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Fresh Face, Fresh Focus: North Shore Living’s New Brand Strategy

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hese days, we hear more and more about on-the-go lifestyles, but what about those looking to slow their pace—looking to savor the simple pleasures in every bite-sized experience they consume? As pressure mounts to keep up with our peers, North Shore Living™ is reminding consumers of the benefits offered when we keep up with ourselves—our wants and needs—with its new company-wide rebrand.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. The transformation is so much bigger than ourselves and our products,” Marketing Manager Chris Wada shares. Not one to simply wax poetic for the sake of it, Chris is teeming with the energy and drive to take North Shore from a product to a lifestyle.

Chris Wada, Marketing Manager, North Shore Living™

Since Founders Leo and Suzette Overgaag began their North Shore endeavor in 1987, the family farm and sustainable hydroponic greenhouse grower has never lost sight of its focus on living herbs, as the company continues to seek new ways to engage the industry with its fresh culinary offerings. And how is this company looking to achieve this in 2018? With a vibrant new rebranding concept that harkens back to its roots—to the beauty found in what it means to be living—and fine-tunes the focus on dinner table experiences, where so many favorite memories are centered.

“The key changes behind the rebrand started with a spiritual cleansing of the company that required us to go deep into our psyche and thoughtfully answer those who, what, why, and how types of questions. Our objective is to create branding that people actually care about that isn’t based solely on the latest consumer trends, but simply as human beings—what makes life worth living and how do we uniquely fit into that equation?” Chris inquires, enlightening me on the core elements undergoing a thorough evaluation.

He dives into this awakening for the company—an emboldening of the concept from creation—and I follow up by asking if this is part of a larger movement to nurture something beyond our industry. To this, he enthusiastically responds that the company’s transition seeks to cultivate a lifestyle rebrand, too. In a sense, it seeks to bring people together with meals enhanced by the flavors the brand offers, and to do that, it takes a tactful approach that hones in on the aesthetics to address the broader picture.

"The key changes behind the rebrand started with a spiritual cleansing of the company that required us to go deep into our psyche and thoughtfully answer those who, what, why, and how types of questions."

- Chris Wada, Marketing Manager, North Shore Living™

“On the surface, this rebrand includes a lot of new visual elements. These include a new logo, new white and black colors, a new North Shore Living product brand name, new packaging designs, new website, a new trade show booth, and more,” Chris tells me, describing the rebrand in its concrete form.

At the heart of it, though, the rebrand is much deeper and pointed in its design.

North Shore's new product branding

“At this early point of the rebrand, these elements listed are what our rebrand looks and sounds like. In our minds, the visual aspects of the rebrand represented are just scratching the surface. Beneath that surface is where the real work begins to create meaningful content, experiences, and relationships with people that want to improve their lives, one day at a time,” Chris shares.

While excitement swirls around this current rebrand, Chris explains that this change has been in the works since he joined the company just over a year ago, taking different forms along the way. Now the company is tending to its consumer-base to better join a larger industry conversation with this redesigned vision.

Pesto made from North Shore basil

The company’s redirected focus is seeking to inspire people to be more intentional when it comes to cooking, to slow down and focus on creating moments that matter. With that plan to engage with consumers in mind, North Shore looks to shepherd interests to home cooking for quality experiences that cannot be nibbled on-the-go, and its purpose, therefore, lies in inviting consumers into a world more luxuriously lived when tasting the richness of curated meals enjoyed around a table with family and friends.

“North Shore Living is our rally flag and vehicle for change. Internally, the process of rebranding opened the door to identifying what problem we exist to solve for our customers. It started with redefining the foundational elements of the company, which resulted in a new mission, vision, and set of core beliefs,” Chris explains, before divulging what these new values specifically entail and how they play into the company’s strategic priorities.

