With its line of refrigerated, fresh-filled pastas, the Giovanni Rana brand won a 2016 Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation award. Nielsen recognized the brand’s 55% growth in the US, with 2015 revenue totaling 130 million euros. And Giovanni Rana is planning for more growth:
“This positive trend convinced the company to make a further effort to meet the growing demand. A second production plant will open soon near Chicago thanks to a 40 million dollar self-financed investment.”
How Giovanni Rana Differentiated its Brand from Other Pastas: Product Features
Fresh pasta has always held appeal as offering great taste, but it’s still viewed as a commodity offering in most grocery retail. The Rana brand taps into important consumer trends to set itself apart:
- Clean label
- No preservatives
Going beyond these trends, Rana also offers provenance and origin information on its label. Many products bear Protected Designation of Origin (D.O.P.) classification, which means they come from a particular region and are made in a particular way. Consumers may perceive this level of detail to improve the brand’s authenticity.
It’s important to note that Rana pasta costs approximately $6/bag vs. $1.40 for a box of dry pasta. The occasion is one where the consumer is willing to pay the cost difference for a fresh, natural and convenient pasta meal.
Packaging Structure (not just Graphics) Also Supports the Positioning
Product packaging instantly conveys the fresh-made, all-natural appeal. Pasta is packaged in a paper bag, reminiscent of a market bag used to hold small-batch or hand-crafted foods. A window in the bag allows consumers to see the appealing product inside.
Marketing Strategy Reinforces the Italian Heritage in a Humorous Way
Rana’s marketing approach is also well-crafted to help the brand stand out. Its slogan “Share What’s Inside” neatly encompasses what’s inside the pasta, along with what’s inside your heart and family.
The brand brings forward its Italian heritage and credentials from the founder, Giovanni Rani, who is a well-known figure in Italy. Unlike other “founder stories,” which can be perceived as pretentious or stuffy, Rana adopts a humorous, cheeky approach.
For instance, Rana dons a cowboy hat in an effort to encourage rodeo bull riders to try his pasta, or sneaks a plate of pasta into a prison inside a hollowed-out book. Finally, giving up on sharing his pasta with individual Americans, he invites them all to his house in Italy, which ties into a sweepstakes promotion. See the video execution here:
One new customer comments on Rana’s advertising strategy:
“I had never heard of the brand until these new commercials came out. They made me laugh, so I remembered the brand and bought the chicken mozzarella tortellini my next time at the store. It's so good I've had it for dinner two nights in a row!”
I often write about the power of consumer insights and applying what you know about customers to your market strategy. Giovanni Rana is yet another example of a brand that understands consumer preferences and motivations, and employs that knowledge to carve out a position in the highly competitive US market.