The founder of GEM asked Combo to ensure that this truly innovative product had an equally innovative brand and consumer experience. Unlike traditional supplements, GEM combines a wide variety of ingredients to create a new kind of vitamin. This kaleidoscopic approach to health and wellness drove the strategy and design to build a “resource brand” for millennials inspired by Wikipedia and National Geographic.

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Photography produced by GEM

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Building a Resource Brand

Understanding a New Kind of Vitamin

GEM was an emerging American brand in the relatively unregulated and steadily crowding category of wellness ©. Led by millennial women, the brand was focused on the same audience demographic at launch. When GEM hired Combo, the brand was not living up to the full potential of its actual product—a nutrient-dense health supplement compressed from real food—which stood in contrast to the category norm of extracted powders in pill form. The strategy team helped the company rearticulate its brand values and lean into an aligned strategy based on the way its product was created: a blend of ancient and modern techniques that hinged on an open-minded and holistic approach.

© The health and wellness market size is expected to grow by $1,299.84 billion with a CAGR of 6.37% during 2020-2024. In addition, the natural and organic industry hit $440 million in 2022.

Unlocking the Key Consumer Insight

Combo strategists determined that because wellness is essentially an alternative approach to addressing health, the category is built on curiosity and finding those alternative options. Further, because vitamins in particular are highly unregulated, the average consumer for these products engages in heavy research. Following this key consumer insight, there was an opportunity for the brand to connect meaningfully with potential customers by offering not only detailed information about GEM’s highly innovative product but also sharing broader knowledge around overall nutrition and health-supporting vitamins. The brand strategy was to make itself an information-dense resource.

There is still so much we are learning about our health and our bodies. You need to be open and curious but to really listen to your body and doing what you know is right for you.
Sara, CEO of GEM

Designing a Resource Brand

To meet the demands of a consumer base characterized by a large appetite for knowledge, Combo designers conceptualized various options for a website design that didn’t shy away from depth and density, but at the same time communicated holistic health in a contemporary, useful and visually appealing way. Identifying primary reference points like Wikipedia and National Geographic, the design team blended old and new information and photography, and built in modules for learning. In addition to this website-as-information hub, Combo completed the packaging and commerce platform and helped bring the product to market.

A Blueprint for Expansion

As the company grows, Combo’s design work remains available as a functional blueprint. Designers organized a style guide for aligning future asset creation with the information-heavy brand approach, enabling the client to continue building out the GEM world even after Combo’s direct involvement came to a close.

The whole foods, sustainable sourcing, eco-friendly packaging—GEM has become my go-to.
Business Insider

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