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Recession Coming? Now’s the Time to Be Bold & Smart

It seems like every news outlet is full of doom and gloom: inflation, rising interest rates, a likely impending recession, global food scarcity, war. Media outlets are feeding our sense of despair — their business model is built on keeping us distressed so we tune in — and so society’s malaise is self-reinforcing.

Here’s the thing: We’ve lived through similarly tough times. Like, two years ago. Remember, in June of 2020, people were dying, businesses shut down, the whole world stayed home. But by 2021 the economy and the job market went into hyperdrive.

While corporate CEOs are bracing for recession, plenty of us in the food and beverage industry know, based on recent experience, that the next slowdown won’t last forever. We know that ultimately we will be OK. The normal ebbs and flows of our markets are just ebbing and flowing more abruptly and frequently these days.

Your leadership team may be tempted to lay low and wait this out — to “hunker down” (to borrow a phrase from 2020). But, as we recommended two years ago, now is not the time to sit idle. It’s the time to thrive.

Our advice to brands and businesses: Instead of panicing, use this time to discover, rekindle, or invent radical strategies that put daylight between you and your field of competitors. Get ready to capitalize on the opportunities that your insight and marketplace circumstances will create.

Fortune favors the bold (and well prepared). A solid brand foundation will serve you now more than ever.

This All Feels Really Familiar

The pandemic, you may recall, caused a brief recession in the first half of 2020. And, you may also recall, consumers exhibited confusing behaviors not unlike what they’re showing now. They didn’t stop spending, but shifted dollars. Experts are predicting a similarly short and shallow recession in the coming months; the key difference now is rising interest rates.

What did we learn from 2020’s mini recession? That the brands that won took their bravery pills and got to work.

Mega brands like Frito-Lay and PepsiCo exploded in every way, doubling down on product innovation and channel strategy. They got nimble in ways they hadn’t before and adopted entrepreneurial thinking — because they had to. Huge segments of their business, like restaurant and commissary sales, shut down literally overnight.

Mid-cap brands did the same. Some adjusted pack sizes, tweaked product formulations, or invested in online selling in response to shifting consumer buying habits and supply chain challenges. Massive disruption meant that anything was possible. It created the conditions for radical experimentation and breaking the old ways of doing things.

The brands that grew in sales and relevance over the last two years are the ones that took a long view of the game and started to ask, “What’s stopping us from doing X?” and “What would happen if we did Y?” They got serious about innovation and omnichannel sales, and then did the creative work to back that up. The winners had new plans, new products, and new outlets in just 3 or 4 months.

Remember? You and your team lived through this just two years ago.

So lean into the coming recession with the same mentality you adopted at the front end of the pandemic.

Take Advantage of the Uncertain Economic Picture

Whether you’re an early-career marketer or tenured enough to have led and survived at the helm of a brand in 2008 and 2020, you need to understand that this is the best time to be planning for competitive advantage (other than lower prices). It is the time to connect the dots, so your go-to-market strategy truly is omnichannel and oriented toward growth.

Brand relevancy is recession-proof.

So what are the four things food and beverage brand marketers must do now to ensure success as we move into 2023?

Understand current consumer behavior.

In our society, people want what they want when they want it — and they have enough self-confidence to figure out how to make it happen. If they want it they’ll buy it. Belt-tightening is hitting big-ticket items where rising interest rates are creating pain — major purchases like homes and cars and vacations — not so much what consumers put in their shopping carts once a week. In this time of uncertainty, consumers are using food, beverage, and wellness products to feel connected and relevant. And they’re sticking with their preferred brands. (Just look at Q3 2022 earnings in the category.)

Our recommendation is to lean into this consumer behavior. If you panic, you’ll lose the opportunity. Smart brands have learned that they can take advantage of the marketplace when it gets soft. When consumers are abstaining from larger purchases, leverage that.

Shift your messaging to meet consumers where they are today. Help them imagine how good they’ll feel when they spend time with your brand. Build a marketing plan that doesn’t go cheap or play on their pain, but that points to the hope and self-reliance and self-worth they’ll gain when they’re with you. And recognize that in this climate, shoppers are open to trial. Use packaging and point of sale to catch their attention.

