Beardwood&Co Shares How They Created a New Category with Stress Management Pill R3SET
by Theresa Christine Johnson on 04/21/2020 | 5 Minute Read
When Beardwood&Co began working on a new project all about stress management, they couldn’t have predicted how timely its release would be (hello, Corona). People may feel a little more on edge now than they ordinarily do, but R3SET is just as good for now as it is for the everyday when life is back to normal—because, well, stress is natural, whether there’s a pandemic raging or not.
Ryan Lynch, a managing partner at Beardwood&Co, reconnected with a past client, and they brought up an exciting new product they wanted to take to the market. With years of scientific research already completed, the team-comprised of a doctor, a scientist, and a business lead-needed a design studio to help put all their work into a product that people would notice on the shelves. Ryan quickly brought associate creative director Erin Buchanan and lead designer Allie Wong in to help bring the project to life.
“The challenge to us was how to demonstrate to consumers that this was an efficacious product,” explained Erin, “while also speaking the consumer’s language within a really crowded space, which is the supplement space.”
The product—a capsule for stress management formulated with natural ingredients—certainly fell into the category of a supplement, but R3SET also seemed unlike any other pill out there. It’s not Prozac, it’s not CBD, and it doesn’t contain drowsy ingredients like melatonin. You won’t find a stress management aisle in Target, anyway, because it doesn’t exist.
“They didn’t want to just be a leader in this category,” Ryan said. “They wanted to define this category, what it looks like, and its tone of voice.”
Although Beardwood&Co was essentially carving out this new category of stress management products, they wanted to tread carefully. Consumers needed to view this as the real deal, not some kind of hyped-up fad to help with anxiety. At the same time, R3SET couldn’t look too clinical, either. “It was important to convey that sense of credibility,” Erin stated. “This product is legitimate and developed by people with credentials. Still, we didn’t want to lead with that.”
Beardwood&Co worked with R3SET to develop a custom structure. They designed everything from the graphics to the color choices to the font to work well on the shelf (or on a computer screen), but they also seamlessly blend into a person’s day-to-day routine once the product goes home with them. The green color highlights that the brand falls within the natural category, for example, while the microbeads within the capsule showcase R3SET’s innovative side.
They also wanted the brand to speak to a specific demographic—specifically Gen Z—so the design needed to make R3SET feel credible but still approachable. “We wanted to lead with this idea of giving the target audience a sense of control over their stress and not feel like this product is difficult to work into your everyday routines,” Erin mentioned. “It’s a natural, safe way to integrate stress management supplements into your life, and it would be coupled with things like eating well and exercising. So we really wanted to define this conversational tone of voice as though you're talking to your peer about stress.”
With internet culture such a vital part of Gen Z's life, the visual identity and tone of voice had to stand out in a space like Instagram as well as the aisles of a store. Consumers learn a lot about the products they consume both online and in-person, so that welcoming, easygoing tone of voice was the heartbeat of the brand.
The way R3SET communicates to consumers, though, is layered. For those who want to dive into research and have a deep understanding of the scientific aspect of the brand, that information is there—but it doesn’t overwhelm a consumer who is maybe less interested in that and merely looking for an alternative and uncomplicated solution to their problems. Beardwood&Co helped the brand achieve that balance.
“There are some people who are going to be happy with the slogan, ‘not today, stress,’” explained Ryan. “They’ll see a natural stress support and say ‘yep, that sounds great.’ And then other people are going to want to dig in and understand a little bit more about what the ingredients are or how the different systems of your body work with the various ingredients. It’s a layered approach where the package is a microcosm of that experience to allow you to be approached in a super friendly way, with this saying of reassurance, ‘not today, stress,’ or ‘not tonight stress,’ and then you can discover more to the degree that you're interested.”
Creating a new category may seem daunting, but Beardwood&Co relished the chance to change the way people talk about stress and the way people consume those products. Erin said that it involved equal parts research, imagination, and exploration.
Ryan re-emphasized the research part. While a category for stress management didn’t exactly exist, for example, lateral categories do—so turning to those helped shape their approach for R3SET. By examining what they look like and how they’ve changed over the years, Beardwood&Co had an excellent starting point with what they wanted to develop.
“It can give you an understanding of people's level of comfort, their level of interest, and level of passion in this new category, as well as how they talk about it,” he said. “Because forget about how you might talk about it, you want to think about how they might talk about it.”
Erin agreed, adding, “And then you can take all of that, harness it, and really shape beautiful creative coming out of it.”