xrematon

August 29, 2012

Compare and contrast: innocent vs method

Filed under: Business,Innovation,Marketing,Sustainability — by xrematon @ 4:00 pm
Tags: , ,

I have been doing some work looking at big businesses and thinking about which don’t really fit the corporate mould. It didn’t take long for innocent drinks and method cleaning products to come to mind. It’s interesting to compare the two organisations as they are, in some senses, similar, but in some fundamental aspects, very different.

Let’s start with what brings them together:

  • They were both started around the same time (approximately turn of the millennium).
  • Their founders were close friends; and middle class young men who weren’t that into their ‘proper jobs’ and had a passion to do something else.
  • Both companies had a clear vision that they wanted to do it their way and to challenge the status quo in their respective areas.
  • They started small but quickly grew, not only in terms of sales numbers, but also markets, staff and product range.
  • Both are now well established and well loved by their customers and the business world. They have developed consciously fun and quirky brands. They are more than simply a company that makes juices or cleaning products. Innocent has run fruitstock and method promotes happy cleaning and the people against dirty campaign.
  • They are shining examples to emulate – both have published business books on their principles and philosophies.
  • And obviously, they themselves are aware of the parallels and have connected on a number of occasions.

But what about the differences?

  • In a way, innocent has been a victim of its own success. It was so good that others in the sector have cottoned on and also had a go at producing lovely little drinks that are delightful and fresh.
  • Method products, however, still look very different to most of the offerings you would also find on the shelves at a general supermarket. And the only bit of language these products seem have picked up from method is the importance of smelling nice; but they don’t do non-toxic.
  • When you look into it, innocent’s business model and operations seem very challenging. Making fruit juices involves farming – which is a contested area with increasing concerns about land use, chemicals, and water scarcity – without forgetting transportation. The latter is a particular issue given that innocent products need to be chilled. These factors affect the bottom line: innocent recently described itself as a fruit transportation charity as it has been losing money for the past four years. It is no longer a private company – Coca Cola now has a majority stake in the business.
  • Method does not face these issues. It is still a private company with private investors.
  • And finally, you will find that we stay stocked up on method products in this household, but not innocent smoothies. Sorry, Fruit Towers doesn’t do it for me.

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