Be proactive about innovation.

If the supply chain outages in 2020 prompted massive changes to your product lineup, borrow that same “what can we make now?” mindset and apply a proactive, not reactive, lens. Let your brand strategy guide your product innovation process. Look at 18-month, 36-month, and 5-year

horizons and use scenario planning to predict what your brand will be and who you’ll be for — and what you’ll need to be making for those people. Move fast and be brave.

Build a smart retail strategy.

Again, consumers are buying products that make them feel good and exploring new options. So we’re advising the brands we work with to invest strategically in placement in retailers where you know your current and prospective audiences shop. People are going back to brick-and-mortar stores and their impulse-buying habits; you have an opportunity to hold onto your current audience and gain new converts — or to lose them because you’re not paying attention and responding to their needs. Make good friends with your retail partners so you can work with them on placement and marketing; they can be your brand’s biggest advocates.

If fear and desperation drove brands to act nimbly and strategically in 2020, let bravery and intention guide you now. We tell clients all the time: When you’re making bold, visionary progress, that scale of change can feel scary to your team. So make sure your internal people fall in love with your plans — so in love that they’ll push through any obstacles they face in bringing them to fruition.

Our superpower is giving brand leaders the confidence they need to make seemingly risky moves because they’re deeply rooted in the brand’s mission and vision. If you’re looking for the right path during a time of uncertainty, we’re happy to be your team’s guide. Let’s talk about what this means for your brand.

David Lemley

David was two decades into a design career with a wall full of shiny awards and a portfolio of clients including Nordstrom, Starbucks, Nintendo, and REI. His rocket trajectory veered when his oldest child faced a health challenge of indeterminate origin. Hundreds of research hours later, David identified food allergy as the issue and convinced skeptical medical professionals caring for his child. Since that experience, David and Retail Voodoo have been on a mission to create a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable food system for all.

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The Importance of Having Accelerator Programs for Latino Entrepreneurs Featuring Junea Rocha, Brazi Bites

Are you a startup struggling to achieve success? Have you thought of joining an entrepreneur accelerator program?

It is not easy to make a business viable — many barriers can take you down. That’s why Junea Rocha relied upon many people in her journey growing Brazi Bites. She now has a thriving brand and is passionate about helping others achieve success. With the launch of the Latino Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, Junea is uplifting minority entrepreneurs, giving them a network of support, and helping them reach their biggest goals.

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, host Diana Fryc sits down with Junea Rocha, the Co-founder and CMO of Brazi Bites, to discuss how she’s helping entrepreneurs succeed through the Latino Entrepreneur Accelerator Program. Junea talks about the program, the industry gap she’s trying to reduce, how the program will help startup leaders achieve success, and the criteria for joining the program.

In this episode we learn:

  • Junea Rocha talks about Brazi Bites’ new products
  • The Latino Entrepreneur Accelerator Program Junea has developed — and the inspiration behind it
  • How Brazi Bites’ journey is connected to the template of the program
  • Junea explains the gap her program is trying to reduce
  • How the Latino Entrepreneur Accelerator Program is going to help startup leaders achieve success
  • Who can join the Latino Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, and what’s the application process like?
Gooder Podcast

The Importance of Having Accelerator Programs for Latino Entrepreneurs Featuring Junea Rocha, Brazi Bites

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About Junea Rocha

Junea Rocha is the Co-founder and CMO of Brazi Bites. Junea founded Brazi Bites with her husband in 2010 in the hopes that Americans would love Brazilian Cheese Bread (pão de queijo) as much as they did. After appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2015, Brazi Bites grew a passionate, cult-like fanbase, and in the years since has expanded to thousands of freezer sections nationwide. In her time running Brazi Bites, Junea has gained experience in all areas of the business, while remaining deeply passionate about sharing their delicious creations with the world.

