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Cocona Case Study

The Basis Group

The Story

A Brand Built on Science

During the carbonization of coconut shells, volatiles amounting to 70 percent of the mass of the coconut shells are released into the atmosphere, yielding 30 percent of the coconut shell mass as activated carbon.

Founded by a chemist, TrapTek was a fabric technology company that used carbon to produce fiber with significant odor-controlling and moisture wicking capabilities. Even though the company had a great idea with unmatched performance, they struggled with how or where to take it to market. Just over a decade later, the company had improved its product application, found innovative carbon sources, changed its name to Cocona, and targeted the outdoor apparel marketplace as its sweet spot. But breaking in to a vertical market dominated by a handful of well-known players proved daunting.

The Obstacle:

The outdoor apparel industry was at an impasse. Performance technology leaders Gore-Tex and CoolMax enjoyed significant brand recognition, but the technology had not evolved in 20 years. The industry had been flooded with copycat technologies that over-promised and under-delivered creating skepticism and frustration in the minds of manufacturers, retail buyers and consumers.

But even as the industry was clamoring for innovation that would meet the needs of active outdoor enthusiasts, manufacturers remained hesitant to invest in an unproven ingredient brand. This complicated market dynamic created a ripe opportunity for Cocona to take significant market strides with the right approach to branding and a fresh look.

“Our natural technology was unique and best-in-class, but the market was dominated by a few juggernauts. We just didn’t have the budget to compete head-to-head with billion-dollar companies. The Basis Group helped us build a brand strategy that didn’t exist in the space. It allowed us to establish partnerships with a select group of apparel brands who took the science to the end users. The endorsement of the established brands and excitement of the people wearing the gear put our name on the map.”

Brad Poorman, Former CEO

Cocona Fabrics

The Approach:

From its early days, Cocona had directed its marketing efforts strictly at outdoor apparel manufacturers, promoting itself as a white label technology with performance enhancing potential. After analyzing the marketplace and competitive landscape, TBG worked with Cocona to adopt a new marketing strategy by appealing to both the manufacturer and the consumer to create a push-pull dynamic. This approach would be fueled by a new family of brands that elevated Cocona from an invisible technology to an ingredient brand that drove market demand serving the needs of both manufacturers and end users.

After analyzing the marketplace and competitive landscape, TBG worked with Cocona to adopt a new marketing strategy by appealing to both the manufacturer and the consumer to create a push-pull dynamic.

The Solution:

Cocona had two significant differentiators: It significantly outperformed the competition, and it had the science to prove it. The combination of peak performance and solid science became the foundation of the new Cocona brand.

To give Cocona the greatest flexibility and strength to evolve with the marketplace and meet the diverse needs of both B2B and B2C target audiences, TBG suggested a tiered brand architecture with Cocona Technologies functioning as the corporate umbrella brand. The value of this powerful endorser brand is based on the mindset of the company. Cocona thinks ahead of the curve, overcomes obstacles, embraces challenges, loves the outdoors, and seeks out adventure. For the manufacturer, Cocona means standard-setting science, increased value, seamless collaboration, and ultimate customer service. In the eyes of the consumer, the name Cocona stands for untethered adventure, peak performance, and absolute innovation.

The branding of the corporation apart from the offering provided ample room for expansion into other vertical markets without threatening brand equity and allowed for the natural evolution of the technology without risking marketplace confusion. At the same time, the endorsement of the Cocona name infused the sub-brands with the innate qualities that make Cocona unique.

Under the Cocona Technologies umbrella sit three sub-brands: Cocona, Cocona Performance and CWL (Cocona White Label). While there is some variance in the performance level of the various sub-brands, the true differentiation comes in the host brand’s usage of the Cocona name and level of support. These levels were established to meet the varying needs of the marketplace. Cocona is the primary sub-brand with the broadest application, the most customer interface and a co-branding partnership. Cocona Performance has limited applications with select elite apparel brands. In this relationship, the technology is renamed according to the host brand but carries the descriptor Powered by Cocona. CWL is a revenue-generating brand for Cocona based on a licensing agreement to use the Cocona technology without the use of the Cocona name.

This new brand strategy created a bolder, more confident Cocona. They promised their manufacturing customers innovation, collaboration and support to build their brands. To the end users, Cocona promised freedom to pursue their passion for the outdoors.