BRAND Associates, the Glasgow-based brokerage firm run by Jim and Rosie Hutton, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
A decade ago Jim, who had worked with what had been one of the UK’s biggest companies of its type, Food Brokers, set out on his own.
If he was sure of one thing it was that he didn’t want to be known as an agency. The term just didn’t sum up the company’s goals – to be closely and deeply linked to all the work and aims of the brands it represents, and to work with others in the wholesale and retail chain to maximise benefits for everyone involved in getting the goods to the consumer. In short Brand Associates is intended to be associated with every part of a brand’s life.
Now Brand Associates is a team of nine people working out of new central Glasgow offices, which also connects to a sales force south of the border. It aims to develop long-term relationships with brands and it has worked for many years with some major names including Marshalls, Primula and home baking supplier Dr Oetker.
In wines it has built Scottish sales of the Cellar Vino portfolio (including Versare Italian wines, Las Montanas Chilean wines, Di Maria Prosecco and others) very substantially.
But it’s also always on the lookout for something new – from niche food companies, overseas partners and others. To them, especially, it offers ideas ‘thousands of them’ drawn from practical experience of food marketing and retailing across just about every product category and every wholesale and retail channel.
As Rosie Hutton explained, it’s often involved in brand development from the earliest stages, working with companies on concepts and packaging, and then taking the idea to retailers and wholesalers to get vital feedback that allows brand owners to make tweaks to fine-tune new lines.
Those can include elements that are especially important to c-stores, like PMPs and small case sizes.
One of the latest convenience-store-only ranges to join the portfolio is One-a-Day Treats, pet treats at a consumer-engaging £1 price point, packed in mixed-flavour display packs of 12 units.
In the pipeline is canned chicken from US firm Crimer, a hugely successful competitor to canned tuna in America and a brand that Brand Associates will introduce to the mainstream market and to sports nutrition outlets.
After 10 years Brand Associates says there’s a lot more to come from a company that’s not so much a sales agency, more a way of life.