Guests Social Media Links: 

LinkedIn Junea Rocha: https://www.linkedin.com/in/junea-rocha-615b983a/

Website: https://brazibites.com/

Show Resources: 

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana
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Time to Break the Cycle of Bland Branding

Eighteen months or so ago, I wrote a piece that advocated for the “bland brand” trend to end. And here we are, still mired in the look, and I’m saying: Enough already.  

Enough of the clean Helvetica type and the quirky scripts. The sea of beiges, plums, and mauves. The social media feeds popping with cute yet mysterious brand-based utopias. 

The better-for-you food (BFY), beverage, and wellness marketplace is saturated with lookalike brands. It’s harder than ever to stand out. 

Or is it?

Why Bland Branding Has Stuck Around

Blanding has been around for a while now. We’re not talking about black-and-white generic packaging, but a sameness among brands with a specific look and feel tied to a demographic group. You’ll recognize the style: ample whitespace, an approachable typeface, soft pastel colors, no logo. It appeals to BFY personal care and food/beverage brands because it’s soothing and implies wellness. 

As the millennial generation grew into adulthood and gained influence and buying power, brands locked onto a design style purpose-built for this audience. This cohort likes to curate their lives to sync with what they see on social media and favor brands that echo their preferences. Millennials, especially women, latched onto a visual aesthetic that infused everything from fashion to home décor to product packaging. In 2016, writer Véronique Hyland dubbed Pantone’s Color of the Year hue Millennial Pink — and the dusky rose color and its companions (see the Lululemon colorway for inspiration) — were soon everywhere. 

And they’ve stayed. 

As a creative, I’ll concede that the bland brand look isn’t bad. Nobody will find it offensive. It’s pretty. A bland brand is one that no one will hate — as opposed to a brand that insists on a category leadership position, demands attention, implores you to join in and follow along.

My objection is the sheer volume of brands coming into the marketplace that are just using a standardized kit of parts. It’s the most reductive and least inspired approach to design: “copy-and-paste what’s popular, follow the leader, and let’s go.”

I’m not picking on design here. I’m picking on the mindlessness approach to creating a brand that is not sharp, provocative, distinguished, and willing to take a punch. The problem is that when your look and your tone are just like everyone else’s, you wind up competing on features and benefits; you become a commodity. That’s not a big idea, and it’s not sustainable.

Time for the Bland Aesthetic to Change

Aside from the look-alikeness of store shelves (browse Target’s beauty section and you’ll see what I mean), there’s an even better reason to drop the bland aesthetic. Because millennials’ dominance in the brand landscape is waning. 

Generational influence is shifting. For starters, there are enough people in the Gen Z cohort (born from 1997 to 2015) to have real cultural and buying sway. They’re rejecting everything they see that their older siblings like, including those pretty pink package designs. In their minds, it’s not cool to be millennial. They’re not into perfection or simplicity; they favor maximalism and uniqueness in everything from music to food to fashion.  

At the same time, Gen X (born from 1965 to 1980) is reclaiming its place as a group that wields cultural power. Gen Xers look askance at millennials, whom they see as disaffected and disillusioned. Xers want to work hard, play hard, be loyal, be kind, show up, and stand for something. They’re tired of their pantry and bathroom counter looking like an Instagram post.

So … Time to Update Your Packaging?

The post-Covid retail landscape is ripe for change. Blanding is the antithesis of branding as we define it: determining the promise you are going to make to the world, the way in which you will keep it, and how you want people to feel about it. Your brand should be expressive, personal, honest – and of course, different. But how?

If your products have been sporting that soft pink since 2016, it may be time to refresh your packaging. But you probably need to do some deeper work first. Because if you jumped on that trend when it emerged, you certainly don’t want to fall for whatever color and typeface happens to be hot right now. Redesigning every three to five years just to keep up with the Joneses is a silly way to spend money. 

Before you even touch design, you need to do the strategic work to nail the essentials:

· Your WHY: What does the brand stand for? What is our contribution? How do we make a difference? What is our promise?

· Your AUDIENCE: Who are we making our promise to? Who receives the bat signal that we send up into the night sky? What does our brand (not just our product lineup) mean in their lives?

