When Juliet Barratt, co-founder of active nutrition and sports performance brand Grenade, is in search of ways to create a stir, she likes to think big. Back in 2010, on a budget of just £2,000 (compared with the tens of thousands she says other exhibitors would have spent), she hired a 55-tonne former army tank (from a friend who happened to have a 100-strong collection of them) to serve as a stand at an expo at the Birmingham NEC. Apart from its name, Grenade, the company’s branding had something of a military vibe at the time, and its presence certainly turned heads – grabbing the attention of potential customers from as far afield as the US. Barratt says the stunt turned out to be the catalyst for what would ultimately become the company’s US business.
“You’ve got to keep your name out there. If you don’t, there’s always going to be a competitor who’ll come in and take your place”
The fully branded tank was wheeled out again recently in London, loaded with healthy snacks as Grenade “declared war” on sugary treats. “It got a great response with lots of social media interaction, and it drove people to our website,” says Barratt. “We’re bold and colourful and want to have fun – and this comes through in all of our marketing campaigns.”
Can stunts go wrong? Certainly. But there’s a difference between having a sense of humour with marketing, says Barratt, and being just plain silly. “It’s definitely a gut instinct,” she says. Barratt also works with her team to ensure they’ve got all bases covered, from involvement of their ambassadors to digital ads and great graphics.