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What Nudie did wrong in the face of change became the secret of its success. Richard Glenn, director of sales, told the story at Food & Drink Business Live's Industry of the Future Forum this week. Food & Drink Business is PKN's stablemate, so we were there to report what we learned. 

Nudie burst into a hole in the market in 2002. Nudie stood for juice as close to the best as bottled juice can be (freshly squeezed, with nothing added). It stood for irreverence with an engaging manner of talking. And it stood for having a bit of fun. 

Nudie got around in a little lilac van. It was seen on the sidelines on sports day. And it handed out free samples and a bit of a chat all over Sydney. 

And business soared. Its two competitors were anything but back to nature, left of centre and friendly. 

Success changes everything. And Nudie lost its way. While it was busy concentrating its efforts not on who it was but how big it could be, competitors stole its uniqueness and the GFC pulled the rug out from under its appeal. Nudie became a premium price juice standing side by side with many on the supermarket shelf. 

And it stopped achieving what it was trying to do. It did not grow. In fact, sales slumped. After two years of decline, Nudie came to a crossroad.  It could keep soldiering on. Or it could change to meet change. It chose the latter. 

Nudie hired an expert to remind it what its strengths were. Together, they analysed what had changed and identified what Nudie stood for. They worked out why Nudie had been relevant to retailers and to consumers. What new pressures it had to conquer. And the answer became clear. 

Nudie went back to its blueprint. Nudie was failing, not because what it stood for had lost its relevance to retailers and consumers, but because it had lost sight of what it stood for and wasn't delivering on that. 

Nudie stands for quality, innovation and fun. And now Nudie leads with a set of guidelines to make sure it stays that way. 

It's not a special secret formula. In fact, it's a set of 'rules' any business could follow and every successful business probably does, whether the business makes a product, brands the product, markets the product or packages it.

  1. Everything is made the Nudie way
  2. Nudie is unadulterated, pure and leads with “Fruit and nothing else”
  3. Nudie uses only quality indgredients
  4. Be brave, not silly
  5. Do things not done before
  6. If you do things that have been done before, do them differently
  7. No brand slapping: Use your own ideas
  8. If things start to go wrong, knock them on the head/change them quickly. 

And so, Nudie bought one million litres of coconut water (while on a holiday), eighteen months before the coconut water fad burst onto the scene. And Nudie took a punt on chia. Its chia breakfast smoothie is now its no.1 selling breakfast drink.

And most importantly, Nudie reinvented itself three years ago with three simple messages, that it wrote on the labels of its core products in bold.

The messages:

“Nothing but... (21 oranges or 20 apples),”

“Farm to bottle in 72 hours,” 

“100% Australian ingredients”

...were Nudie's response to changes it never should have allowed to happen.

Now, they signify its return to who it was when it began, what it stands for now, and who its needs to be to face tomorrow. 

Nudie's business has boomed since then.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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