Interview - James Shepherd - The Other Brother
Just when you thought Arnott’s Biscuits were the cookie kingpin, along comes The Other Brother, a new force in the market. Imagine a biscuit that’s 20% cookie dough and 80% other decadent ingredients like jellies, nuts, choc chips, caramel and popcorn. We spoke with the company’s Marketing and Sales guy, James Shepherd and found our mouths watering at the descriptions.
FFW: Who is behind The Other Brother?
THE OTHER BROTHER: The Other Brother is a team of four, set on changing the way that you thinking about modern day cookies. We’ve got a superstar Head Baker, a duo of marketeers working on making sure you have the best brand experience possible, and a digital expert to help out with our online presence!
Some of us are Arnott’s employees, and some external who’ve bought into the brand and its goals. We work out of business hours, have devoted ourselves to bringing this new and exciting brand to life, doing the opposite of what our big brother and other FMCG companies do.
FFW: In a nutshell, what’s the story behind the brand?
THE OTHER BROTHER: The story behind the brand came when one of our marketers found another Arnott - David, the younger brother of William Arnott (who started the Arnott’s company). When researching his background, we found that he was also a baker and confectioner by trade, who came out to Australia with William. The main difference was that David was unconventional and zigged when everyone else zagged. He spent his time baking and selling his goods in the goldfields and travelling around wherever there were hungry souls.
FFW: What is the ‘treat rebellion’ and is it all true?!
THE OTHER BROTHER: The treat rebellion that we bring to you is 100% our mission and goal for the company. We’ve had businesses and consumers buying into the ideology for two years now. The whole idea is that when you ‘treat’ now, you want over-the-top deliciousness and tastes to blow your mind. Gone are the days of low taste or sugar treats; we’re all about making sure that when you decide to treat, you are completely satisfied as this is such an important moment. No one wants or deserves a poor or average treating moment; that’s why our brand promise is ‘expect more’.
FFW: When there is so much focus on clean, healthy eating these days, what place do decadent biscuits have in contemporary diets?
THE OTHER BROTHER: As I’m sure you’ve heard, the 80/20 concept is so prevalent in today’s society. 80% of the time we are great and strict and we make sure we’re eating properly and healthy, so that 20% of the time we can treat ourselves and live to enjoy ourselves. So when you’re done with the 80, we make sure that your 20 is as amazing and mind-blowing as it can possibly be. So I’d say to answer your question, the fact that there is such a focus on health and clean eating makes what we do so much more important. When you’ve been good, you’ll want to treat yourself, and you can’t be having mediocre treats, and that’s where we come in.
FFW: Why are there only four flavours?
THE OTHER BROTHER: Our core range consists of four brands rather than products. The reason I say this is because we have launched around 13/15 products, which we do based on holiday and seasonal events. We’ve had Christmas products with mint and candy canes, had an Australia Day lamington-style cookie with choc/coconut/raspberry jam and Valentine’s Day products with red velvet and ruby chocolate. When I say brands, the four favourite products of ours have been constantly endorsed by consumers, and as such, they are the foundation of our offerings, and then we also spice it up with seasonal and occasional products.
FFW: With so many over-the-top ingredients in your biscuits, shouldn’t they be considered confectionery?
THE OTHER BROTHER: Well actually, here’s a fun fact for you, our Rocky Road biscuit is around 30% dough and 70% chocolate, marshmallows, raspberries and more, when biscuits usually have the opposite ratios with 70-80% dough. For us, it’s less about the category that we sit in and more about the experience you get when tasting the product. Consumers want more of the good stuff, the chocolate, the toffee, and don’t forget the gooey caramel, so we are just creating the treating experience you won’t forget. Although, ‘The Other Brother’ David Arnott’s and our hearts sit in cookies, so that’s where we believe our products sit, although they work perfectly across categories to fulfil any treating desire.
FFW: Do you use local ingredients where possible?
THE OTHER BROTHER: With ties to Arnott’s and their suppliers, we use some locally sourced ingredients. Although, with our premium offering, quality is the determining factor on what ingredients we source. We utilise high-tier and premium ingredients from around the world – some within Australia and some external.
FFW: Are you planning any other varieties? And if so, what is the philosophy behind flavour creation for The Other Brother products?
THE OTHER BROTHER: We do monthly (approximately) new flavour rotations as discussed above, mainly based on holidays and big events. Also, it’s looking like we’ll be getting our own shop front soon, so there will be a multitude of trials and new flavours coming soon!
The main criteria behind our flavour creation is ‘expect more’, as we’ll never deliver a product that is average or normal to the cookie category, we are always looking to push the boundaries and help consumers find and love new flavours and ingredient pairings.
FFW: Where should your cookies be sold?
THE OTHER BROTHER: We are currently strong in the foodservice and café world, with our gourmet products perfect for business resale at a high price point. We supply museums, business meetings and a variety of other occasions. We stock a burger store and are looking at cinemas and other entertainment venues as well. Our cookies are perfect for gifting and any moment where impressing is key, like corporate catering and events catering. All in all, it’s not about where they should be sold, it’s about why they should be sold. Any occasion where indulgence, premium products, an impression to be made, a special thank you, or even that highly expected ‘treating’ moment is where our products should be.
FFW: What kind of foodservice businesses are serving your biscuits?
THE OTHER BROTHER: We sell through cafes, museums, restaurants, businesses for their catering and meetings, and a variety of other channels that go through our e-commerce platform currently. We are open to any and all channels and would love to hear your proposal on how we could partner to give your consumers the best possible treating moment.
FFW: What would you say is The Other Brother’s brand personality?
THE OTHER BROTHER: The Other Brother’s brand personality is passionate in everything that it aims for and achieves. We’d rather be over the top and too much, than fall short of expectations. With rebellion at the heart of the brand, we love to do things differently, which is why we’re open to any and all proposals from different businesses. We want to challenge all of those suppliers of less-than-amazing cookies to up their game, as we’re changing the world of cookies and taking it to the next level – the treat rebellion as such.
FFW: Have you received any particularly gratifying feedback from consumers?
THE OTHER BROTHER: For the last two years, we’ve been at markets and pop-ups around Sydney, from Broadway shopping centre to The Grounds of Alexandria. We’ve been collecting feedback and tinkering with our offerings to provide the best possible range for taste for consumers. We’ve hit more than 10 different locations around Sydney on a constant basis to find out exactly what consumers want and what they love/want us to change about our products. The most gratifying piece of feedback is that we have a ridiculously high repeat rate, meaning, when people try our cookies once they are hooked and keep coming back. This for us is enough to know that we’re knocking on the right doors.
FFW: If you could choose anyone in the world, who do you think would make an excellent brand ambassador for The Other Brother and why?
THE OTHER BROTHER: Well funny you ask; recently with did a campaign embodying ‘The Ultimate Other Brother’ Prince Harry, whilst he was in Australia. We created a product (the Royal Ginger), a gingerbread cookie with toffee shards, pecans, white chocolate and a chewy caramel centre. And we topped it off with a white chocolate crown. We had a prince harry lookalike driving around Sydney in a London style cab delivering these cookies to the public in the inner west (our home). So to sum it up, he’s the rebellious, edgy and fun-loving character that we connect with as a brand.