The natural supplements space in the health and wellness industry is nebulous and hard to define. Some estimates clock it in at just over 5 billion, while others estimate well over 50. Most of this market is split between big-name brands and their polar opposites, struggling entrepreneurs with a bright idea and passion. Yet one company, Rritual, intends to make a splash right between the two, delivering the best of what the latter have to offer, with all the tactical and strategic acumen of the latter. It’s a bold approach, but so is their objective: to make adaptogens and functional mushrooms part of the daily ritual for millions of Americans.
So, what are the challenges that face companies seeking to make inroads, and what is it about Rritual’s approach that makes it so promising?
Building the foundation: a worthwhile product
There are snake oil salesmen by the dozen in the wellness space, and some of the cures the peddle for conditions as serious as Covid-19 have made it as far as the white house. Its no surprise that many ordinary people treat innovative new ideas with more than a little bit of caution and skepticism.
This is why the first step is to make a product which delivers, because regardless of any other characteristics, if it does nothing, it will not take off. Any marketing efforts made will be multiplied if word of mouth backs them up, and that is only generated by results.
This is where the innovative and health sector experience of Rritual leadership comes in handy. With a doctor of natural medicine at the helm (President Mike Hart) and a team of medical, nutrition and health professionals to back him up, they have the experience and know how to create effective, and safe, products.
Using potent ingredients helps, and that’s why they have decided to focus on functional mushrooms and adaptogens. Unfortunately most ordinary everyday customers have never heard of either, which brings us to the second problem facing wellness innovators.
Getting the word out about functional mushrooms and adaptogens.
While adaptogens have been on the radar of mental health experts and fitness guru’s for some time, the ordinary consumer has little exposure to them. Functional mushrooms might make even less sense to them. Yet both are at the heart of Rritual’s project, and exemplary of a common problem for innovators in the space.
How can you get the word out about your amazing product, when no one you need to reach has heard of it’s ingredients. You need now to double up your messaging: convincing people of the validity of your ingredients and your product. And while Rritual has taken steps to do so (such as an engaging and informative app which keeps users in touch with news for the sector) they have also sidestepped the question.
Instead of focusing on their ingredients (wonderful and varied as they are) they have chosen to emphasize their effects. After all, that is what consumers are really interested in? So while they have full transparency for those who want to look into the composition of each ‘elixir’ the emphasis is placed on what they deliver: immunity boosting, mental focus, and stress relief. These are immediately comprehensible to the everyday consumer, who struggle with one or more on a daily basis.
A similar approach was taken by the energy drink company Celsius, which managed to strike big on national and global levels, after turning from a focus on its ingredients, to a focus on what it delivers. Fitness and fat-burning. The example is doubly relevant because one of it’s architects is the CEO of Rritual, David Kerbel, whose efforts earned revenue growth of 36 million dollars for the beverage company. Which brings us to Rritual’s second strong axis, their industry expertise.
Rritual is guided by functional market insights and insiders.
A parallel to the health and nutrition experts, Rritual also has a number of seasoned professionals from the food and beverage industry on board. This is essential: and one of the many places nascent innovators fail, thinking all they need is a solid health product. Their lack of polish quickly shows, and expanding beyond an intensely local level is futile if they can even get off the ground.
This is because consumers rely on visual cues, treating packaging as signals for the quality of the product within. You need marketing to get the message out and keep it consistent, and of course, you need the lingo to talk to investors as well as customers. Though ultimately, neither will be interested in you if you are not offering something they need.
Do adaptogens and functional mushrooms solve real problems?
Coffee is often jokingly referred to as a necessity in our office, and while our bodies can survive without it, it fills a key need: boosting energy and focus. It has also become the go to for doing so for millions, if not billions of people worldwide. This is because it meets a need, a characteristic any successful product must have.
This is especially true for adaptogens and functional mushrooms, tools of ancient medicinal traditions, but which need applications for the modern customer. This is going to be especially true when people are dwelling so much on very specific problems like Covid-19. Luckily for Rritual, the products they had already designed happen to fit both niches well.
As we mentioned earlier, the company’s messaging and packaging focuses on the mental and physical health areas their products helped with. As further proof of the robustness of their concept, the covid-19 crisis has only accentuated the need for each!
Immunity is an obvious and nearly prescient area, but one which makes a lot of sense as adaptogens can be powerful tools for the immune system. As functional health often focuses on holistic prevention rather than intrusive treatment. Thus the obvious step of picking ingredients which bolstered the body’s ability to defend itself.
Relaxation is the diametric and natural opposite of the niche coffee fills, but is a product of the same high paced lifestyle we lead. Problems sleeping are but one side of the problem, dealing with stress and anxiety are challenges people will tackle across all walks of life, and the pandemic has only made them loom larger.
While the third area, mental focus, is not directly connected to the pandemic, it is clearly just as necessary for many in daily modern life.
With such broad areas in which their products can make a difference, it is no surprise they are planning to try and reach as many consumers as possible.
Taking adaptogens and functional mushrooms to next level.
While some companies that have mobilized adaptogens or functional mushrooms have stuck to small scale operations like smoothie bars, their capacity to reach all those who could be benefiting remained small. As did their capacity to grow.
Success stories have come out of companies like moon juice, who started out with just such on-the-spot healthy beverages and moved onwards, and upwards, by expanding into health creams and skin care. Rritual wants to skip the rocky infancy, and reach the wider audience directly.
Their mass market appeal strategy is obvious in their tactical choices, like sleek packaging, straightforward messaging and so forth. It is also clear in their strategic operations, targeting retailers directly, launching online rather than in stores, and their goal: to become part of everyone’s daily ritual.
While all big dreams come with some risk, so do small ones, but the rewards differ vastly. And Rritual has everything it takes to pull it off: a high value core product people need, expertise across the key domains, and the vision to deliver. A strong example of a project with lots of potential in a growing field.
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