6 Key Lessons to Learn From 300-Year-Old French Mustard Brand Moutarde de Maille

Could you find business inspiration by studying the marketing of a 300-year-old French mustard brand?

When it comes to both celebrating a brand's heritage and brilliantly contemporizing it, Unilever has done a masterful job with Moutarde Maille French mustard that dates back to 1747. It is a best practice example of taking a wonderful, rich brand heritage, infusing it with life to keep it relevant, and at the same time maintaining the core brand character that has been beloved for nearly 300 years.

Here are six areas Unilever has nailed with tactics that are strategically growing their business:

1. Always tell your brand's story.

Moutarde Maille dates back to 1747 in Dijon, France when Antoine Maille, master mustard & vinegar maker, created the artisanal brand. To celebrate the founder, the shops display his portrait on the wall, along with his story. Maille was appointed by Louis XV as the royal supplier, and was later similarly appointed by other countries' royalty.

2. Include memorable elements on packaging.

Aside from its classic glass bottle shape and elegant, old-world French font, Maille's mustards are also sold in beautiful sandstone jars, which are refillable when you have eaten it all ... beautiful and sustainable at the same time! Attractive, themed gift packaging has been developed, such as a "bistro" collection assortment in a red-and-white checked box, that comes with summer recipes. The fun and beautiful package encourages gift giving to potential new users and also trade-up, as there are three bottles in each box.

3. Encourage sampling, inspire the gourmets!

Maille has developed 41 different varieties that encourage customers to keep trying and experimenting with the different flavors displayed at their two stores in Paris as well as the one London Piccadilly and the one in New York City. More stores are in the works. At their stores, the products are beautifully displayed to communicate the wide array of options, making the range a inspiring to explore. Products can be sampled in the stores, including seasonal flavors like truffle and Sauternes.

4. Embrace creative uses of technology.

Maille created a very unique, high-tech spoon for their retail shops that visitors will soon be given to sample their flavors in-store. It miraculously detects which flavors customers have tried and emails them the descriptions, in case they decide to purchase at a later date.

5. Pay attention to details.

Aside from the portrait of Antoine Maille in the shops and the story written on the wall with the distinguished history of the product line, sophisticated gold lettering on black is woven throughout many touchpoints. The lettering is featured on an old-fashioned pump that dispenses four different mustards into refillable, sandstone crocks, on the delightful, retro aprons employees wear, and the black gift cards with gold ink purchasers can write out in the stores, as well as in signage throughout the shop. The black-and-gold motif continues on Maille's website as well.

And when you go out of the boutique with your choice of mustards, you carry a luxury shopping bag, absolutely in line with the luxury fashion boutiques all around Madeleine or Carrousel.

6. Create "Instagramable" experiences.

Who could have imagined shopping in a condiment store could be so much fun and so inspiring? From the samples, to the story and portrait, to the helpful and elegantly dressed employees, to recipe ideas, to the activity of watching your crock filled to order, the experience is high quality, retro and tasteful all the way. It's "instagramable", buzz-worthy, and delicious.

The Bottom Line

Whether your company is a startup or has been around for years, there are some valuable lessons to be learned by studying the wonderful Moutarde de Maille heritage brand.