· Your PRODUCTS: Do we make the right products for the people we want to reach? If not, what should we make? And what should we stop making? 

When you’ve built a strategic foundation for the brand, your packaging becomes an almost inevitable expression of your uniqueness. You won’t copy competitors’ look and feel, because that direction is not even on the table.

If, in fact, you have your brand’s mission and vision dialed in but still find your team chasing creative trends, I’d suspect that you don’t have a packaging problem but an audience problem. You may be targeting the wrong group of consumers, or misunderstanding the one you’re aiming for. 

Shelf space, mind space, and ad space are all at a premium. Nobody is sitting around waiting for you to stand out or matter. Time to declare who you are, really understand your fan base, and adopt a look that only your brand can own. 

Identifying audiences — including consumers you’re overlooking who are just waiting to fall in love with you — is our superpower. Let’s have a conversation about who you’re reaching, who you’re missing, and how to attract your people with knockout packaging.

David Lemley

David was two decades into a design career with a wall full of shiny awards and a portfolio of clients including Nordstrom, Starbucks, Nintendo, and REI. His rocket trajectory veered when his oldest child faced a health challenge of indeterminate origin. Hundreds of research hours later, David identified food allergy as the issue and convinced skeptical medical professionals caring for his child. Since that experience, David and Retail Voodoo have been on a mission to create a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable food system for all.

Connect with David
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Finding Balance for Work-Life Harmony Featuring Zahira Marmar, Hrbvor

How can you have work-life harmony even when you’re running a business?

Growing up, drinking herbal tea was a way of life for Zahira Marmar. After moving from St. Martin to New Jersey with her family, she could not find herbal tea in any store. That’s when she started to brew tea for her family, which later caught other people’s attention. Discovering that it could be a great business opportunity, she took the risk with a mission to empower families nationwide to get healthy with herbal teas. Now, Zahira shares how she overcame the challenges of running a beverage brand and gained the work-life harmony she needed.

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, host Diana Fryc sits down with Zahira Marmar, the Founder and Chief Tea Brewer at Hrbvor, to discuss work-life harmony while running a beverage brand. Zahira talks about her herbal tea company, Hrbvor, tips for having work-life harmony, and the mistakes and lessons she learned in her entrepreneurial journey.

In this episode we learn:

  • Zahira Marmar talks about Hrbvor and how it came about
  • Where Hrbvor sources the herbs for their herbal tea
  • Zahira talks about the inspiration behind Hrbvor
  • Tips for having work-life harmony
  • Mistakes and lessons Zahira learned while running a successful beverage brand
  • What is Zahira most proud of?
  • What’s next for Hrbvor — and the trends they are focusing on
  • Other women leaders Zahira admires
Gooder Podcast

Finding Balance for Work-Life Harmony Featuring Zahira Marmar, Hrbvor

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About Zahira Marmar

Zahira Marmar is the Founder and Chief Tea Brewer at Hrbvor, a line of organic herbal teas formulated for function. She is a wife and a mom of three who’s on a mission to share the protective health benefits of herbal tea with families everywhere. Zahira was also the Co-founder of St. Maarten Garden Artists, where she designed and maintained organic vegetable and herb gardens for private clients, schools, and resorts. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in community regeneration.

Guests Social Media Links: 

LinkedIn Zahira Marmar: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zahiramarmar/

Website: https://drinkhrbvor.com/

Show Resources: 

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana
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Empowering Underrepresented CPG Founders Featuring Katrina Tolentino, Naturally Network

Where can diverse CPG founders gain the resources and connections needed to succeed?

Diverse — and often underrepresented — groups have the power to take the industry to another level. In order to do so, there needs to be communities and networks that can support, coach, point them in the right direction, and help them access the resources they need to thrive. Through the incredible stories of brands that have already succeeded despite the barriers, Katrina Tolentino is sharing how networks in the CPG industry are working to support marginalized voices and leaders.

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, host Diana Fryc sits down with Katrina Tolentino, the Executive Director at Naturally Network, to discuss how they help underrepresented CPG founders succeed. Katrina explains what Naturally Network does for the CPG industry, how the M/O Fellowship helps CPG brands prosper, and the partners and people she’s looking up to as advisors in the program.

