AN APPLE A DAY
Promotional package to enhance the experience of the Saratoga Apples Tasting Room
The project started with an exploration on how food is increasingly understood in relation to restoration and healing of both farm land and the human body. Travelling to a rural area of New York State called Washington County where the local economy remains largely based on agricultural activities, as it has been for hundreds of years, made it successful. There were many opportunities to experience personal connection with the people, their work environments, and the challenges faced in food-related businesses. The in-depth visits and conversations with selected entrepreneurs and innovators whose work is centered on restoration and development of food system economies and ecologies formed the basis for further design inquiries.
One such farm was an Apple Orchard named Saratoga Apples. It is family owned and operated. The Darrows have been growing apples for 5 generations. They grow apples with great care, using low-spray techniques and micronutrient fertilization, including sea minerals and rock dusts.
During the conversations and tour within the Farm and their Cider Tasting room, there was a lot of emphasis on how the tasting room should be promoted so that people travelling upstate could experience the rich ambience of the tasting room as well as take home beautiful memories of their experience. This would enrich their customer base and tempt people to come more often to the tasting room.
This need was very real and it lead to exploring and creating different branding / promotional collaterals which bringing out the story of the orchard and enhance the tasting room experience.
Also, the project majorly focuses into how materials and products (cork, wooden crates, tissue paper for packaging) from the farm could be utilized to create these collaterals.
Key take away after research and interviews with Nate (farm owner) and Eric (his son):
1. They are brand new (2 months) to the cider business.
2. They sell mostly at local (Albany area) farmers markets throughout the year
3. Their cider is a dinner cider (wine bottle - 750ml) because the beer bottle
[12oz-16oz] cider requires more initial capital investment and is run by big names like Angry Orchard and Strongbow.
4. They are making exciting new improvements in the tasting room, including a fireplace, to bring people into the tasting room.
5. They believe that bringing more people into the tasting room will build a loyal customer base.
6. They plan to achieve this by giving out coupons with purchase of apples.
The question after much inquiry and iterations was:
HOW MIGHT WE Promote the brand among hard cider drinkers making them aware of the farmer’s community, the experience of the tasting room. Tell the story of the rich culture and tradition, years of heritage and quality that builds trusted customer base.
Telling the story through the Brand and its Products.
By giving the products and services an identity by capturing and sharing the stories they really are, target audience go on a journey they yearn to experience. This helps the consumers to form a personal connection with the brand.
Interacting and Engaging with Customers through play.
The puzzle coasters tell the complete story of the 5 generations. This is instrumental in bringing people in the tasting room together. It is a medium of interaction and ice breaking between strangers and also a fun way to get to know more about the origin of the ciders.
Letting customers create their own stories and memories.
The giveaway package includes a bag of handpicked apples, a voucher which customers can redeem the next time they visit the tasting room and a beautiful wooden box made of recycles crates which contains personalized postcards. The customers can go on a tradition apple picking tour around the orchard and they can post their pictures on Instagram (social media promotion). This is printed and made into a set of postcards of memories for the customers to share handwritten stories of their experience with their loved ones.
After an extensive research about current competitors in Hard Cider Market and their branding stories.
These were the following steps :
1. Initial explorations of depicting the story of their heritage and process through hand sketches
2. Creating the physical packaging like wrapping and label design for the customer to understand the story.
3. Iterating over different visual methods to convey the process that fits the look, feel and the ambience of the tasting room.
4. Making artifacts like postcards, vouchers, bag of handpicked apples and puzzle coasters that go along with the theme.