Baking Explosion Coincides With King Arthur’s Rebrand

King Arthur Baking Company's Bill Tine on adapting to sudden fame, and how the brand is fostering new bakers

King Arthur's vp of marketing, Bill Tine, joined Adweek's Paul Hiebert for a chat about one of the pandemic's biggest trends. Adweek
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When George Washington was president, he may well have enjoyed a scone baked with King Arthur Flour. A couple hundred years later, and after a decade of discussions, the company finally decided to move forward with a rebrand—dropping “flour” from its name.

Most rebranding efforts hope to inspire renewed interest and relevance. That wasn’t King Arthur’s problem. In fact, the rebrand coincided with its best year ever. Baking, you may have heard, is having a moment, so much so that in March, the newly named King Arthur Baking Company’s sales leapt 2,000% year over year.

“The pandemic has led to a significant increase in baking, and we’ve got to be there to meet that challenge,” said Bill Tine, King Arthur’s vp of marketing, who joined CPG reporter Paul Hiebert at Adweek’s eCommerce, CPG and Retail Performance Marketing Live Virtual Summit to talk about the rebrand and how King Arthur is promoting not just itself, but the entire baking category.

Ahead of the market, King Arthur has operated a direct-to-consumer business since the early ’90s, supplying hobbyists and professionals alike with pounds of flour and yeast. 

“We see it as an opportunity to offer an entire baking aisle as a retailer. We’re not competing with our grocery partners because 5-pound all-purpose flour isn’t a big seller on our site,” Tine said. Instead, more niche products like espresso powder and keto-friendly wheat flour, even coconut flour have introduced bakers to new opportunities in the oven.

Now, the brand is leaning more heavily on digital content such as recipes and tutorials to keep bakers engaged during the health crisis. It’s also reached out to school districts and educators to incorporate baking lessons into educational programs and curriculums. 

“We invested more in content and content marketing thinking that if we can help people bake, and [boost] the category of baking,” said Tine, “that’ll come back to benefit us.”

@RyanBarwick Ryan is a brand reporter covering travel, mobility and sports marketing.