An Interview with Innocent

Sara Scott talks to Hannah Cameron, Junior Juice Press
Can you give me the background to the Innocent success story?
Innocent was created 8 years ago by just 3 guys. Now the …

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31st August 2007 at 8:44 am

Sara Scott talks to Hannah Cameron, Junior Juice Press

Can you give me the background to the Innocent success story?
Innocent was created 8 years ago by just 3 guys. Now the business employs 230 people, 150 of them at Fruit Towers, but we also have offices in Dublin, Hamburg, Munich, Copenhagen, Sweden, Paris and Amsterdam. A lot of our growth has happened in the last 2 years or so – as when I started 2.5 years ago there were only 40 people. The original guys are still very high profile in the business, Adam takes care of Europe, Richard is our Brand and People Director here at Fruit Towers and Jon is our Ops Director – making sure we make loads and loads of lovely smoothies.

What are Innocent’s guiding principles as a business?
From the outset, we wanted to create a healthy drink for people with busy lifestyles. Everybody told the guys that making a drink without using concentrated fruit juice was an impossibility, but we stuck to our principles. Now we’re the market leader, with around 70% market share. But sticking by our guns took real persistence and the idea had to be nurtured – keeping that belief when a business is small can be tough. Now that we’re bigger, it’s almost easier to remain true to our beliefs, because we have more pulling power and more weight.
So how would you sum up the secret to Innocent’s success?
It’s exactly the same as it was 8 years ago. For us, smoothies are the centre of everything we do. We have a set of core values: Be responsible, entrepreneurial, generous, commercial and natural. Everything follows these beliefs. Our recent Village Fete in Regent’s Park was a perfect example. 50,000 people came along, there was a real family focus and we raised £150,000 for charity. We had great music, ferret racing, duck herding and a load of other attractions – as well as plenty of smoothies for people to enjoy.

What advice would you offer infant businesses looking to establish themselves?
Don’t take NO for an answer. Our guys went to loads of banks to pitch their idea – just to be told no. But they didn’t give up. In the end they sent an email out to friends saying, ‘do you know anyone rich?’. They found a business ‘angel’ who was prepared to back their belief. They must have been really disheartened at times, but their persistence eventually paid off.

What about your branding, what tips have you got for us?
Be consistent. All of our branding communications go through a single person for approval, to make sure our message doesn’t get diluted. In 8 years, we’ve only made the tiniest of changes to our logo. We want to be recognised and remembered, so keeping things simple, in line with our identity and true to the brand values is vital.

So what’s the most smoothies you’ve drunk in a day?
On my first day I had 8 smoothies. I haven’t really done it again since. But there is a fridge opposite my desk, fully loaded with 200 yummy smoothies, so I probably have a couple each day.

Sara Scott

Sara is a marketing specialist with a wealth of on-line and traditional experience. With award winning credentials as an advertising writer, her career also spans the disciplines of planning and strategy for both B2B and consumer clients. Having worked for one of the the UK's biggest non-London agencies, Sara now works on a consultancy basis for clients large and small. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk/blog

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