Liquid Nutrition drinks up North American expansion

The Montreal-based beverage brand is planning to launch throughout Canada and the US with a significant marketing push.

Health-conscious Canadians will soon have another beverage brand to serve them up a smoothie. Montreal-based Liquid Nutrition is poised to launch its brand across the country as well down into the US.

The company, which also offers food options, vitamins and supplements in its retail locations, has served its healthy fare to the greater Montreal area since 2005. It plans to enter 35 markets in Canada and the US, focusing on major markets in Ontario, Alberta, BC and US markets close to the border over the next 36 months.

“We’re almost taking a bit of the Starbucks approach,” says Glenn Young, president, Liquid Nutrition Group. “We’re going to go out and populate these markets with stores, which essentially become our banner in that particular marketplace, and then once we establish ourselves as a national brand – and the magic number for us is 100 [stores] – we’re going to push that brand into more mass distribution.”

Liquid Nutrition recently announced that it had signed Oakville, ON-based 3H Communications, handling branding and marketing (its first order of business was a redesign of the company’s website, and Toronto-based Korrelation Communications, managing PR, to help in its endeavour. It will be supporting its expansion with a marketing spend in the seven-figure range, promoting the brand and franchise opportunities with both efforts set to launch concurrently later this month.

The branding plan, according to Young, will keep a local focus.

“We’re going to really focus the media spend on the local marketplace and that will be very tactical, very grassroots,” says Young. “I don’t see us being a traditional media player. We’re really going to exploit the whole new digital world, and again, from social media to viral, building that intimate relationship with our consumer base, and that will be complemented with some outdoor and potentially some very targeted print campaigns.”

Franchise opportunities, says Young, will have more of a national focus, but will be digitally targeted, using websites like (an online destination for people to seek out and research franchise opps). Media is also being handled by 3H, with help on the franchise side from Chicago-based franchise consultants Francorp International.

“Really the gateway for us both on the consumer side as well as the franchise sales side is our website, making sure that we’ve got full optimization and that we’re really using that to populate the message, even beyond the site itself, whether it be blogs or articles,” says Young. “That’s where people like Korrelation come in and play such a key role for us.”

A year ago the company enlisted the aid of NBA star (and Canadian) Steve Nash, as well as New York Yankees backstop Russell Martin in April, to help with its promotional efforts. It will announce the addition of four more athletes – an NFL quarterback, a renowned NHL captain, a PGA golfer and an Olympian – to “Team Liquid” at the end of May.

The athletes will be featured across promotional efforts, including viral executions, POS materials and on the company’s website. Liquid Nutrition will also piggyback on their public exposure through channels like their Facebook fan pages. They will be joined by a fitness advisor and a nutritionist, both of whom, Young says, are of renown.

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 that it offers a unique product.

“What sets us apart is the fact that our product is healthy and nutritious for you – we’re not using any refined sugars, we’re not using any yogurts or sorbets, syrups, 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.”

From Strategy Online