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Welcome to the third installment of our 4-part founder’s bootcamp miniseries. If you haven’t yet, go check part 1 with lawyer Nick Giannuzzi and part 2 with investor Andy Whitman.

Again, the idea with this series is to feature a different subject matter expert each episode to supplement your business knowledge and help you get your brand to that next level, faster.

This week we have a conversation with Lisa Kane from Siegel+Gale.

Siegel+Gale is a global brand strategy, design and experience firm. They’re all about unlocking the power of simplicity to help organizations realize their full potential. Lisa is the firm’s Group Director of Strategy, and her specialty is Employee Engagement - which is why we had to have her on this series.

Perhaps it's not surprising that Lisa has a refreshingly simple perspective on Employee Engagement, which tends to be a convoluted topic for a lot of founders. She explains how engagement connects back to your overarching brand story and mission.

Lisa also shares her top 3 tactics for creating an engaged team. If there’s one thing we learned from this show, culture and engagement matters, no matter how big your team or what growth stage your company is in. Lisa gives us her best practical tips for ensuring that your brand has the right culture to support your goals.

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

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Ghee is officially having a moment.

For those not yet in the know, Ghee is a filtered butter reduction, and a staple ingredient in traditional Indian cooking. It has a higher smoke point - which makes it great for cooking - is full of healthy fats like CLA, and boasts a nutty, delicious flavor that people just love.

When it comes to bringing Ghee to the mainstream, you’d be hard pressed to find a more influential brand and founder than Fourth & Heart’s Raquel Tavares.

Raquel founded 4th & Heart in 2014 with $80,000 of her own savings. Today they are the category leader and are innovating with new SKUs like flavored Ghee oil and chocolate spreads.

We talked to Raquel about her first introduction to Ghee and her role in driving the growth of the category. Plus we dive into the Fourth & Heart brand and culture, and ultimately why running a business requires her to listen to both her head and her heart.

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

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This is the second installment of our 4-part founder’s bootcamp miniseries. If you haven’t yet, go check the first episode featuring CPG super lawyer Nick Giannuzzi.

Our goal with this series is to feature a different subject matter expert in each episode to supplement your knowledge and help you get to that next level, faster.

This week we have investor Andy Whitman, a Managing Partner at 2X Partners.

In many ways, Andy and the 2X team paved the way for so much of what we see today in CPG. Virtually no one was investing in emerging natural food brands when 2X launched about 15 years ago. Today, that’s obviously a much different story.

Andy got his start growing small to mid-sized brands at Kraft. He was the guy tasked with turning around smaller brands in the portfolio that weren’t quite turning a profit. And it turns out he had a knack for it.

As you’ll hear, Andy sees financials for more than 700 brands a year, yet typically only invest in two. He breaks down exactly what he’s looking for when chooses which brands to put his money on.

Andy also explains what makes the 2X model unique, the difference between trends and fads (and how to spot them), and the ideal amount of money your brand should raise.

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

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This week on Brand Builder, you’re going to hear us roar.

Well... ok, you’re going to hear from ROAR Organic CEO & President Roly Nesi. And he's got a lot to say.

ROAR is an organic electrolyte infusion drink that is making a huge splash. ROAR started as a side project, but early velocity made its founders realize that they had a hit on their hands. Less than a year and a half since launching, the brand can be found in more than 6,000 retail doors, including COSTCO, Target, Kroger, and Whole Foods.

The words “electrolyte" and "beverage” usually bring to mind one, maybe two isotonic beverage brands - the ones that have dominated the category for decades.

But ROAR’s success suggests that it might be time for a changing of the guard. ROAR offers something different - a bold, healthy, alternative to the sugary, artificial, traditional isotonic beverages available today.

They’re targeting a totally different consumer. If their brand were an item of sportswear, Roly says they’re more like a pair of Lululemon yoga pants than a varsity jacket.

So how do you unseat the dominant players in the category? By carving out a new one. Roly breaks down their decision NOT to take on the category leaders on their home turf, but to change the game altogether. We talked to Roly about the biggest challenges facing ROAR, and the ambitious vision that motivates them.

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

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This week we have story that proves that a brand is so much more than a name or a logo. It’s about the way you show up, and the way you do business. We’re talking to LesserEvil, out of Danbury, CT.

LesserEvil take a holistic approach to their brand, and it shows up in their superior product. They make organic popcorn and paleo puffs, made with the highest quality ingredients like raw extra virgin organic oils and grass fed organic ghee.

But the brand you see today was very different from when it started. LesserEvil is a bit of unique case, but their story has far reaching implications for just about any brand out there.

They were founded in 2005 with a “better for you alternative” proposition. But it wasn’t until the brand changed hands and the new leadership radically rethought this core proposition that LesserEvil really found their footing and took off with consumers.

And here’s something you don’t always see from an emerging brand. LesserEvil is vertically integrated. They made the bold choice in 2012 to stop working with co-packers and open their own factory. It was a potentially risky move, but as you’ll hear in this interview, it gives LesserEvil some unique capabilities.

One of the big challenge for LesserEvil is that some of the most interesting things they do … are essentially invisible. There is a fascinating obsession with doing things the right way - in terms of processing and sourcing - that isn’t always apparent on the surface.

We spoke to LesserEvil CEO and President Charles Coristine about the evolution of LesserEvil, and why setting aside some of the brand’s legacy baggage was the key to create a brand and product line that resonated with consumers in a much bigger way.

Links

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

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This week we’ve got Adam Deremo, founder & Managing Partner of AWAKE Chocolate.

Launched in 2012, AWAKE make great-tasting caffeinated chocolates. They’re all about providing consumers with a quick, easy - and delicious - energy boost to help them get the most out of their day. One of their bars has the same caffeine as a cup of coffee.

One of the unique things about AWAKE is that Adam and his cofounders have a history in big, traditional CPG. He talks about how this experience has given them a competitive advantage as they’ve built their brand.

Awake also has a unique channel strategy. They’ve made a point to really hone in on point of consumption and work their way outwards. In fact it's how they landed on two of their most successful channels.

Another big theme with AWAKE - testing and learning… Adam and the team do a great job taking customer feedback and iterating, to keep pace with their consumers, something that every brand out there can apply to their business.

We spoke to Adam about all this, plus the origin of  Nevil, the brand’s official spokes-owl.

Links

  • AWAKE
  • Connect with Adam on LinkedIn

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

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Brand Builder was the exclusive podcast on the floor at this year’s WORLDZ Summit - a global event that unites tomorrow’s leaders with CEOs, CMOs & cultural icons to create the world of tomorrow. And this…  is the Brand Builder WORLDZ Mashup episode.

WORLDZ is all about big ideas. They take the planet’s biggest problems, and explore how brands and brand storytelling can create a platform where people can solve them.

But as great as their programming is (and it is great), what so many people love about WORLDZ is the one-on-one interactions with other attendees. The caliber of attendee is very high at WORLDZ, and it’s those interpersonal connections that can spark new ideas, new ventures, and major change.

That’s what I had the pleasure to do - I was on the floor for two days straight… just talking to people. Learning their stories and asking them some big questions.

One of the things I was most interested in learning: Why is brand the right platform for tackling these problems? How do you approach it? Here's what we found out.

Links

WORLDZ Recap Video

Peter Rahal

Stan Graham

Dana Mangaliman

Jason Primrose

Ryan Williams

CJ Johnson

The Sleep Doctor, Michael Breus, PhD

Jordan 'Jet' Temkin

KIND Heaven

Summer Rona

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

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