• April 5, 2024

Rebranding Case Study: From Niche to NuSkool

Rebranding Case Study: From Niche to NuSkool

Rebranding Case Study: From Niche to NuSkool 700 500 Michelle Breyer

Snack bar brand MCTCo found themselves in the “product attributes” trap — listing your benefits, rather than building a brand. They touted one specific ingredient at the heart of the keto diet breakout (MCT Oil) that set them apart. The brand built a loyal base of health-conscious workout warriors. But a narrow audience made it difficult to grow and scale beyond its niche.

That’s when founder Joe Christensen enlisted the help of SKU partner Ugly Wolf, an award-winning strategic brand design agency, to begin the transformation from MCTCo to NuSkool — opening a world of new possibilities and setting the stage for explosive growth.

Shifting the Narrative

Ugly Wolf’s founders – a SKU mentors – Katie Kravit and Julie Steinhagen, shared their top five tips with us to go beyond a list of product attributes, and build a long-lasting brand that engages, and resonates with, your audience:


Sure, ingredients make up the product. But what’s actually making your business tick? What are the values at the core of everything you do? The product is your “what.” But what’s your “why?” 

For MCTCo, the customer experience felt transactional: “You want to be healthy. We offer a healthy product.” Ugly Wolf knew there was so much more to the story, and through a series of exercises and conversations, they zeroed in on the values that were driving the brand. 

Ugly Wolf recommended a positioning that focused on everything you can do with a healthy, convenient snack, rather than the snack itself. With a product line focused on better-for-you versions of snacks enjoyed as a kid, Ugly Wolf infused the same energy, playfulness, and youthful joy that comes from an active lifestyle into the brand.

And so, NuSkool’s values took shape: Good. Clean. Fun.

With those three values as a North Star, the brand moved from simply saying WHAT they do to HOW — and WHY — they do it. That crucial shift built the foundation of a personality customers could identify with, relate to, and embrace.


Ugly Wolf quickly assessed that MCTCo’s branding and packaging were nothing like the people behind the product. Christensen and the rest of the team are high-energy athletes and adventure-seekers, whose zest for life and active mindset were nowhere to be found in MCTCo’s packaging. Their boundless passion for a healthy, active, positive lifestyle was the key ingredient missing from a brand that simply…well, listed ingredients.

Kravit and Steinhagen kicked off the visual transformation by injecting color, patterns, and illustrations that lined up with the Good. Clean. Fun. mantra. Product shots focused on the oozy, gooey, play-with-your-food deliciousness. A hand-drawn, imperfect script logo evoked the feeling of an afterschool baseball team. Immediately, the brand’s look not only became more representative of its people, but it stood out in a sea of same-same health bars on the CPG shelves.


MCT had built a loyal customer base among active, diet-conscious females looking for a low-sugar, keto-friendly, on-the-go snack. But the limited ingredient focus and transactional nature of the brand stunted the brand’s potential for growth. Instead, with Ugly Wolf’s help, the brand strived to be more aspirational, shifting the emphasis of its messaging to the benefits of the Good. Clean. Fun. lifestyle the snacks supported — while keeping the same product attributes at the heart of the recipe.

This new approach helped open the door to a whole new audience. Aligning the brand under a rallying cry of having fun while living a clean lifestyle opened the audience far beyond a fad diet. Anyone can aspire to live a healthy, positive, fun life, and by putting the NuSkool values front and center, the brand was able to expand its reach into untapped audiences.

While many keto and low-carb brands focus on health, discipline, and being the best, NuSkool staked its claim as a brand that stood for doing something — getting up, getting moving, having fun, being active — without worrying about being perfect, or “winning.”

All types of healthy, positive people embraced the new message, which also resonated with and further solidified its early loyalists.


NuSkool was now a brand that celebrated the journey just as much as the destination, and with the rebrand to NuSkool complete, it was time to take that journey on the road. Literally. 

In an effort to spread the word and scale the business, Christensen and his team traveled across the country in a NuSkool-branded Skool Bus, showcasing the brand’s bold new look, and interacting with its audience in real life. 

The NuSkool founders embraced the Good. Clean. Fun. attitude, finding an innovative way to safely sample its products during a time of social distancing and spread its healthy, positive lifestyle. Spontaneity, passion, and willingness to try exciting things aligned with the new look, feel, and mission, and the team dove in headfirst. This was an authentic commitment to the lifestyle the brand promotes. 

And the response was tremendous, with thousands of new customers (and new friends!) getting on board along the way.


If you build it, your people will come. Being clear on your values, expanding your positioning to a genuine, aspirational viewpoint a wider audience can rally behind, and committing to what the brand stands for at every touchpoint will inevitably attract your kind of people to your product. 

Since Ugly Wolf’s rebrand, NuSkool received investment from former NFL star and current broadcaster and media personality Tim Tebow, who’s signed on as a Chief Mission Officer. Tebow’s healthy, active lifestyle, and personal brand built around the power of positivity make him the perfect embodiment of NuSkool’s Good. Clean. Fun. values. 

NuSkool was accepted into the Mondelez International SnackFutures CoLab and their products have been distributed to retailers across the country, including Sprouts, Erewhon, Bristol Farms, and H-E-B.


“A rebrand — and a re-thinking of your values, mission, and place in the market landscape — can change the trajectory of your business,” says Ugly Wolf’s Kravit. “It can not only unlock how the world perceives your products and services, but help define your own perception, hone your message, and build a blueprint for focus and success.”