Two Pod Foods
Table of Contents
- The Problem
Two Pod Foods is a food startup whose insect processing technologies turn insects into easy-to-use food ingredients.
I was one of 12 selected participants in the Fall 2016 Brandathon, a three-day long hackathon-style event to help startups develop and refine their branding. My team created a brand identity for Two Pod Foods (formerly C-fu Foods), striving to:
- Clarify their target audience and positioning
- Develop a compelling brand story
- Strengthen their brand personality and voice
- Better articulate their value as a company
At the end of the 36 hours, we were able to deliver:
- A new name and logo
- A style guide and website design
- The brand's profile, story and values
- A new marketing strategy
Our first impressions of the company website revealed several core flaws in their current brand strategy and leaving us confused about their product, value proposition, and audience:
The brushstroke logo and Asian cuisine-themed header photo, complete with chopsticks, created a seemingly random Asian theme.
The website displayed the end result of using their insect product in finished meals, but no actual product photos.
There was no mention of the team's expertise, qualifications, and research history.
It was difficult to understand the product's unique strengths as compared to other insect food products.
The company founders explained that they only sold to businesses. C-Fu Food's main products weren’t meals, but premium quality insect-based powders and a unique tofu-like substance called "textured insect protein". They also provide proprietary processing services, product development, and consultations. Also, the founders owned a separate proof-of-concept consumer business that sells insect-based pasta sauce.
We were even more confused.
C-fu's external brand was homey and consumer-focused. But face-to-face, these guys spoke in numbers and scientific facts. They weren't selling consumer products -- their customers were all businesses. These were ambitious, innovative, scientific businessmen -- not eco-friendly home cooks who had stumbled across a new ingredient.
With help from the founders, we assessed the industry landscape, analyzing competitors, market size, and the key factors that differentiate successful brands in the insect food product space.
- The insect foods market is sizable and growing, worth $25M today, with 200 brands in the space, and approximately 2000 edible insect species ripe for innovative usage.
- Insects consumption and farming has enormous benefits for sustainability and health concerns.
- That C-fu Foods was the only company producing great-tasting raw insect ingredients that can be used in an endless variety of products, from ice cream to burgers (unlike competitors, who are limited to protein bars, chips, baking mix, and protein powder).
C-fu Foods needed a total rebrand.
Their visual identity was very weak and didn't communicate brand values.
The name C-fu was trouble; the “F U” was offensive and the word sounded like seafood.
Articulating C-fu’s value was a convoluted, confusing process.
- The brand showed Indecision in taking a more B2B or B2C marketing strategy.
Target Market and Value Proposition
We picked apart their business and zoned in on who their customers were: the companies, the profiles of people they would talk to, why they would talk to them, how to communicate this message and what voice to use as a brand.
What we discovered was that they were missing a bigger piece of the picture if they solely concentrated on startups that currently use cricket as an ingredient. The insect food world is currently a $25 million industry. But the total addressable market that can potentially incorporate C-fu Foods's product is much larger than that.
Instead of trying to increase their slice of the pie, C-fu Foods should aim to push for a bigger pie!
C-Fu Foods's technology and field expertise are their biggest assets. We zoned in on why they were different from their competitors and sought to showcase these points in their new marketing material.
Name and Logo Development
We chose the name Two Pod Foods because:
- The word "pod" represents the intersection of food and technology.
- It brings to mind a chrysalis or cocoon, along with the associated connotations of growth, transformation, and potential.
- We wanted to acknowledge the two brothers founding the company.
I needed to conceptualize a logo that would meet several conditions:
- Any bug imagery needed to be abstracted enough to remove the typical "ick" response.
- The logo should reference sustainability and nature through shape or color
- It needed a clean, modern, professional look that would appeal to business owners.
To demonstrate how these style elements synchronize in practice, we designed the Two Pod Foods homepage, focusing on improving conversion with a clear call-to-action, effective copy, and identifiable product images.