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There are things you’re doing right now that are hurting your business.

It’s ok. You’re not the only one. It can be hard to keep up in the constantly shifting landscape of social media platforms, direct to consumer retail channels, marketing best practices, and latest and greatest growth hacks.

Luckily, we've got a marketing expert to help you identify and avoid these mistakes. Joining us is Erik Huberman, the founder and CEO of Hawke Media.

Erik knows his stuff. Hawke is a full service marketing consultancy who has done work for literally thousands of brands, including household names like Red Bull, inCase, Proactiv, Verizon, and tons more. Plus Erik has been named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 list, Inc. Magazine’s top 25 Marketing Influencers, and he’s a frequent keynote speaker and contributing writer.

Erik starts with the fundamentals, then gets really granular and nuanced when it comes to tactics.

Pay special attention to the “three pillars of marketing” that Erik describes. If you come away with anything from this episode, that should be it. But of course there's a lot more to it than that:

Takeaways

  • What to do when your customer isn’t who you think it is. When brands discover this… most make this one big mistake. Erik tells us what that is.
  • Do things that aren’t measurable. Yes, of course do the things with clear ROI, but not all value is immediately measurable.
  • Why direct response marketing is less important than it used to be, and what to focus on instead.

Links

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.

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What if you could take 15 years of CPG experience, distill it down in a 30 minute podcast interview - would you be interested?

If you said yes, you're in luck, because that's precisely what's on deck on this week's Brand Builder.

We interview Dustin Finkel, the CEO at the Ancient inGRAINed Snack Co., makers of Ka-Pop! snacks.

Dustin is a 15+ year veteran of the CPG business. He’s got an MBA from Northwestern, and he’s an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

But With Ka-Pop - it’s the first time he’s started his own brand, and he was surprised by how much he still had to learn. He told us that if he's struggling with these things, he know there are other entrepreneurs who need help with this stuff too. He’s all about paying it forward and giving back.

Ka-pop is a popped chip made from ancient grains. It’s made with clean ingredients, it tastes great, contains omega 3s, and has a great brand to support it.

Takeaways

  • The most common deficiency Dustin sees with early stage entrepreneurs, and how they can get better.
  • How to scale a tribe-based marketing strategy.
  • How to raise a pre-revenue seed round. Sometimes it’s the last thing holding you back - a proper seed round to get you off the ground.

Links

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.

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This week's episode is all about hard choices.

We're talking to Bob McClure, one of the founders of McClure’s pickles, an artisan pickle brand based out of the twin capitals of cool, Brooklyn and Detroit. It's  a true family business - Bob launched the brand in 2006 with his brother Joe using their great grandmother Lala’s recipe.

For many, their first introduction to the McClure’s brand was their great tasting pickle-flavored potato chips. And I was super surprised when they discontinued them.

Pivoting away from a popular product in order to focus on doing one thing really well is never  an easy decision. But Bob explains that diversifying their offering in that way wasn’t quite the right move - even though they had a fantastic product that a lot of people loved. He tells us  how they knew it was time to make the hard choice to shut it down.

Bob also provides fantastic practical advice about how to approach your relationship with buyers, and cutting through the noise in a digital world.

Links

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.

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When you look at the numbers, the meal replacement category represents a gigantic opportunity. We're talking about a $4 billion market in the U.S., and $12 billion globally. What's more, the category lacks product leadership. It's as if the market is just waiting for an upstart brand to seize the mantle - and the marketshare.   This week's Brand Builder guest is on a mission to be that brand. We're talking to Nathan Gordon, the CEO and C0-Founder of SANS Mealbar, and his goal is to make SANS the undisputed product leader of this huge category.

Right now, SANS’ primary challenge is awareness. We talk a lot about how they’re overcoming it and how that informs their overall strategy. Plus, we learn about the personal connection that inspired SANS ambitious social mission.

Top Takeaways:

  • Becoming a product leader. What this means and what SANS is doing to achieve it.
  • Power of trial and sampling. When you believe in your product, there’s nothing better to invest in than putting your product in front of potential customers.
  • Differentiating in a saturated D2C landscape. Nathan lays out strategies for standing out in a sea of D2C noise.

Links

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.

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Wine RayZyn Company founder Andrew Cates lost his home, vineyard, and all his possessions during the 2017 Napa fires. Here's how he's turned tragedy into triumph. 

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We just wrapped four epic days at the Natural Products EXPO West, the center of the CPG universe. We came, we saw, we sampled.

EXPO is a big deal. According to New Hope Network, who puts on the show every year, there were more than 3,500 exhibitors and 85,000 attendees at last year’s EXPO. And I heard estimates that there were more than 90,0000 this year.

Rather than get bogged down by everything going on, we narrowed our focus to one topic: data.

Our mission was to find out how brands are leveraging data to come out with the next new hot brand. 

With that, we hit the floor.

Brands in this episode: 

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Customer Obsession is a hot topic right now. Inspired by the success of Amazon and other customer-centric organizations, brands of all shapes and sizes are realizing that putting the customer's needs first is a recipe of success.

At a surface level, being obsessed with your customer creates exceptional experiences and generates goodwill for your brand.

But when it's really working as it should, being customer-obsessed actually drives innovation, and expands your organization's capabilities.

But how does this dynamic work in practice? And what does it take to practice Customer Obsession at your company?

