Merchants of Pure Flavour

For generations, food importers have met a fairly standard business need: to source nostalgic favourites for expats and former travellers. Our client Viking Imports originally sat within this category, having launched back in 1984 with a Scandinavian focus that still defines its offering.

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Then, in the decades that followed, new opportunities emerged for Viking that evolved their market position. Nordic foods began selling to a wider fanbase, thanks to their authentic flavours and clean ingredient-base. Meanwhile, customer demand for organics, ethical sourcing, low-allergen and other healthy foods began hitting record highs.

As a result, the Viking portfolio of Swedish household staples (think herrings, crispbreads and ginger snaps) broadened to include a wider interpretation of clean imported foods. Frozen berries, dried mushrooms, organic cheeses and gluten-free desserts are now among their bestsellers.

Long story short, Viking’s original branding no longer reflected their product lineup. Nor did it reflect their ambitions, to dish up authentic and delicious everyday fare suited to the tastes of any modern household. And in 2020, they decided to address that perception gap by inviting us to overhaul their brand strategy, brand identity and marketing strategy.

One of the first insights to came out of our kick-off workshop with Viking was the need to give their namesake a new, gentler meaning. This meant focusing less on Vikings as warriors, and more on Vikings as fishers and farmers who once traversed the seven leagues to source wondrous new flavours for their villages. Today, that ethos lives on in Viking Imports’ suppliers, many of whom boast generations of food production expertise – whether they are based in northern Europe, east Asia or South America.

We developed a brand platform led by a new positioning statement and tagline, Merchants of Pure Flavour. This is central to the visual and verbal identity that brings to life Viking’s unique market position, of sourcing healthy showstopper foods from around the world. After all, why should these foods be consigned to the international aisle of the supermarket, when they’re so well suited to everyday modern dining?

Viking’s chunky new logo and wordmark are brought to life with a soft Nordic colour palette, expressive typefaces, and a system of export-stamp inspired graphics. Another recurring motif is our collection of stories behind each supplier on the Viking website, several of which have origins dating back hundreds of years.

The brand identity also includes a refreshed brand architecture, given Viking’s ambitions to grow both its private-label and organic collections, along with a separate logistics arm. The work is being rolled out across a retailer-focused website, presentation materials, marketing collateral, social media graphics and product packaging designs.

The work has driven Viking Imports headfirst into the digital age, driving a growing volume of traffic and queries to its website and social media accounts. From the uptick in sales since the rebrand and in spite of Covid-related supply chain disruptions, Viking is easily headed towards its goal of tripling sales by 2025.

food brand advertising