In a few words
Brands that have spent decades building a reputation with their consumers face the challenge of evolving to stay relevant but not lose the things that make them special and distinctive in what are often crowded marketplaces.
When Fablr was commissioned to design and develop a new website for an iconic German heritage brand we immediately knew that the brief needed an approach to design and content that would remind 21st century consumers why Sonnen Bassermann’s values and expertise really matter.
Those of you who are unfamiliar with Sonnen Bassermann have probably not spent a lot of time in Germany. A genuine household name across the country, this heritage maker of soups, stews and ready meals has been a family favourite since its first appearance in 1896 – so much so, that it has been awarded a place in the country’s Hall of Fame as a "Brand of the Century" alongside such icons as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Nivea.
The business recently completed a re-evaluation of its positioning in the market place with a mind to presenting a more customer-centric and relevant brand across a range of key German consumer demographics, and an important part of this was a major refresh of the brand’s website.
The existing website was offering very little as a platform for the brand beyond being a list of products and a few recipes and Sonnen Bassermann needed a digital presence that presented them as a modern brand with a relevant message for their customers.
Here at Fablr we have experience delivering FMCG websites that combine creative design and content planning that really gets across a brand’s key differentiators. This approach was particularly important to Sonnen Bassermann, who needed a digital platform for the brand that could further develop a compelling story across the key messaging themes already embedded in their social media marketing campaign.
Fablr looked to the values the brand wanted to promote and developed a content outline and architecture that would give Sonnen Bassermann a strong platform to communicate its relevance on a range of consumer-centric topics. These topics included health and nutrition, lifestyle, and canned food as a positive consumer choice – not only for health but also as a sustainable use of packaging.
We then approached Barbara Peters of A Nomnom Story, a specialist copywriter for food and lifestyle brands market to help us create a narrative that would engage with Sonnen Bassermann’s customers in their native German language.
Looking beyond the brand focused pages and product ranges, it was critical that we developed a platform to support future marketing and audience engagement. To this end, we produced a functional specification that detailed a range of content publishing functionality for both articles and videos. This framework of content was used to create a searchable library of recipes, products, and articles with customisable taxonomies for grouping and filtering content.
The design approach prioritised the need to position the brand as forward looking and modern, but not at the expense of the trust and reassurance carried in its 120 years of history and heritage. There is an assured elegance in the brand’s ‘since 1896’ logo, so we started by looking at it’s curved forms as the starting point for a design language for the website. Inspired by this, we then created a library of distinct shapes such as sun bursts and organic forms that could be used as image masks or decorative forms throughout the website.
Fablr’s project management team coordinated with everyone involved in the website project in order to provide a fully managed and seamless process on behalf of Sonnen Bassermann.
We outlined a creative brief for every key page that could be passed to the commissioned copywriter, and as a result we were able to build our visual concepts and imagery around the German language copy that came back. Making sure that designers, copywriters and marketing managers can work in close collaboration throughout a process resulted in better results as well as reducing the likelihood of a costly amends processes.
As a German-only brand we knew the site design would need to be optimised for longer headlines and body copy, and throughout the design process we were careful to take into account the longer word lengths associated with the German language when compared with English.
The final developed concepts incorporated the visual building blocks and colour palette of the brand identity and transported them into a modern and visually exciting presentation.
The new Sonnen Bassermann website is the product of the sort of unified thinking Fablr has always excelled at. By approaching design, development and creative copywriting as a seamless and connected activity we were able to give Sonnen Bassermann a sense of assurance and certainty throughout the process. In this instance it also allowed us to validate our designs against the requirements of a German language website every step of the way.
"Right from the outset, they showed they really understood how our brand has evolved and have delivered something that will help us stand out from our competitors and to really shine."
- Brand manager for Sonnen Bassermann
From the "Like homemade" (Wie hausgemacht) page to the "Recycling Heros" (Recycling-Heldinnen) page, the Sonnen Bassermann brand now has a platform to talk about what matters to its consumers – both young and old.
Whether it’s about that warm feeling you get when you taste those classic Sonnen Bassermann flavours from your childhood, or "why you don’t have to make a choice between something tasty or healthy when choosing convenience food" it’s all about the brand connecting with its consumers in a way that is lasting and profound.