The Gut Stuff on using the ‘shock factor’ in the right way

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags microbiome Probiota Gut health

The Gut Stuff, an education brand founded by sisters from the Zoe TwinsUK microbiome study cohort, is working to spread microbiome science knowledge by cutting through the noise on and offline with an ethical approach to shock factor tactics.

Alana MacFarlane Kempner, co-founder of The Gut Stuff, discussed the brand’s communication strategy during a presentation at NutraIngredients Probiota conference in Milan earlier this month, explaining how the seven-year young brand has pioneered a successful strategy to rally against growing miscommunication within the gut health category.

"Initially we were effectively just an education platform," Kempner said. "It was really important for us to communicate the science behind gut health to a mass market audience.

"Back when we started, gut health was very much happening in the back of health food stores and seen as a middle-class luxury. It really became our mission to not only get the science out to everyone to democratise health but also to speak to a younger audience."

She explained how the brand has branched into corporate wellness, offering services to clients such as Visa and Paypal but that the team continues to prioritise public education.

"For every talk we do at a corporate, we also do one at a university or street corner along with our clinical team," she said. "We also have other initiatives; we are on the NHS food review board, and we are piloting to have a gut stuff module as part of the school curriculum. Children are much more open to these ideas."

She added that The Gut Stuff recently delivered an effective communication campaign which involved its 'Know Your S**t: Inside Our Guts' television show on Channel 4, multiple press features and book launches.

The company also produces a high-fibre snacking product, which is currently available in retailers such as Boots and Sainsburys.

Punchy campaigns with pink poos

Describing the key to the success of the brand’s campaign strategy, Kempner said it was important to cut through the noise—largely consisting of unethical shock factor tactics from companies peddling their own agendas—with memorable science-driven campaigns.

“The shock factor is what has resonated, so anything to do with poo," she noted. "We’re known for our bold campaigns. We put pink poos all over the UK, which was picked up by big publications and drove the most traffic to our website."

Enabling consumers to resonate with messaging about health and symptoms was critical, with the additional use of personal stories within campaigns, she explained.

“If this isn’t an option, then try to use product reviews," she added. "Get your customers in front of a camera, and get them to tell you how much their product has benefited their life. People are what people engage with."

She underlined the importance of investing in the education of the science and research over the sales and profits. "It may be a struggle to acquire a budget solely for education, but gut health is a long-term game. The interest will always be there, but consumers are still confused."

She emphasised the "huge opportunity" for brands to harness social media, particularly TikTok, not only to improve awareness and understanding of the microbiome but as a marketplace.

The Gut Stuff app

Kempner also announced the brand’s newly launched app, following an increased demand for personalised gut health advice from consumers.

"People were wanting support with their gut health but for so many different reasons, ranging across menopause, fertility, mental health support," she said. "So we needed to personalise not only the education but the tips, tools and services."

The app provides an range of microbiome information, personalised plans and insights, tailored recipes, as well as one-on-one advice through private consultations. The service will also provide a marketplace for consumers to purchase products recommended by the team in the gut health space.

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