After five years of uncertainty, six months without their longtime CEO, a tired and dated brand and challenged sales in their core business, Bumble Bee was like a rudderless ship heading into the perfect storm with strong headwinds. They were in urgent need of clarity for how to navigate through a multitude of challenges. There was no compelling vision and no clear strategy. They had lost their connection to food, didn’t have an innovation strategy and had a culture that was radically impacted by the state of play. Needless to say, they were under pressure from their core competitors as well as emerging new brands and food trends. It was time to chart a new path, and that is when Bulldog Drummond was brought into help.
We started by bringing their leadership team together to define the challenge. Together, with the challenge defined, we created an internal belief that this was a challenge worth solving. After 12 months of working closely together, they were rigorously following a turnaround growth strategy, had an engaged team firing on all cylinders and delivered their first growth year of revenue (and first profitable year) in over five years. Guided by a clear strategy, they had a plan to release refreshed product brands into the market along with new products to support their new position as well as an acquisition strategy to drive growth and relevance. And they recommitted to a clear sustainability strategy to demonstrate their commitment above and beyond profits.
“Bulldog helped us to navigate through a very complex set of strategic challenges. They helped guide us to a clear and compelling growth path forward at an extremely challenging time. They operated as an objective contrarian and caring member of our turnaround team.”
—Todd Putman, Chief Growth Officer
We began our engagement by leading their executive team on a process to take a hard look at their past and reconcile with some of the biggest issues facing them. Through a series of workshops we arrived at a set of clear directives across every area of their business, including brand, culture, structure, product, consumer and category management. Each member of the executive team explored, debated and then committed to the change that would be necessary to cement the foundation for a turnaround strategy.
With a number of legacy product brands sitting under the corporate brand, our first move was to determine how Bumble Bee Corporate would structure itself going forward. The resulting strategic architecture repositioned the company as “an ocean-inspired collection of brands”, putting clear guardrails on the fact that they were a seafood-first company while still allowing them to explore products that were not just from the sea but seafood-inspired—a clear path for growth.
And then we looked at their brand. Step one was to put the focus back on food and inject energy and action into the organization. Step two was developing a clear and compelling vision expressed around “Seafood Love”, driving relevance and engagement with a new generation of consumers. Along with the vision, we developed a brand platform, a clear food philosophy and an impact strategy that would guide their actions on all fronts.
The challenging times the company experienced had an impact on employees as well, leading to uncertainty about the future of the business and their roles in it. Employees were looking for a compelling vision backed by a clear strategy and plan.
With the brand platform finalized, the Bumble Bee leadership was eager to share with employees and asked us the best way to accomplish this. Knowing speed was important, we designed and helped execute a radically different kind of all-hands meeting.
Playing off the Seafood Love rallying cry, we introduced the brand and strategy to employees as a themed experience called A Wave of Love. This experience clearly communicated the new strategy, brand and vision for the future and included interactive brand activations to engage employees directly in the new brand.
The A Wave of Love experience was the start for employees, as the success of a brand transformation is predicated on people making different choices in their work and doing things differently. This meant Bumble Bee’s values needed to be refreshed to reflect what was most important to live into their new brand. We conducted a series of listening sessions and interviews with over 50 employees to understand the current culture, espoused values and lived values. We then brought our learnings into a series of workshops to define a new set of values, including specific actions that reflected what those values looked like in practice at Bumble Bee. We then provided guidance on a launch and sustainability plan to embed the new values and create lasting culture change that will allow Bumble Bee to live into its full potential as a brand.
Every brand needs to consider the footprint of their operations and products on the planet and society while considering how they make a meaningful difference in the world beyond their financial statements and direct impact on customers.
For Bumble Bee, this meant taking a strategic look at their sustainability practices across sourcing, supply chain and operations. We guided their leadership to create clarity on their areas of focus, understand the impact of the efforts and, ultimately, determine the best paths forward.
With a clear line of sight into their efforts and impact, we dove into the world of sustainability and corporate social responsibility to determine the best way for Bumble Bee to tell authentic sustainability stories to stakeholders, customers and consumers, highlighting both their efforts and opportunities.
With a desire to make a proactive difference and not only mitigate the impact of their brand, we helped Bumble Bee focus on strategic social good—how they could connect to an important societal issue relevant to their brand and address it across a range of tactics. As Bumble Bee is passionate about ocean plastic, we developed a range of tactics for the organization to authentically bring this commitment to life through investment, mitigation activities, employee involvement and consumer awareness.
With the corporate brand complete and beginning to create positive change internally, it was time to demonstrate Bumble Bee’s new commitment to Seafood Love on-shelf.
The most pressing need was a complete refresh of the Bumble Bee product brand. Similar to its parent company, the Bumble Bee brand had lost its focus on food and flavor and had largely been forgotten in the center of store as new healthy and fresh brands flourished around it. We strategically re-centered the Bumble Bee brand on making seafood more cravable, versatile, accessible and delightful as a direct way to deliver on Bumble Bee’s commitment to Seafood Love and helping everybody find their seafood. These two pillars worked hand in hand to deliver on the strategy we originally set out with the executive team in the first phase of the project.
We then brought the new brand platform to life through a complete brand redesign that made an old fish shop look and feel modern, showcasing a new and fresh take on Bumble Bee’s renewed seafood focus. The packaging connected back to the heritage of the brand and the existing color system but implemented a modern type treatment and created a consistent graphic system with considered shelf blocking to tie the products together to feel like a family in the aisles. A fellow shop completed the final details on the packaging for the final launch.
Anova, Bumble Bee’s premium purveyor of sushi-grade fish, was up next. Unlike Bumble Bee, Anova’s business was strong, but their outward presence didn’t reflect the immense quality and high-end clientele that they represented. Together, we helped them codify a platform that communicated their expertise in fish and maniacal commitment to safe, sustainable and socially-responsible fish.
Along with the Anova platform came a redesign that refreshed all of the brand’s communication and outreach efforts. We created a custom logotype for Anova’s identity that reflected their expertise and innovative mindset, setting the tone for the design language. Combining the identity with an eastern-inspired wave pattern, an ocean-inspired color palette, modern and elegant typography and bright beautiful photography resulted in a brand with a fresh look that finally reflected its core values. Since Anova is a supplier of premium fish to restaurants, one of the most important ways they show up is in their shipping box, so we created a design that featured their new elements and also embraced a sustainable mindset by using minimal ink.