Sol’s founder goes on tour to build loyalty

The plant-based food brand goes grassroots to get consumers to stick in an increasingly competitive category.

Sol Cuisine is looking to capitalize on its strong growth – and that of the plant-based foods category generally – with a new grassroots campaign to convert new plant-based enthusiasts into “Solmates.”

The campaign, “Mission North America,” features the founder and president of Sol Cuisine, Dror Balshine, as he goes on a cross-continent trip to promote the plant-based brand and win over meat-eaters, flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans alike. The tour started in Canada’s biggest beef country: Alberta.

The campaign is driven by a pair of insights, according to Ken Cross, CMO at Sol Cuisine.

The first is that there is a lack of brand loyalty in the plant-based space. “There’s a number of new competitors coming in, and because so much is changing all of the time, there isn’t a really good understanding of the brands in the category and what makes them different,” explains Cross.

This includes Sol, which is marking its 25th anniversary next year. “A lot of consumers are kind of familiar [with us], but they don’t really understand who we are, what we’re all about and what we stand for,” he says. “We have to do a much better job defining the brand.”

The second insight played directly into the first. In consumer research, Sol discovered that Balshine’s authentic story and effective communication lend “credibility and authenticity in a category where people are really looking for that,” notes Cross.

“This is how we started: going to shows and local fairs and things like that. A lot of it was just Dror going out to an individual restaurant and selling them on how great our tofu is,” he says. “This is going back to our roots and how we felt we are successful. It’s also something differentiating for us. It’d be hard for some of the large brands that have entered the category and that are owned by big industrial companies to go out, hit the street and engage with consumers in an authentic way.”

Ultimately, the goal of the campaign is to accelerate Sol’s growth as well as insulate it, Cross says.

“We want to make sure consumers know why they’re trying us, and that we’re giving them a reason to stay and getting a little stickiness on the brand so they’re not trying us and then going somewhere else,” he adds.

The campaign was developed by Edelman Toronto and will run in different iterations throughout the year. It will be supported with digital, social, paid and earned media, and influencer marketing.