Liquid Nutrition’s smooth(ie) expansion

The Montreal-based company is using celebrity endorsements and a whole slew of digital channels to reach health-conscious Canadians.

Health-conscious Canadians will soon have another beverage brand to serve them up a smoothie. Montreal-based Liquid Nutrition is launching across Canada and into the U.S.
The company has served its healthy fare to the greater Montreal area since 2005 and now it plans to enter 35 markets, focusing on major markets in Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and the U.S. close to the border, over the next 36 months.
“We’re almost taking the Starbucks approach,” says Glenn Young, president, Liquid Nutrition Group. “We’re going to populate these markets with stores, which essentially become our banner. Once we establish ourselves as a national brand we’re going to push it into more mass distribution.”
Liquid Nutrition recently signed on with Oakville, ON.-based 3H Communications to handle branding and marketing (its first order of business was a redesign of the company’s website, Liquidnutrition.ca), and Toronto-based Korrelation Communications, managing PR. It will be supporting its expansion with a marketing spend in the seven-figure range.
The branding plan, according to Young, will keep a local focus.
“I don’t see us being a traditional media player,” says Young.  “We’re going to exploit the whole new digital world, and, from social media to viral, build that intimate relationship with our consumer base. That will be complemented with some outdoor and potentially some very targeted print campaigns.”
Franchise opportunities, says Young, have more of a national focus, but are being digitally targeted, using websites like Franchisegator.com (an online destination providing info on franchise opps). Media is also being handled by 3H, with help from Chicago-based franchise consultants Francorp International.
On the celeb endorsement front, a year ago the company enlisted NBA star (and Canadian) Steve Nash, and inked New York Yankees backstop Russell Martin in April. At press time the company had yet to announce the addition of four more athletes – an NFL quarterback, a renowned NHL captain, a PGA golfer and an Olympian – to “Team Liquid.”
The athletes are being featured in viral executions, POS materials and on the company’s website. Liquid Nutrition is also piggybacking on their public exposure through channels like their Facebook fan pages.
Facing competition from the likes of Canadian smoothie cos Booster Juice and Jugo Juice, and American brand Jamba Juice (its major North American competitor), Young says that Liquid Nutrition’s advantage lies in its unique product offering.
“What sets us apart is the fact that our product is healthy and nutritious – we’re not using any refined sugars…or anything else that our competitors are using,” says Young. “We’re selling something that’s a sophisticated fruit product, but that being said, I think the marketplace is ready for something like this. We’re providing people with a very healthy, quick lifestyle choice.”