In this episode we learn:

  • Katrina Tolentino talks about Naturally Network and what it does for the CPG industry
  • The journey of how Katrina became the Executive Director of Naturally Network
  • What is the M/O Fellowship, and how does it help brands succeed in the CPG industry?
  • How NielsenIQ got to partner with Naturally Network
  • What Katrina hopes Naturally Network’s program will look like in the future
  • The advisors and women leaders Katrina looks up to
  • The product trends Katrina has her eyes on
Gooder Podcast

Empowering Underrepresented CPG Founders Featuring Katrina Tolentino, Naturally Network

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About Katrina Tolentino

Katrina Tolentino is the Executive Director at Naturally Network, a national community for natural, organic, and better-for-you consumer packaged goods. Katrina creates opportunities and experiences that foster connections between diverse groups to build a stronger ecosystem. She has over 17 years of experience in launching and scaling organizations and programs through partnerships, program and experience strategy, and community engagement. Prior to Naturally Network, Katrina was the Executive Director at Naturally Austin, where she launched the M/O Fellowship, a six-month program that supports CPG founders of color.

Guests Social Media Links: 

LinkedIn Katrina Tolentino: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katrinatolentino/

Website: https://www.naturallynetwork.org/

Show Resources: 

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana
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Tips To Succeed in the Beverage Industry Featuring Becca Schepps, Mortal Ventures

What does it take to run a successful beverage brand?

The beverage industry is a male-dominated industry, so, how did the Founder of Mortal Ventures, Becca Schepps succeed? She decided to be completely unconventional and turn kombucha on its head. Now, Becca’s here to share her journey as an entrepreneur in the beverage industry, the challenges, and the lessons she learned running her business.

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, host Diana Fryc sits down with Becca Schepps, the Founder and CEO of Mortal Ventures, to discuss her entrepreneurial journey and tips to succeed in the beverage industry. Becca explains the importance of natural brand accessibility, how she balances her personal and professional life, how her history as a creative director influences her leadership style, and her advice to other entrepreneurs.

In this episode we learn:

  • Becca Schepps talks about Mortal Ventures, why it exists, and where the idea came from
  • Becca explains how to make your natural brand accessible to everyone
  • How Becca is balancing her personal and professional life
  • Becca explains how her history as a creative director influences her leadership style
  • Mortal Ventures’ path in the right direction
  • Mentors that helped Becca succeed in her business
  • Becca shares her proudest moments with Mortal Ventures
  • Becca’s advice to entrepreneurs starting out
  • What’s next for Mortal Ventures?
  • Exciting trends in the food, beverage, and wellness space
  • Women leaders Becca admires
Gooder Podcast

Tips To Succeed in the Beverage Industry Featuring Becca Schepps, Mortal Ventures

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About Becca Schepps

Becca Schepps is the Founder and CEO of Mortal Ventures, a brand that produces beverages that fight death. Becca founded Mortal Ventures after she was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic, on a mission to make kombucha that was low in sugar and high in bubbles. Prior to founding Mortal Ventures, Becca worked as a Freelance Creative Director across many industries, working with clients such as The Feed, Yasso, One Bar, Stages Cycling, Carrots, and more. Becca has extensive ad agency experience across all types of media.

Guests Social Media Links: 

LinkedIn Becca Schepps: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bescka/

Website: https://drinkmortal.com/

Show Resources: 

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana
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The Importance of Ancient Grains and Wheat Featuring Brooke Lucy, Bluebird Grain Farms

How do nutritious, ancient grains and wheat positively impact the environment?

For quite some time, people have been unaware of ancient grains’ and wheats’ importance. In 2005, Brooke Lucy and her husband, Sam Lucy, started their vertically integrated farm business to raise awareness, grow, process, and sell organic ancient grains and heritage wheat varieties. Now, she’s here to share the challenges and lessons they’ve learned while growing and selling heirloom grains. 

