Queen Cow: Croatian Branding of Belje Kravica Kraljica Milk Proves Hit

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes, from the concerning stagnation of the Croatian dairy industry, to the fastest growing brand in the country. The success story of Queen Cow is impressive, with a very happy ending to top it all off at the end of last year. Queen Cow’s producer, Belje, according to research by Gfk Hrvatska, achieved exceptional market success only six months after its launch, with the product reaching every fifth household in the country.

Back at the end of pandemic-dominated 2020, the dairy industry in Osijek was saved by Belje, which took over 249 subcontractors, farmers who supplied raw milk. Since then, the company has started from scratch with a new dairy range, and wanted to offer the new brand as an indicator of a new start in the production of 100 percent Croatian milk.

The brand development project, which currently includes 13 different products in 16 packages, has been entrusted to one of the leading integrated marketing agencies in Croatia.

Pro media group and its PR agency Impressum Komunikacije (communications), which, in cooperation with Belje, created a dairy brand different from the previous ones. Most of the milk on the Croatian market doesn’t stand out in terms of its image from any other. Why not include the stronger presence of the animal we have to thank for milk? The cow, the animal that provides one of the most basic foods and a pure natural resource. The cow therefore occupies a central place in communication and on the packaging of these Belje Queen Cow products, from milk to yogurt.

Radovan Klaic, the director of Impressum Communications, Ivona Zec, community manager, and Tihana Tojcic, the account director, talked about how the creative process went, creating a completely new brand and visual identity and communication campaign for Queen Cow.

The creative trio from the Pro media group consisted of the main designers in the team, Srdjan Vrdoljak and Boris Poljicanin, as well as the creative director of the group, Igor Skunca.

“We have new products, a whole new line, we’re entering a new market segment, we need something to shake the market up and set some new standards in the category…”, said Igor Škunca, adding that it was fun to create the entire Queen Cow brand with all its new visuals and packaging, for which he attributes the credit to a great team of collaborators.

“We immediately realised that Belje wants and needs something different for its new dairy brand, something more urban and modern, something a bit more funky, which attracts attention, but with a clear message about the milk having come from real Croatian farms. From real cows. We could see that they required a form of communication that would be different from the usual for the dairy industry. Only with such a story can you make some significant impact in the segment where you need to create a place among strong traditional brands. Feedback from the market shows that together with the team from Belje, we’ve found the right formula,” added Klaic.

When asked who came up with the Queen Cow brand name, Vrdoljak said: “Queen Cow was uttered by someone, I don’t remember who, they just said it during one of the meetings where the brand was developed, and it resounded like one of those eureka moments where we all nodded our heads. We had to emphasise who she was, with a crown, as she’s a queen after all, while the hipster glasses are there so that she can see what all the other cows are doing,” he said.

Queen Cow is shown differently on each of their products – the cooking cream sees her wearing a chef’s hat, the Greek yogurt has her wearing a laurel wreath, the yoghurt pictures here wearing a scarf…. Each is related to the product it represents. Account Director Tihana Tojcic added that the challenge was even greater because today, agencies rarely get such an opportunity to develop brands in the FMCG industry from scratch.

”Given that about three quarters of the market share in the Croatian dairy industry has been held by two big “players” for years, and consumers are increasingly turning to mini dairies and family farms, it really took time to think about what sort of position Belje and Queen Cow would take in such a competitive environment. It was important for us to stand out as much as possible with our packaging design on basically unexciting shelves full of dairy products. That’s why the success of this brand is something we’re really proud of,” explained Tojcic.

Ivona Zec, the community manager at Impressum Communications, made sure that the new product got its place on social media through memorable messages. In addition to creating a communication strategy on social media, her role includes copywriting and community management.

“One of the challenges was to find a tone of communication to show that this brand stands out in relation to the competition and, of course, to design visual and textual content that engages the audience. The cows managed to activate their fans as their names were given to them through creative competitions on social media,” said Ivona.

According to Hrvoje Rados, director of sales and marketing of Belje, Belje has made “maximum efforts to market Queen Cow products in a short time and design a marketing campaign which would be interesting to all categories of customers because these are products we all consume on a daily basis.”

The fact that a great job was done was confirmed by Queen Cow’s more than good reception on the market, confirmed by the aforementioned GfK research.

Queen Cow almost took the throne in its very first year of existence, and the President of the Board of Belje, Andrej Dean, expressed his satisfaction with the fact that consumers have shown and recognised the brand, because, as he says, Belje guarantees the traceability of all production, from farm to packaging on store shelves. Annually, Belje produces 58 million litres of domestic milk, from more than 7,500 cows across five counties in Slavonia.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.


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