Who knew the “World’s Best Veggie Burger” was waiting in my supermarket freezer? Not me, that’s for sure.
True confessions. My pursuit of a truly outstanding veggie burger has been a decades-long journey of not-quite, also-ran, or oh-dear-no. I’ve sampled them at every known restaurant, supermarket deli counter, and yes, frozen food aisle I could find. Too often gussied up with a ton of salt, chemical seasonings, or sawdust-substitutes, even the passable ones mostly rate “meh”.
Imagine my surprise when, once again tempted to forage in my local supermarket, I came across the delightful package pictured here, emblazoned with Hilary’s very bold claim of “World’s Best Veggie Burger.” The ingredient list was impressive; not just for what it included, but for what it left out. Sold to the woman with the unrelenting marketing mind! Now for the home kitchen test.
To my surprise, not only did this frozen burger look like the package photo, but the cooking directions and timing were actually correct. It didn’t even fall apart! I decided to eat it without any added condiments, no extra sautéed onions or mushrooms, not even a bun. Just the burger in its native state. Passed my taste test with flying colors. Eureka!
But just being the World’s Best was not enough to win our March Marketing Mastery Award. (see the Top Twelve in our year-end post here.) I went online to find out more about Hilary’s, and here is what clinched the win:
1. Message Branding: Fulfilling a Bold Claim. My taste test was the start. I love a strong marketing message, but a claim has to stand up, and this one did. I’ve since cooked and eaten several of these burgers, tried their variations, and remain impressed. What I learned on their website is that Hilary herself spent two+ decades running a restaurant and making sure her customers were served her very best. I am wowed.
2. Visual Branding: The Appeal of Real. Packaging is a highly refined marketing art, and food photography is very tricky. You can oversell with a great image, but what’s inside is often a mismatch, and usually a frozen disappointment. Not so here. Hilary’s World’s Best looks as good and even as fresh as its photo. As does everything else on this lively website. Wow again.
3. Serving Your Audience: Providing for Wants, Wishes and Expectations. These days, being transparent about ingredients is essential to satisfy customers trying to eat healthy. It was easy to read the ingredient list with type large enough to actually see. It confirmed USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Gluten-free, Vegan, Kosher, etc., while free form common allergens, Plus, no soy!! Heavenly. The website goes into even more detail for those who want it.
4. Creating Community: Recipes, Healthy Living, and More. Not only are the website’s recipes appealing, there are photos that look deliciously real, and an invitation to send them feedback. Projects on the Community webpage are thoughtfully designed to ease everyday living, make gardening satisfying, or offer useful shopping tips.
5. Business Excellence: The Certified B Corporation Standard. Hilary’s has their own internal standards off excellence, but they go even further. They are certified as a B Corporation which states “for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,600 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.” Admirable!
6. Be Knowable: Tell Your Story, Be Easy to Find. In today’s complex marketplaces, there can be frustrating gaps between online info and retail access. Hilary’s site has an easy-to-use store locator page with listings by zip code, so you can call a store beforehand. They publish a newsletter and are active on major social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Even better, their website invites bloggers to be in touch to engage in two-way conversations. Very impressive indeed!
As Hilary’s says, Eating Well Made Easy is their purpose, to help to heal the American diet. I’m happy to applaud this entire team with a hearty thanks!
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