European awards scheme recognises commercial success for two North West businesses


Last night, two North West businesses came together to showcase the power of design in delivering transformational commercial change at the Transform Awards Europe, held at Leonardo Royal London. Aimia Foods and Brandon picked up a gold for their rebranding of Horlicks in Best Brand Evolution and a bronze in Best Use of a Visual Property, in the scheme that recognises excellence in rebranding and brand strategy.

These accoldaes come hot on the heels of another success for the partnership last week, when they received a gold award for design effectiveness at the FAB (Food & Beverage) Awards.

Unlike many design awards, these schemes are not judged on creativity alone, but also the commercial impact delivered as a result. And it’s fair to say that following Horlicks’ rebrand in 2019, the brand has experienced a phenomenal shift in perception.

The UK Malted Drinks category had been in decline for several years, with some retailers reducing fixture space for products in favour of more innovative offers mimicking those offered in coffee shops. Consequently, Horlicks, once one of Britain’s most-loved brands, had seen its sales decline too. Consumer perceptions (or misconceptions) of the brand had kept its consumer base firmly in the aged 65+ bracket, and so the brand needed to find a way to become more relevant to more people.

And that’s where Brandon came in. Managing Partner, Richard Taylor, explains how design played a role in moving the brand from a ‘bedtime drink for your grandparents’ to an antidote to the ‘always on’ world in which we live;

“Today, we’re all so hectic with busy work and home life schedules that it can be hard to switch off and find me time. Our new brand positioning ‘take a moment’, not only encourages people to slow down regardless of the time of day – or time of life – but also addressed the brand’s key issues.

By retaining key memory structures of the colour blue and the logotype, but building on them with associations of positive nostalgia, the packaging design shifted the brand from functional product benefits, which were in keeping with the rest of the category, to emotional escapism.”

As a result, Horlicks is now relevant to a wider range of consumers with sales increasing by +16.7% YOY. It has cemented its position as the grocery brand leader in Malted Drinks, invested in a number of range extensions, and launched in Canada through Walmart.

Michelle Younger, Head of Marketing at Aimia Foods, adds:

“Take a moment is an idea that everyone can get behind – whether it’s a break from work or a chance to sit and become absorbed in a good book. And as such, we’ve driven the brand reappraisal that we needed. Our research showed that the new packaging design created more openness to buy Horlicks and we’ve certainly seen that in the sales results, having added +148,000 buyers in the under 65 years age group.”

Taylor continues:

“We’re beyond excited to have won, not only our first award but, three within a week and for such a great client parternship too. We help brands win their fight for relevance on a daily basis, using our design skills to build brands that demand attention, engage and inspire consumers, influence behaviours and drive commercial growth. Winning awards like these is a cherry on the top of the cake, but they prove that creating real impact is everything.”