Hello, nutrition businesses! We interviewed Shivraj Bassi, the founder of Innermost, a London-based brand that’s creating a buzz with their new approach to nutritional supplements. After a successful career in banking and finance, Shivraj launched Innermost with a clear mission to make better-quality, tailored and holistic products. In the short time since launch, Innermost has built an impressive roster of clients and collaborators, and a strong social media presence, through a firm understanding of their brand and changing market dynamics.
We interviewed Shiv to find out about the biggest mistakes that nutrition businesses are making and how Innermost is already such a successful brand:
How do you think the nutritional supplements market is changing?
There’s been a huge amount of focus on the benefits of protein in recent years, which I support especially since it reinforces the message that nutrition is hugely important when it comes to your health and fitness. As we move forward, we see the next generation of consumer taking an increased interest in how different ingredients/foods can play a role in helping them achieve their goals. We also believe that consumers will demand more from their nutritional supplements, and reward those that take a more tailored and holistic approach than the one size fits all dynamic we see a lot of today. Innermost is well-positioned for that with our unique range of products that contain a huge range of functional superfoods ranging from turmeric, Japanese mushrooms, pomegranates to kelp, spirulina, pink Himalayan sea salt and anti-inflammatory Montmorency cherries. If you told someone that you had seen a sports nutrition product that contained shiitake, maitake, reishi, and cordyceps (Japanese mushrooms), they may not believe you (Innermost’s The Health One superfood blend contains all those ingredients and more). But Japanese mushrooms have been used for thousands of years for all sorts of health promoting benefits and we think that disconnect is something people will increasingly question as they strive to get more from their nutritional supplement choices.
What do you think that nutrition businesses can learn from other companies?
I see a fairly marked marketing shift in the health and fitness sector towards a focus on individuals and what they can achieve rather than an image of an elite sportsperson or an unachievable aesthetic. You see that shift with brands such as Reebok, Under Armour and Nike who have taken a more nuanced approach to their brand strategies in order to build connections with the new breed of consumer who are increasingly interested in health and fitness. We think nutrition businesses are lagging behind and it’s one of the reasons we felt that a brand like Innermost was needed – to offer a fresh, alternative approach.
How can protein brands market themselves differently to speak to the new age consumer?
Lots of protein brands and nutrition businesses think about the sprint to success, but it has to be about the long run. So rather than repackaging whey protein, you should look to create a product for your long term customer. You have to ask yourself the question, what does it mean to be a nutritional supplements brand and what sort of brand do you want to be? For us, it’s certainly not just about a good-looking product, nor about 100 different products, it’s about delivering added value to your consumer’s life and an entire eco-system around that.
Now that the protein market has become so mainstream, how can brands maintain a unique approach?
Understand your consumer and create a tailored offering for them. Ensuring that you have a unique tone of voice and nuanced branding that isn’t focused on just one thing but is a rich combination of all the characteristics, values and messages that appeal to your target audience. Furthermore, collaborating with brands who you truly admire adds credibility and authenticity. It is not enough to share the same audience, you must also be sure that you share similar values and beliefs.
What is the best way for a protein brand to communicate this brand identity online?
Consistency and authenticity. When it comes to social media channels, ensuring content is varied, fresh and most importantly, well organised. You should define your content themes, keep an inventory of what’s been used and what hasn’t, and if you can, create the bulk of your content internally. No one knows your brand as well as your own team. Outsourcing that is like outsourcing your own identity.
To ensure your content is up to scratch, you need to ensure you have:
- A good camera
- Defined themes for your content; what it means and who it is for
- A solid website infrastructure – your content should be constantly evolving so you need to be confident your site has been built in such a way that it enables this regular ongoing management and evolution.
- Strong relationships offline – ultimately the online world will only take you so far. There is no substitute for a relationship in the real world, so ensure you are meeting with key individuals as well as pointing them to your online presence.
Take a look at our guide to digital marketing to get started!