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, host Diana Fryc sits down with Brooke Lucy, the Co-owner and Founder of Bluebird Grain Farms, to discuss her entrepreneurial journey in growing, processing, and selling organic ancient grains and wheat. Brooke explains the fundamental shift in people’s demand for ancient grains and wheat, product development and the farming practices they use to grow their grains, challenges they’ve faced, and her advice to new farmers and entrepreneurs.

In this episode we learn:

  • Brooke Lucy talks about Bluebird Grain Farms and why it exists
  • The fundamental shift in people’s demand for ancient grains and wheat 
  • Brooke explains how her role as a wilderness ranger impacts her leadership style
  • What are Brooke’s principles for product development?
  • Brooke explains the farming practices they use to grow their grains 
  • Why entrepreneurs lose sight of their end goal
  • The people that influenced Brooke and her husband’s grain-growing process
  • Brooke shares the challenges they’ve faced and her proudest moments
  • Brooke’s advice to new farmers and entrepreneurs 
  • What’s next for Bluebird Grain Farms? 
  • Women leaders that Brooke would like to elevate
Gooder Podcast

The Importance of Ancient Grains and Wheat Featuring Brooke Lucy, Bluebird Grain Farms

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About Brooke Lucy

Brooke Lucy is the Co-owner and Founder of Bluebird Grain Farms, a vertically integrated farm business that produces, processes, and sells ancient and heritage wheat and grains. Brooke is a visionary, educator, people person, and networker. She believes that people deserve access to pure, clean food, and she believes that producers have an obligation and social responsibility to the planet and humankind to grow and deliver sustainable food with minimal water use and a low carbon footprint. Brooke is honored to be an entrepreneurial environmentalist where she can work with the land and integrate her infinite wisdom while driving good food to the people.

Guests Social Media Links: 

LinkedIn Brooke Lucy: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brooke-lucy-b4ba6947

Website: https://bluebirdgrainfarms.com

Show Resources: 

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana
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How to Shape a Food or Beverage Brand’s Tone & Voice

If you’ve been reading our stuff lately, you know we’ve been on a mission to convince food and beverage marketers that creative expression must flow from brand strategy. Every. Single. Time.

For the most part, we’ve been talking about visual interpretation—design. Now I’d like to cover something adjacent but different: the brand’s verbal expression, language, and behavior, or what we call tone and voice.

Strategy, tone, and design are definitely in a relationship but … it’s complicated.

In the hierarchy of marketing, tone and voice flows directly from brand strategy, and it supersedes design.

Brand Strategy => Tone & Voice => Visual Expression

Let’s break this down:

Brand strategy is a mix of internal guideposts, mission, vision, and values. The language you use within your walls to discuss strategy can become consumer-facing, but more often it influences what you say and how you say it to consumers.

Tone and voice translates strategy into words, behaviors, vibes, and relationships you build with your audience. That audience may be consumers who buy your products, retail partners your sales team interacts with, or your suppliers. Tone and voice defines how you’re going to fulfill the promise your brand makes to the world. And it ensures consistency so that everyone speaks from the same phrase book.

Design, or creative, renders the tone and voice of the brand in a visual way that delivers on the brand promise and meets business objectives. Design is font choice, color palette, visual library of illustrations or photos, and so on. Design reflects tone, which reflects strategy. If your brand voice is soft, and comforting and casual, then your font choice shouldn’t be aggressive and angular.

How to Build a Food or Beverage Brand’s Tone & Voice

How to Build a Brand’s Tone and Voice

When we advise food and beverage companies on building a brand strategy playbook, we don’t go from the strategy work straight to the design execution. There’s a step in between: defining the brand’s tone and voice. So what does that look like?

Most brands have a design standards guide that governs things like logo usage and photographic style. We take it a step further and develop a brand bible—a rich, comprehensive document that incorporates everything from how the brand delivers on its mission, to how it talks with customers, to how it responds in a crisis. All that, plus typefaces and color palettes and other visual elements. The brand bible is literally that: A reference that defines every bit of visual and verbal communication.