At SnackNation, our theme for 2019 is Customer Obsession, so we sat down with SnackNation CEO Sean Kelly to find out exactly what this idea is all about.

Here's what you'll learn in this episode:

  • What it means to be Customer Obsessed - Sean provides a simple working definition of the concept, and more importantly, points out what it is NOT.
  • How Customer Obsession shows up in your business and culture - Customer Obsession isn’t the same for every business. Sean provides a framework for working out what Customer Obsession means for yours.
  • Practical Tips for Staying Connected to Your Customers - Sean breaks down how the best leaders listen deeply to their customers on a continual basis.

Links

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.

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How do you go from side-hustle to CEO? This week's Brand Builder guest Kelly LeVeque can tell you - because she's done exactly that.

Kelly is a health coach and holistic nutritionist to the stars, advising celebrity clients like Jessica Alba and Jennifer Garner, and the owner & CEO of Be Well by Kelly, a full-service nutrition, wellness and lifestyle company.

But before she was running the show at BWBK, she spent years in the oncology field, working on cancer treatments. She had a stable career, but deep down she knew she could make a greater impact by focusing on prevention rather than treatment. She tells us what inspired her to change careers, plus the specific tactics she used to build her brand and set herself up for success.

As inspiring as her story is, what listeners might find even more valuable is her perspective as an influencer. Kelly has built an impressive personal brand and a massive reach, and she breaks down exactly how she built that influence and how she evaluates the brand opportunities that come her way.

In other words, if you want to work with celebrity influencers, she’s going to tell you how.

Kelly is super smart, with an amazing story and great energy… and that makes for a fantastic episode.

Links

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.

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Stop me if this sounds familiar:

You’re a brand new employee at a company that values teamwork and collaboration. Eager to prove yourself, you come out of the gate swinging. You do good work early on, and garner a reputation as a high contributor and team player.

This reputation results in more people from across the org asking for your assistance on all sorts of projects. You, of course, say yes (you are a team player, after all).

Before long, you feel yourself spread thin. You make a millimeter of progress on a thousand different fronts, but no significant progress on any. Your “priority” list is thirty items long. In an ironic twist, your early success has now undermined your ability to contribute at a high level.

The quality of your work goes down, while your stress level skyrockets.

It’s a surefire recipe for burnout.

Luckily for us, today’s Brand Builder guest has developed a solution - Essentialism.

Greg McKeown is a renowned speaker and author. His New York Times best selling book, Essentialism, is all about helping readers discover the disciplined pursuit of less - that is, helping them find their unique abilities and highest leverage activities, and realigning their lives to focus on making the highest contribution possible.

The concept of essentialism was inspired in part by McKeown’s experience working in Silicon Valley. What McKeown found was that the early success of these startups was actually a double-edged sword. It presented them with an overwhelming amount of opportunity - in the form of partnerships, new markets, acquisitions, and the like - which ultimately detracted from their ability to focus on the essential activities that made them successful in the first place. 

In this way, success can actually become a catalyst for failure.

The experience lit a bulb in McKeown’s head, and the framework of essentialism - the disciplined pursuit of less but better - began to take shape.

This was an incredible interview, packed with tons of practical tips and engaging stories that will start you down the path of Essentialism.

Key Takeaways

  • Greg breaks down the meaning of “Essentialism,” and shares how he arrived at the concept.  
  • Greg explains how the experience of working with Silicon Valley companies played a role in developing the Essentialist framework, and how success can often become a catalyst for failure.
  • Greg relays the story of an employee who, after being pushed to the brink with nonessential activities, decided to “retire in role” in order to return to his essential activities and highest level of contribution.
  • Greg explains why essentialism sometimes requires us to say no, and relays the story of Paul Rand, the “man who said no to Steve Jobs.”
  • Greg shares a tactical tip for shortening your to-do list.
  • Greg talks about the phenomenon of decision fatigue, and how to combat it.
  • Greg points out why it’s so important to create space in your life to determine your truly essential activities.
  • Greg shares how to create a one-page “life design” that will keep you on track.
  • Greg explains why people are too focused on one half of innovation, and that true innovation involves simplifying and reducing.

Recommended Reading

Links

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.

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The first thing you notice about Watermelon Road is that it's a beautiful product.

From the pastel packaging to the vibrant strips of fruit jerky itself, Watermelon Road almost looks tailor-made for Instagram.

Turns out it's no accident - and a big reason why the product has resonated with consumers.

This week on Brand Builder we have Jamie Melzer, the brand's founder and CEO.

Watermelon Road make clean and delicious dried fruit jerky, with mouth-watering flavors like Watermelon Lemonade, Mango Margarita, and Pineapple Mojito.

Jamie is a big believer in “food as medicine” - the idea that changing what we eat and how we think about food can lead to healthier lives. She put this to the test when her husband was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and it was this experience that inspired her to launch Watermelon Road.

A little over a year in, Watermelon Road are accelerating into their next big growth stage.

To date, the brand has grown almost entirely organically, largely by word of mouth and press. Jamie talks about how her early investment in a strong visual and brand identity from the get go has been the key to garnering this buzz.

We loved what Jamie had to say about the future of CPG, particularly in the way new brands reach consumers. She also tells us how she's been able to fill the knowledge gap that all first time entrepreneurs have, and

Links

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.

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