• Gabrielle Woolley

The Plant Milk Revolution

Updated: Mar 3

Alternative milk preference is a quite telling characteristic. There are those who drink soy, almond milk-types, and others who prefer coconut. At this point, with such growth for the non-dairy industry, it's a personality trait.

But the cool kids, those truly committed to the non-dairy lifestyle, the ones who are ahead-of-the-curve and hip-to-the-core know that oat milk is the supreme plant-based beverage.

Oatly, the oat-milk market's current leading brand, is largely responsible for the growth of this dairy alternative.

One of the key ways in which Oatly popularized oat-milk and their brand was through insanely good social media marketing. The concept of oat-milk in itself is quirky and off-beat, and Oatly crafted a content strategy similarly unorthodox. And it worked.

Everything from the content Oatly posts to their clever, edgy captions takes an alternative approach to the concept of creating a brand image. Their content and social media strategy is truly the (non-dairy) cream of the crop.

So, how do they do it?

A screen-grab of Oatly's Instagram feed.

Firstly, Oatly is incredibly transparent on social media. They're honest and straightforward - whether it be in regards to their products, marketing campaigns, or general brand goals.

What sparked their online popularity was a series of posts about a court case with the Swedish Milk Lobby in 2015. The brand created a separate social media platform called "Bad Atmosphere in the Dairy Aisle" where they documented all information from the trial.

In 2018, Oatly shared their Yearly Sustainability Report with followers and openly admitted to doing "slightly worse!" than they did in 2017. In a candid Instagram caption, the brand explained their goal with sharing the report was to explain "how Oatly contributes to the global goals set by the UN, as well as how we work to maximize our usefulness for the planet and humankind. Basically, the perfect light summer beach read."

As consumers become more conscious of the ethics and morals of the brands they support, it becomes increasingly important for brands to practice such transparency.

With such honesty, consumers can trust Oatly as a brand and business. They're not trying to hide anything, and hot-topics like court cases and Sustainability Reports end up front and center on their social media platforms.

Another unique approach Oatly takes to their content strategy is that they prioritize story-telling. Of course, they want to sell their oat-milk. However, what matters most to them is helping consumers understand why the switch to non-dairy options makes a positive environmental impact.

In a 2018 marketing report, the company described itself as a "value-based brand", highlighting its commitment to sharing its environmental mission.

An Oatly ad that reads, "Hey food industry, show us your numbers". Oatly places its footprint on each product.

Oatly doesn't hesitate to launch attention-grabbing, provocative campaigns. They want their message to challenge the status quo and shake things up. Their campaigns have depth and purpose, not only to sell Oatly but also to sell the idea of plant-based milk and being a more conscious consumer or company.

In a time when millennial and Gen-Z consumers care more about the ethics and morals of businesses they're supporting, Oatly is paving the way for idea-based content.

From their campaigns to their well-written Instagram captions and Tweets, it's evident that the brand wants to emphasize why and how the non-dairy industry matters.

A recent tweet from Oatly.

Their content strategy prioritizes the values of their company and its guiding beliefs. Yes, it matters that their audience knows Oatly tastes good and has good nutritional value, but it matters more to them that consumers know why their product makes a positive difference in the world.

It's a new, innovative, and a quite wholesome way to approach marketing and social media content.

One other important factor to their brand strategy is the Oatly voice they've crafted to share their story.

How does the brand voice approach the issues of the dairy industry, or food waste, or society at large? What makes Oatly curious, happy, or excited? Oatly has definitely considered how it can creatively talk about the topics important to it.

It does so in a bold way. Oatly is honest and to-the-point in how it speaks about itself and the industry. The brand prioritizes making its messages interesting to read, so it doesn't stray away from challenging status-quo or putting things in blunt terms.

Oatly packaging as of 2016.

The Oatly voice is witty, wry, and inquisitive. Sometimes self-deprecating, and often in a way that makes fun of the nature of media.

This caption celebrates oat-milk and its role in a sustainable future. Even better, it utilizes user-generated content and gives a shoutout to a cool artist. It's impressive Instagram-ing on many levels.

Their content comes across well, people love it. Oatly's edgy, distinct voice sets it apart from not only other milk brands but from company run Instagrams in general. Check out these loving Instagram comments from Oatly followers.

Their clever, attention-grabbing, non-conformist social media attitude works. Followers enjoy their content and appreciate the distinct voice of Oatly. The social media strategists and consumers alike seem to be having fun with it, too, creating a strong community around the brand.

Oatly is truly a bold brand. For its provocative campaigns, value-based marketing, and distinct brand personality, Oatly has created a large consumer base and spread the word about dairy-alternatives.

It truly set itself apart from other non-dairy beverages, AND brands on social media in general. Oatly has taken an unprecedentedly personal, transparent, witty approach to brand content. It's paving the way for the plant-based milk to come.

The oat-milk movement is a movement worth joining. It's progressive and fresh, largely due to Oatly's various marketing and branding innovations. At the very least, it's worth keeping an eye on Oatly and how they're setting new standards for social media, brand missions, and creative content.

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