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Brandspiration: Pot Gang

Anna Richardson-Taylor

Senior Editorial Consultant

I’m part of a very special gang. When it gets in touch, I smile. When it speaks, I listen. When I speak, it responds – it inspires me, and it brings joy to my everyday. It also looks really good – I like to be seen in its company.

At Red Setter, we talk a lot about what makes a successful brand, and what impact brand experience design can have on businesses and individuals. We all know about the big brand success stories of recent years (our clients are responsible for many of them after all 😆), but when it comes to a brand that has stood out to me on a personal level, it’s the little gang that has made its mark.

Born in lockdown to help other people get into ‘growing-their-own’, Pot Gang has turned into an award-winning D2C subscription service that is steadily converting new fans across the UK. Most interestingly to me, from the start it had a brand confidence and voice that belied its relatively humble size and operations (if you compare it to the calibre of brands we usually deal with).

Whether by instinct or design, Pot Gang managed to tick all the right boxes of what makes an engaging brand.

What is it our clients always tell us? A good brand is driven by a core belief; and then plays it out through everything it does. It has its finger on the pulse of culture and turns up in an authentic way. That’s the nutshell of a much more nuanced definition of course.

But it’s what Pot Gang does so well. Its vision is simple and compelling: making fruit and veg growing more accessible for a new generation of gardener.

Then, it plays out that vision in lovely ways.

Through its tone of voice, for example: a category-busting, laid-back tone with a dollop of London slang (with a knowing nod to its ‘pot’ double entendre) that makes the brand approachable and distinct. That voice runs in an easy-going patter across website, email comms and the printed info and instruction leaflets that accompany users on their growing journey. It’s so effective, you feel you’ve got the founders Sam and Bryony in your inbox – they probably still are in there, or maybe they’re just really good at guidelines.

The visuals are driven by fellow Pot Ganger Theo’s glorious illustrations of the main stars of the show, the fruit and veg.

Talk about ‘the effectiveness of brand characters’ – Pot Gang has a whole troupe of them. From Bruno basil to Crystal the cape gooseberry and Danielle dill, they all scream personality, and are the brand’s most charming assets. Such a shame this is D2C, as I would love to see Bruno and co waving out at me at my local garden centre. (And the genius Insta post ‘How I think vegetables would write!’ is a joy to all us lettering geeks.)

Underpinning this all is a product that works. I could of course just source seeds for cheaper (or nothing at all) and get on with it. But the instructions (again, with the lovely ToV, and anthropomorphic commentary explaining each of our super stars’ growth stage), and the support that the Gang is always happy to share via social media and directly via WhatsApp, make it worth buying Pot Gang instead.

And what I am buying is not just seeds, instructions and support – I am buying into the whole Pot Gang ethos, that everyone should be able to grow. It emerged from the challenges of lock-down living, but now speaks to a wider – and enduring – cultural and societal shift towards more natural and nurturing pastimes and food.

The Pot Gang is really walking the walk, too. It recently supplied boxes for more than 9,000 kids on free school meals over the Easter Holidays and to migrant centres in Kent. Its boxes support wellbeing activities in care homes and educational enrichment in schools.

This brand has the conviction to make a change as well as the cultural clout to show up alongside some big hitters – just look at its collab with Six? In London’s Carnaby Street as part of Nike’s Give Fresh Air initiative.

To all brands out there – emerging and heritage alike – take a bit of inspiration from the little gang I am proud to be a member of.

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