Boneeto Indonesia: Understanding cultural context

February 23, 2016 | Kyle Fraser

Launched in 2002 as a brand of milk for children in Indonesia, Boneeto’s brand story focused on offering children the opportunity to grow taller. Unfortunately, the story’s focus on growing taller ended up clashing with Indonesian cultural norms of not standing out from the group and clamoring for attention. By framing their product as a solution to a problem, Boneeto managed to reach mothers who worried about their children’s height but the kids themselves did not see a problem at all. On the contrary: outgrowing your peers makes you feel left out.


The approach was to go back to the people who use the brand, and understand them as children’s, not as consumers – with their desires and tensions. Then look into the history of the brand, to understand what in this history could be leveraged to nurture a desire for the children’s of today.


For Boneeto, the key lesson was that their brand message of ‘growing taller’ was just too limited to connect with Indonesian kids. Instead, we saw a challenge that Indonesian kids could meaningfully engage with: “How do I become as great as I can be, in my own way, and still fit in with the group of people I want to belong to?”. In other words, the challenge faced by Indonesian children was to achieve their full potential in a world where parental and social norms often steer them towards a safer, toned-down version of themselves.


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