North Shore's old and new branding

“To encourage consumers to make every home-cooked meal a special occasion and to inspire people to cook even one more meal per week using the freshest ingredients is what we aspire to achieve. Its impact on both internal and external strategies is significant and will be used to guide the company’s strategic business decisions moving forward,” he continues.

As the company steps into these more customer-centric strategies, its culinary herb line will be making its way into a new “Mini Greenhouse” clamshell packaging style later this year. What makes this packaging so perfect for its living products is the ability to lock in the organic growing medium that surrounds the roots, eliminating any loose debris inside the container and extending its shelf-life even longer with a pocket to hydrate the roots. This detail is one more way that the company shows it has heard what its customers and their consumers are saying.

“To encourage consumers to make every home-cooked meal a special occasion and to inspire people to cook even one more meal per week using the freshest ingredients is what we aspire to achieve.”

- Chris Wada

“Getting to know our customers and the living herb user experience, from buyers and produce associates to consumers in their kitchens, will continue to drive all things innovation for us. Nobody buys for our reasons; they buy for theirs. While we know our product’s benefits and what makes us unique, it’s the insights gained from asking the questions that matter.”

The key, he shares with me, is to maintain a prominent stance in the living produce category with this clamshell—that’s the niche. To do this, the company taps into educational opportunities to highlight the benefits of living herbs, where, Chris explains, living herbs are not only the freshest, longest lasting herbs, but also healthier because they hold more beneficial oils, enzymes, and medicinal properties than pre-cut herbs.

Chris Wada, Suzette Overgaag, Leo Overgaag, and Tiago Castro

On this note, I inquire as to where the company is looking to take its newly-designed strategies; Chris expands that this is a layered approach, as the company further bolsters its presence in Southern California marketplaces and up the West Coast. The company, currently nestled in between Palm Springs and Coachella Valley, California, is also looking to continue expanding east, and can deliver premium quality due to the attached roots.

“Now, it’s about creating content that’s not about us, but, instead, focused on the retailer and their consumers—our target audience. Coming out with this new brand means coming out with new content and communications strategies. It’s going to be focused largely on third-party social influencers and, in some cases, paid content. This rebranding approach leverages the number of people in our reach who have, and share, similar passions for what we do so that we can get our message out there. In terms of owned content, the new website features some really cool new videos that help tell our story and give a visual perspective on the company and its scale. We hope that the website is a useful tool for our customers and will be able to provide more blog content that highlights the benefits of living—and, more specifically, the benefits of living with our products, especially the focus on the messaging to both consumers and buyers. It’s really a platform to provide helpful content,” Chris reveals to me.

North Shore microgreens

With so much to entertain—an education reboot, aesthetics re-envisioning, lifestyle revamp, meal-time recharge—it’s no wonder that the company has taken this road with meticulous caution at every turn. To do this, North Shore has gotten delivering messages down to an art, only matched by the creations consumers make.

“This is really going to serve as a launching pad for testing different strategies around creating relevant content and communications. It’s exciting to think of all the fun things we can do, especially in partnership with retailers. This is really focused on inspiring transformation—and, you know, that’s a big word,” he says, walking me through the rebranding developments, revealing the concepts bringing it to fruition. “It’s somewhat consumer-focused, but at the same time it all relates. I believe rebranding is more than appearances and a logo; it’s about creating a vehicle for change. First, though, our customer starts internally with our employees and stakeholders. That’s been where a lot of the heavy lifting has occurred to date. Overall, this transition has been driven by our desire to connect with the intrinsic motivators of people who understand that at the root of living, is taking the time to stop and smell the basil.”

"Rebranding is more than appearances and a logo; it’s about creating a vehicle for change."

-Chris Wada

As we step into this new day and age, when immediacy is the norm, it takes specific planning—and a level of boldness—to not only intrigue, but also, in a sense, re-introduce the sentimental experiences found in the act of cooking alongside those we love. North Shore’s rebrand champions the quality tastes and pleasures centered around the dinner table as timeless as the relationships we cherish.