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Noland Explores – A Strong Brand Identity Changing the Kombucha Landscape

Source: Rowdy Mermaid

A Strong Brand Identity Changing the Kombucha Landscape

“Strong label design and brand identity. A chat with Rowdy Mermaid kombucha’s brand team on how they are leading the way”


We chatted to Sheila and Lynnea from Rowdy Mermaid kombucha’s brand , about the process of launching a new product category to market, the challenges and the key learnings of their journey.

Can you tell us how you got into Kombucha?

In 2012, founder Jamba Dunn was home brewing beer when his three-year-old daughter challenged him to make a drink from the herbs and flowers that grew in their Colorado garden. After two years working with industry scientists, Dunn successfully brought together herbal medicine and fermentation science to make the first caffeine-free, low sugar, low alcohol, low acidity kombucha. Each flavour was designed around the function of the botanicals rather than focusing on gut health alone. This new way of brewing creates a milder, more refreshing beverage with broad consumer appeal.

As for the Rowdy Mermaid name? Dunn’s daughter was the inspiration there too. During a visit to a local hot springs, he kindly said to his rambunctious, water splashing daughter:

“You’re being a very rowdy mermaid!”

Is Kombucha the new water?

Kombucha is an excellent alternative to soda (that has too much sugar) or sparkling water (too plain and boring with no added health benefits).  It’s the perfect beverage to sip and savor anytime of the day, is chock full of probiotics (naturally derived from the fermented tea) and crafted with sustainably-sourced botanicals, herbs, fruits and mushrooms that are good for you and the environment.

Source: Rowdy Mermaid

What needs have you fulfilled in launching your brand, both within your own world and your community?

We have a philosophy called Healthy Systems that guides everything we do. It’s a holistic approach that begins with the recognition that everything is connected and works in coordination.  Our commitment to Healthy Systems means we must support the plants, processes, people and communities all along our supply chain. All must be vetted for sustainable, ethical and inclusive qualities.  Our five areas of focus are: Sustainability, Diversity & Inclusion, Pride & Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment, Community.

What were your biggest challenges in building this new brand?

While Rowdy Mermaid began as a kombucha company ten years ago, we have evolved into a Functional Wellness Beverage company with two distinct product lines:

  1. Refreshing and light Kombucha (without the vinegary bite!) and
  2. Sparkling Tonic with Adaptogens crafted with Reishi mushrooms for Immunity and Lion’s Mane for Clarity without the mushroom taste.  The functional beverage category is highly fragmented and constantly evolving with new types of beverages creating a tough battleground for capturing consumer attention, shelf space and market share.

Building brand recognition, educating consumers on key benefits and creating deeper brand value is hard fought (and expensive!), especially with highly promiscuous consumers who are easily enticed by the next new hot beverage trend on the market.

Source: Rowdy Mermaid

How is your brand positioned in the market, and how have you achieved this?

We are a functional beverage company on a mission to bring the world delicious, sustainably-sourced plant medicine.  We seek to find novel ways to raise the bar on taste and wellness through science and unique sensory experiences.  We believe in staying deeply curious to uncover new ways to address modern health needs through ingredients that blend the ancient wisdom of the past with flavour combinations that surprise and delight to make wellness a delicious adventure.

We have a brand mantra we call “Take The Deeper Dive”.  Here is our manifesto that brings this mantra to life:

Source: Rowdy Mermaid
Source: Rowdy Mermaid

Could you tell us about your journey in defining the mission of your brand?

A lot of the inspiration for the brand and its visual identity stems from nordic design principles and cultural philosophies. Three of the main tenants that formed the foundation for Rowdy’s mission and brand identity are: Lagom, Minimalism, and Environmentalism. “Lagom” roughly translates from Swedish to “not too much, not too little”, or “just the right amount”. Creating a brand that is memorable, scalable, and timeless requires a disciplined balance between practicing restraint/staying true to yourself and being experimental/trying new things. At Rowdy Mermaid, the core of who we are never falters – our mission to bring plant medicine to the world is evident in everything we do – but the way we achieve that and the products we create are always innovative and adapting to the needs of our consumers and planet. From this, we also adopted a Minimalist approach to how we display our products. Our branding is minimal yet impactful, using bright and bold iconography against a clean white can to stand out on shelf and attract new eyeballs. We hear time and time again that new consumers were initially drawn to the design of our cans, and fell in love with the product subsequently. Finally, environmentalism is at the heart of everything we do – including how we approach design. In a world where artificiality runs rampant, we want to be the breath of fresh air for consumers (through transparency, an emphasis on science, and a commitment to sustainable sourcing of ingredients), similar to how refreshing and inspiring a return to nature can be for anybody.

Source: Rowdy Mermaid

What do you do to keep up the creativity in your communication? What do you think are the key success factors of launching a new product category? Any advice?

Perseverance, grit and creating a product that connects with the hearts and minds of consumers in a refreshingly novel way that builds devotion and creates enduring brand value.

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