Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company, which sells fresh-squeezed juice in grocery stores, restaurants and small businesses, was founded in Florida in 1989. Over the years, the business has seen many changes, including a new facility, tremendous expansion – and changes in how it promotes its products.
The clean label juice provider sells its juice in 30 states and 24 countries worldwide. However, even though Natalie’s has customers around the world, the company’s marketing strategy is focused on hyperlocal markets. In fact, the company recently hired Natalie Sexton as chief marketing officer specifically with the task of growing its millennial customer base.
Street Fight recently caught up with Sexton to find out what hyperlocal strategies the company is using to up its millennial marketing game.
Be Authentically Local
Sexton told us that it’s important to include a local strategy in the company’s mission statement and to be transparent about sourcing. If you look at the juice company’s website, part of it reads: “Locally Sourced – At Natalie’s, we select only the highest quality Florida citrus and American produce to squeeze our juices. They are hand selected for quality and maturity.”
Sexton emphasized that the company is proud that it remains loyal to dedicated sourcing from Florida and American farms, and it focuses on that in its messaging across platforms.
“As part of our messaging, on our website, bottle labels, blogs and social media [it is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest), we make certain our customers know that sourcing citrus locally is our passion and our purpose,” said Sexton. “We let our customers know why we think citrus grown in the U.S. is a superior tasting product and why we’ve made it so much of who we are as a company. We’ve found this type of transparency and personality resonates with consumers; it helps make our brand look authentic and relatable.”
Find Influencers That ‘Get It’
Sexton says that Natalie’s is particularly focused on is influencer marketing. Sexton said it’s important to identify people who can help tell your brand story and “get it” – understand your company’s passionate, purpose and mission.
“Specifically seek out those voices that are already engaging the demographic you’re trying to reach with your story and then invite them to your promotional events and product launches. Give them exclusive sneak peeks at new products and give them behind the scene insights into what’s coming up next. Treat them like your biggest fans, and they will become your strongest advocates,” she said.
Natalie’s also visited New York last summer, and at that time, it was in the process of decision-making on which new flavors to choose for the fall production run. According to Sexton, the company invited a panel of New York City food editors to a flavor judging, and, as a result, Pumpkin Apple Spice was selected.
“We figured instead of simply pitching our story and juice flavors, why not include the people that are entrenched in the food and drink world daily in our decision process?” she said, adding that Pumpkin Apple Spice has been one of the company’s most popular flavors.
Go to the Customers
Natalie’s doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar store – but the company does travel the U.S. every summer with a juice truck that stops at nutrition and fitness events. Like many companies, word-of-mouth is extremely effective for business. However, according to Sexton, it’s important to meet your customers face-to-face, even if you are an international company.
“Engage your customers in consumer events and let them taste and experience your product first hand. They will spread your story and message in an organic and authentic manner … Getting out there and connecting with individuals has been key and we’ve gained friends and followers along the way. Maximize on the power of the consumer – get in front of them with your brand or product and let them experience what you have to offer. They will spread the good news for you,” said Sexton.
Listen and Grow
Once you receive feedback from customers, identify new markets where your brand can grow.
“While Natalie’s started out just providing clean label juices to local retail grocers, it first expanded into more states and countries,” said Sexton, adding that now it is expanding into other food service sectors, such as restaurants – for example, it recently partnered with Just Fresh restaurants in Charlotte, N.C., which now carries its juices.
Tim Sohn is CEO of Sohn Social Media Solutions. Follow him on Twitter.