In our previous blogs which covered local Filipino brands, namely Happy Helpers® and Mary Grace®, we discussed ‘Brand Personality‘ and explored how this critical element of the ‘Brand Identity‘ defines and directs a brand’s priorities and behavior in the marketplace.
In this blog, we revisit the concept of brand personality and focus our attention on another Filipino brand, which is a three-year old retail upstart called Humble Market® which was founded only in July 2018.
“It is health that is real wealth, not pieces of gold and silver.”Mahatma Gandi, 1869-1948
In an April 2021 article, McKinsey and Company wrote: “Our latest research shows that consumers care deeply about wellness—and that their interest is growing. In a survey of roughly 7,500 consumers in six countries, 79 percent of the respondents said they believe that wellness is important, and 42 percent consider it a top priority. In fact, consumers in every market we researched reported a substantial increase in the prioritization of wellness over the past two to three years. We estimate the global wellness market at more than $1.5 trillion, with annual growth of 5 to 10 percent.”
Amidst today’s still ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, concern for personal health and wellness has become even more pronounced.
Humble Market® itself is riding on this growing global trend. But in its case, the way the brand came to being was also very much part of the personal journey to wellness of its founder.
Founded by Roanna Medina, the brand was borne out of a personal mission to be healed from Hashimoto’s Disease which she was diagnosed with back in 2014. The disease, which is also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease, a disorder in which the immune system turns against the body’s own tissues. For those with Hashimoto’s Disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid.
After first trying western medical treatment and was getting unsatisfactory and inconsistent results, she felt compelled to try other options. This is when her friend and practitioner of ‘Functional Medicine‘ offered to help her out. It was this friend who actually helped her identify her condition as Hashimoto’s Disease.
“With better awareness, and trusted help, I worked to changed my state, mindset and habits, and I started taking conscious steps towards healing. I became more mindful of my food, thoughts and actions, and with consistent results towards my health goals, there was no turning back.”
– Roanna Medina, Founder of Humble Market®
This reminds me of the backstory of IKEA®‘s product range dubbed “The OMTÄNKSAM Collection“ (‘Omtänksam‘ means ‘thoughtful’ or ‘caring’ in Swedish), which we featured in our previous blog earlier this year. Launched in 2020, its design leader, Brit Monti suffered a stroke which inspired her to look at the approach to designing the product range in a whole new light.
In a similar way, Humble Market® was propelled into existence after the founder was healed from this severe health condition which she was inflicted with seven years ago. Her complete healing inspired her to pursue this business in order to “share my story to be able to inspire and help others find inner strength, just like I did, and to take conscious steps towards better health, no matter what health goals you want to achieve! Today, I’m very proud to be completely free of Hashimoto’s disease, and my body has no longer been dependent on any prescribed medication or treatment for my thyroid since I celebrated my personal independence day’ years ago,” Roanna is quoted in the brand’s website.
Today, Roanna is a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (INHC). As such, she works with individuals and group clients in strategy building and implementing behavior changes (in diet, lifestyle and environment) to achieve specific health goals that span the broad wellness spectrum.
Brand Personality of Humble Market®
Its brand name itself gives an indication of its humble and unassuming brand personality. The brand’s visual hammer (logo) and its overall design aesthetics exude a very modest and down-to-earth look and feel as well.
The brand’s website provides an expanded view of its character through the values espoused by the brand.
I always teach my students in my ‘The Brand Architecture’ webinars that the personality of the brand provides clear guidelines and guard rails on how a brand should behave and how it should not behave. It also provides directions with respect to the priorities of the brand.
From the above five brand values, let’s take a look at two specific areas and explore how these impact on the rest of the brand architecture of Humble Market®.
Its value of ‘Integrity‘ states: “Having certainty that our decisions, products and practices follow the highest moral and ethical standards.”
With respect to this area of integrity, its ‘product strategy‘ in its marketing mix dared to make a difference by going fully plastic-free and packaging-free. The brand promotes sustainability by offering food items to be purchased by the gram and either packaged in reusable containers which are brought in by customers, or glass jars which are also being sold by the store.
In a recent interview with Manila Times just last November 27, 2021, Roanna was quoted as saying: “There is this realization that we have already spent decades on this earth and have continued to consume so many products in plastic — exposing our bodies to a variety of toxins and their negative impacts,” she said.
The article further states that this was confirmed in various studies emphasizing the dangers plastic pollution has on human health. A 2019 report by the Center for International Environmental Law titled “Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet” revealed that humans are exposed to a wide variety of toxins and microplastics through inhalation, ingestion and direct skin contact.
Therefore, by making a daring stand against the use of plastic, the brand makes a bold statement about its integrity.
Furthermore, Humble Market® is further strengthened by its sister brand The Healthy Row® which provides holistic health coaching programs conducted by Roanna herself by virtue of her being a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (INHC). This further strengthens the integrity of Humble Market® since the founder herself puts into practice a wellness lifestyle and pays it forward through her coaching interventions.
Its value of ‘Optimism‘ states: “Knowing that every effort, no matter how small, makes a difference – believing that focusing on the positive can create more lasting change.”
As part of its ‘promo strategy‘ the brand provides a free 30-day sustainable living handbook. It is the brand’s way of building its first-party data of its own wellness community while providing simple “daily challenges, mindset guidance, and nutrition tips dedicated to guide you into becoming more mindful and aware of your health, and the bigger world around you”.
This promotional initiative reflects the brand’s value of optimism that even small daily steps which are integrated into one’s daily activities can make a huge difference on one’s overall wellness in the long run. Other daily wellness practices are provided through its sister brand’s meal recipes and wide range of podcasts available in its linked sites which are again simple steps that can be integrated into one’s daily activities, further reinforcing its value of ‘optimism‘.
The two examples above which focus on a product strategy which is based on the brand value of ‘integrity‘, and the example of a promo strategy which is based on the brand value of ‘optimism‘ are just two examples on how far-reaching the impact of having a well-defined brand personality is.
There are many more examples of the brand strategies employed across the brand architecture of Humble Market® which reflect its personality. And even just a cursory look into its website already provides a clear view of its consistency and cohesion which is a mark of a well-positioned brand.
This very young but brilliant brand leaves us with two key lessons:
(1) First, a clearly defined brand personality is truly a powerful determinant of effective strategies (i.e. product, promo, etc.) across the brand architecture.
(2) And second, a well articulated brand personality provides clear guidelines and guard rails that keep the brand aligned with its positioning which keeps the brand relevant and competitive for the long haul.
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