In creating the brand’s tone and voice, we use the 12 classic brand archetypes. It’s a tool that marketers are familiar with, and a great way to use analogy to home in on the brand’s persona. Brand archetypes include the Hero, the Explorer, the Caregiver, and the Sage. By defining the archetype—either one of the traditional archetypes, a riff, or a combination—we can start to get a handle on the language, emotional tone, and communication style.

We also develop phrasing for the brand’s mission and vision. This might take the form of a manifesto (which could be used internally only or externally as well). It includes short, medium, and long versions of the mission for use in different ways. Some of this language should be consistently used verbatim, like gospel, but we also give people other language and tools so they can scat. These foundational words and phrases, married with the emotional tone and communication style, informs how we write every single bit of copy, from sales decks to social media posts.

From Verbal to Visual Expression

From there, we create a mood board, sort of a scrapbook that captures inspiration for how the brand looks in the wild. It incorporates imagery showing the consumer and their world, and how the brand fits into their lives. Out of that research emerges a visual system of type, color, and imagery.

In the olden days, design would pull the tone and voice forward, because design was stronger than writing. (Unless you were in the advertising business, where hotshot copywriters led the charge.) Today, the brand’s persona defines visual expression.

One watch-out though: Tone and voice, like design, must be anchored in the brand’s strategic foundation. I have seen it hundreds of times, when the copywriting is so creative and “cool” that the agency or internal team reverse-engineers the brand strategy to map to it. This is not brand strategy. A disconnect between mission, tone, and design is a recipe for confusing, alienating, and infuriating your audience. More to the point: When creative misses the mark, you risk failure in terms of meaningful performance (growing audiences, adding reach, getting velocity, and making a profit).

Successful brands understand who their potential customers are, how they think, what they need, and where they spend their time. Great brands that achieve long-term relevance arrive at these insights through a brand strategy framework that makes writing for said consumers intuitive rather than forced. Defining the elements below will help tone and voice deliver against strategy instead of redirect it:

• Purpose (why you exist)

• Promise (what will you do and how will you do it)

• Values (what will you stand behind even if it’s painful)

• Emotion (what’s in it for your employees, trade partners, consumers)

• Context (when, where, and how will someone know that they belong to your brand)

• Audience insight (what do they need to hear from you to opt-in)

• Competitive and category research

Case Study: A Brand with a Distinctive Voice

At an industry event in Chicago recently, reps from Hershey, Pringles, H-P, and Liquid Death shared the stage for a panel discussion. And those three mega-brands were agog at Liquid Death. Liquid Death’s countercultural tone and voice are so inclusive to a net new audience—they’re not about selling water; they’re an environmental company disguised as a water brand.

But the skateboard dude and tattooed mom don’t care about the brand’s mission to kill plastic packaging—they just care that the product is cool. They want the tall can with the logo that looks like it’s for a heavy metal band with rad type and skull graphics. The brand’s persona drives creative execution, all in service of the mission.

For more insight into how Liquid Death’s brand voice came to be, check out Diana’s Gooder podcast interview with Liquid Death’s CBO, Amy Friedlander Hoffman. Unsurprisingly, her personality was totally on brand.Need some guidance on shaping your brand’s tone and voice? That’s our thing. Let’s get in touch.

David Lemley

David was two decades into a design career with a wall full of shiny awards and a portfolio of clients including Nordstrom, Starbucks, Nintendo, and REI. His rocket trajectory veered when his oldest child faced a health challenge of indeterminate origin. Hundreds of research hours later, David identified food allergy as the issue and convinced skeptical medical professionals caring for his child. Since that experience, David and Retail Voodoo have been on a mission to create a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable food system for all.

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Running a Successful Wellness Beverage Brand Featuring Angela Zeng, Karviva

How do you provide wellness through healthy drinks — and run a successful brand?

More people want to consume healthier foods and beverages — and it’s up to entrepreneurs to leverage this. Angela Zeng believes that earth has provided us with an abundance of simple, natural, and nutritious plant-based ingredients — not just to sustain life, but to help it flourish. With this in mind, Angela started her beverage brand to take care of people in a natural way. Now, she’s sharing the challenges and lessons she has learned while running her company.

