships, while it might feel less sexy or exciting, can pay dividends and give more bang for your buck than any ad or clever marketing drive.