Archive for the ‘Connecting with Consumers’ Category

The Importance of Branding

August 30, 2019

Coca-Cola is a brand machine. They are one of the rare companies that understands not only the importance of brands. Their whole culture is centered around developing, positioning and nurturing their brands. They don’t make mistakes, but they know that in the end brands are the only value they create.
We see a lot of new companies today and almost all of their founders say they know that branding is important, but very few understand what that means.
Great brands have a special bond with their consumers and very few early stage entrepreneurs know how to create it. Some of this is understandable. To get a new company off of the ground requires a lot of key skills – financing, formulation, production, logistics, retail and distribution effort. But, that magic of connecting with the consumer – and I say consumer because you have to do it one person at a time – is very hard to understand. I have been in this business a long time and I am not sure I can do it.
My point is this – a great founder doesn’t need to be able to do it either, but, he/she needs to be able to see this gap and find a way to make it one of your core competencies.
What do you think?

Branding is Everything!

January 23, 2015

Thanks to Greg Anderson for passing on this story. It points out the importance of branding, especially for category pioneers. What do you think? Define the category from the consumer out, then position your brand. My take, a great category definition is the foundation of a great brand position.


June 27, 2014

Innovation takes many forms. Our hats are off to Old Navy…..this is a great idea….simple, creative, brand building and it generates revenue.

Building a brand one consumer at a time

May 15, 2013

Saw this today and it reminded me that the game has changed….it is a personal world today. Brands are built by connecting with consumers on a personal level….one consumer at a time. Then, it becomes all viral….the word spreads from early adopters to mainstream consumers…..think about it. My take on this story is today’s consumer isn’t going to traditional media to get their information. Do your plans reflect this?

Marketing is hard work!

January 31, 2013

Over the years we have done a lot of things….built distribution systems, gained retail availability, expanded into new markets, and, along the way, made brands successful. But, there is nothing harder than finding a way to make brands connect with consumers. It takes a lot of focus and hard work. Most importantly, you have to be able to learn…..and adapt as you go. I’d like to think we are getting good at it…..but, it isn’t guaranteed for everyone. I guess if it were that easy everyone would be successful.

Daily Drinkers

November 4, 2012

Most CEO’s think of growth in terms of stores or doors…..they don’t know what the true measure of success is.  We preach the importance of ‘daily drinkers’ all the time.  We saw an interesting stat the other day that bears this out.  According to Catalina Marketing, just 1.5%, or 1 out of 67 consumers, drive 80% of sales for the average new product.  You only need about 2,000 daily drinkers for every $ million in revenue.  Your job… this base….1 drinker at a time!

Trouble Ahead – Watch Out

October 15, 2012

Just read that Core Power has convinced the Coke system to start distributing their brand on the ‘red trucks’.  My guess is that the continued strong growth of Muscle Milk in the Pepsi system is fueling a lot of the pressure to do something.  The Advisor’s only advice to Core Power right now is to be careful.  As they say, the road west is paved with the bones of early stage brands that expanded too quickly.  A brand can only grow as fast as the consumer….you can’t manufacture true growth.  It takes time for a brand to bond with consumers.

Time will tell.  Let’s check back in on Core Power in about 6-12 months.

New Markets – Constant Change

October 15, 2012

My friend Adlai sent me a story recently about the top wine retailers in the US today.  It was an eye-opener….and it continues to show how the rules are changing in the industry.  Three of the top four wine sellers in the US are general purpose food retailers.  But, it isn’t WalMart, Safeway or Kroger.  The big three are Costco (1), Trader Joe’s (2). and Whole Foods (4).  If I had a new wine, I would go after these chains.  The people who shop these stores tend to be ‘early adopters’.  My point in all of this is that there are similar retailers for every new brand.  Look for them when you launch vs the ‘traditional’ channels and you will increase your chances of success.


May 19, 2012

We are leading a session at the upcoming BevNET Live conference June 4th and 5th in NYC. Our subject is ‘Start Small to get Big Fast’. It is about how successful brands are micro-marketing successfully today. We tell you some of the things you should be doing….and avoiding.

New Rule Maker Goes Down The Wrong Road

May 27, 2010

Just saw that Jones Soda just announced that they have just gained availability in Wal Mart – over 3,800 stores.  You would think this would be a reason to celebrate – hey the world’s largest retailer wants to sell their products. I am not so sure. Quick, name the last successful beverage incubated in Wal Mart? Name me any beverage that has incubated in Wal Mart? I can’t think of any.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish Jones Soda all the success in the world. They are what we call a ‘New Rule Maker’.

They have redefined the carbonated soft drink market – going right at the powerhouses Coke and Pepsi.  They have carved out a very loyal consumer base.

It’s just that we believe in fishing where the fish are.  Retailers of Wal Mart’s size make their money selling tons of goods for low prices.  They demand low costs and expect high volume.  This is difficult, we think impossible, for brands like Jones.

Will they get overwhelmed by slow movement and fail (our guess), or will they suceed?  We hope the latter, but fear the former.