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, host Diana Fryc sits down with Angela Zeng, Founder and CEO of Karviva, to discuss her entrepreneurial journey running a successful, healthy beverage brand. Angela explains where the idea for Karviva came from, how to manage food waste, the challenges and lessons she learned maneuvering a young, growing brand in the beverage industry, and the impacts of veganism and plant-based foods on the American diet.

In this episode we learn: 

  • Angela Zeng talks about Karviva and what it stands for
  • Angela explains where the Karviva product idea came from
  • Angela talks about food waste, how to solve this problem, and what people should know about low-carb diets
  • How Angela knew that she was headed in the right direction
  • Angela’s experience maneuvering a young, growing brand within the beverage industry
  • Generational differences in driving innovation and running businesses
  • The impacts of veganism and plant-based foods on the American diet
  • Angela shares a fun fact about postbiotics
Gooder Podcast

Running a Successful Wellness Beverage Brand Featuring Angela Zeng, Karviva

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About Angela Zeng

Angela Zeng is the Founder and CEO of Karviva, a wellness beverage brand. Angela has over 17 years of experience within the functional beverage and juice industry. Her passion for natural healing is rooted in her strong belief in traditional Chinese medicine and herbal sciences. Angela’s heritage and passion for Eastern medicine, combined with her education and experience in modern medical research, motivated her to create something new for consumers.

LinkedIn Leigh Keith : https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelazeng1/

Website : https://karviva.com/

Show Resources: 

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana
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How To Succeed in the Refrigerated Snacks Space Featuring Leigh Keith, Perfect Snacks

Do you have what it takes to succeed in the refrigerated snacks sector? At age 19, Leigh Keith started Perfect Snacks with her family. Now, they’ve revolutionized the billion-dollar protein category. How did they do it?

Leigh shares the journey of how Perfect Snacks managed to be successful in creating fresh, grab-and-go snacking options. She says that to succeed in this space, you have to be passionate and expect challenges but have a mindset that every misstep is taking you somewhere.

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, host Diana Fryc sits down with Leigh Keith, the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Perfect Snacks, to discuss the entrepreneurial journey as a successful refrigerated snacks brand. Leigh talks about Perfect Snacks and some of the challenges of running a business as a young person, their acquisition by Mondelēz International, leadership strategies, and her advice to other entrepreneurs.

In this episode we learn: 

  • Leigh Keith talks about Perfect Snacks and what it stands for
  • Leigh shares what worked and didn’t work for her when running the business at age 19
  • Leigh explains what failure means
  • How Leigh knew that they were headed in the right direction
  • Where did the name “Perfect Bar” come from?
  • Mistakes that were pivotal to the success of Perfect Bar
  • Leigh talks about their acquisition by Mondelēz International
  • How Leigh’s upbringing and current work environment influence her leadership style
  • Mentors that were instrumental to Leigh’s success
  • Leigh’s advice to other entrepreneurs — and what’s next for Perfect Snacks
  • Women leaders Leigh admires
Gooder Podcast

How To Succeed in the Refrigerated Snacks Space Featuring Leigh Keith, Perfect Snacks

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spotify
googke podcast
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About Leigh Keith

Leigh Keith is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Perfects Snacks, which makes fresh-from-the-fridge protein snacks out of love for optimal health, fitness, and nutrition. Leigh has remained steadfast in building healthy communities from the inside out. In July of 2019, Perfect Snacks gained a majority interest acquisition from Mondelēz International, the global snacking leader. Leigh and Perfect Snacks have been awarded the NEXTY Award from New Hope media, and San Diego Magazine also named Leigh a Woman of the Year finalist.

LinkedIn Leigh Keith : https://www.linkedin.com/in/leigh-keith-11b7b726/

Website : https://perfectsnacks.com/

Show Resources: 

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo

Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between. 

Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact. 

So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.

Visit retail-voodoo.com or email info@retail-voodoo.com to learn more.

Diana Fryc

For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

Connect with Diana