Guest Post: The design of the Sarah’s Honey brand for Milleeven Fine Foods

Within this lies another tale – how does a daughter or son establish their own identity on an established brand. It needs to be tackled – otherwise they are just doing what their parent(s) did. I have known Eilis Gough (founder of Milleeven Honey) for many years but have never met Sarah her daughter.

However I was aware of Sarah’s products and brand and so asked Philip Darling from Concept Choice to do a guest post on how the brand and packaging came about.

The design of the Sarah’s Honey brand

“Milleeven Fine Foods, based in Kilkenny, Ireland, decided to launch a range of flavoured honey to the market place. They already produce traditional honey products, so wanted something different for the Irish, UK and international consumer.

Branding and Positioning
Our first stage was to work with Tessa O’Connell of Brand Edge, who hosted a branding and positioning workshop for Mileeven and a selected audience type, from retail buyers to consumers. The day was really useful in identifying the perceived view of honey products, company reputation, qualities and indeed what the ‘modern’ consumer was looking for in honey. We also knew that the UK marketplace was very competitive, with massive marketing budgets to push their products.

We looked at what made Mileeven different, things that the large companies couldn’t claim with any real consumer believability, a love of honey and a hands on involvement from an ‘artisan’ family producer. Once these values and propositions were marked up on the flip chart, coupled with the wonderful mother and daughter story, ‘Sarah’s Honey’ (the daughter’s name) was realised and born. The name and spirit of the brand fitted, was true and gave a real point of difference from their competitors.

Packaging and Labelling practicalities
The next stage, was to look at the packaging practicalities and labeling of the new brand. Mileeven suggested a lovely glass jar that fitted that homemade ‘story’ and we decided to expand the label area to give it more shelf presence. A teardrop shape was conceived which had a secondary subtle effect, of ‘flowing’ honey.

Many typefaces were considered in the logo make-up but we settled on a ‘hand drawn’ effect which fitted well. A series of little watercolour illustrations were commissioned, again as if Sarah herself had created these for her ‘homemade’ production line. Each product also featured a different coloured border to assist content recognition and words such as ‘scrummy’ and ‘passionate’ to enhance the ingredient descriptions within.

Telling the Story – Video

As with any brand, the packaging is just part of the consumer experience, so to really extend the story, we conceived, shot and produced a video entitled ‘Sarah’s World’. Filmed over a couple of days on their farm (and in-between the showers) we created an atmospheric movie that showed Sarah within a rural environment, taking time out, writing, painting and collecting ingredients for her honey recipes. The whole video was then edited to look like a homemade super 8 film and wonderful music score commissioned to complement the visuals.

We also photographed Sarah and the full range of products for use on POS, PR, web and exhibition use. Some shots were taken quickly to capture a spontaneous feel, others took much longer to ensure everything was perfect in presentation. We also sourced vintage props and had lots of help from Eilis with family heirlooms and tablecloths.

The packaging, photography and video was then displayed in the London Food Fair of which they received lots of positive feedback and most importantly, samples requests and advance orders.

Overall, we really enjoyed the project, from brand generation right though to the packaging, photography and video. It was great too, to work with a client prepared to listen, trust and get involved in the marketing of the brand.

Philip Darling, Creative Director of Concept Choice

Great to see the exploration of the positioning using primary and secondary research right at the beginning of this project and also the extension into other media.

You can see the other food packaging guests posts in this series here.


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