all Insights

Frito-Lay is Changing the World of Business for The Better with Ciara Dilley, Frito Lay

Gooder Podcast featuring Ciara Dilley

Those of us outside the walls of Frito-Lay have not necessarily considered the brand aligned with natural foods, environmental stewardship, or considered a small business advocate. But little did we all know, that this mammoth tanker of an organization has been quietly growing a passionate army of stewards ready to take on some of businesses biggest issues including healthy food innovation, food instability, small and women-owned business finance and mentoring, environmental stewardship and so much more. The number of business initiatives PepsiCo and Frito-Lay has been developing to make a positive impact in business and the lives of the most marginalized is staggering.

Join Ciara Dilley, VP of Marketing, Transform Brands and Portfolio Innovation for Frito-Lay North America and I, as we discuss how she is harnessing the resources of a multi-national to affect positive change in the food and beverage industries — starting with the Stacy’s Rise Project and venturing into other initiatives. It turns out that Frito-Lay may be becoming the largest Citizen brand in our category, and they’ve got just the right person to lead the way.

When we support women-owned business – the world will become a better place. – Ciara Dilley

In This Episode We Learn:

  • Ciara’s passion for Female Founders and woman-owned business.
  • How she uses Frito-Lay strengths of brand, product, and voice to empower and support female founder brands.
  • The power of Stacy’s Rise Project and WomenMade initiatives.
  • Why Stacy’s Rise Project is bridging the funding gap for female-founded business.
  • How Ciara uses stewardship initiatives to grow employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction.
  • How the impact of the Frito-Lay initiatives complement and supplement the work being done in the Naturals industry.
Gooder Podcast

Frito-Lay is Changing the World of Business for The Better with Ciara Dilley, Frito Lay

About Ciara Dilley:

Ciara Dilley – Vice President of Marketing, Transform Brands and Portfolio Innovation for Frito-Lay North America, leads the company’s ever-evolving and diverse portfolio of Transform Brands – including Stacy’s, SunChips, Smartfood, Popcorners, and Off the Eaten Path. Also overseeing Frito-Lay’s portfolio innovation, Ciara is making it easier than ever for consumers to discover new flavors, ingredients and brands powered by purpose. Ciara also leads our Sustainability agenda, championing our focus on more environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

A seasoned veteran with more than 20 years of industry experience, Ciara’s passion is supporting women, both inside and outside the walls of Frito-Lay. In addition to being personally involved in a number of initiatives that involve coaching and connecting businesswomen, Ciara recently led the launch of WomanMade, a PepsiCo initiative developed to advance female founders in the food and beverage industry through funding and exclusive mentoring opportunities.

Since joining Frito-Lay in February 2019, Ciara has led Stacy’s Rise Project – a flagship grant and mentorship program by the female-founded Stacy’s brand – to flourish as an industry best-in-class initiative, awarding up-and-coming female entrepreneurs with hundreds of thousands of dollars in business grants and providing them with unprecedented access to PepsiCo people and resources to achieve long-term success.

In addition, under Ciara’s leadership, Smartfood popcorn added Smart50 to its lineup – featuring 50 calories or less per cup – and underwent a full brand redesign that involved a complete swipe of its social channels and packaging updates across the entire portfolio.

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Dilley leveraged her experience in communications and innovation to grow major international consumer brands including Diageo, Campbell Soup Company and Kellogg Company.

LinkedIn: Ciara Dilley, https://www.linkedin.com/in/ciara-dilley-305469b/

Media Contact – Frito-Lay Brand Communications: Jen Crichton, jen.crichton@pepsico.com

Show Resources:

Pepsico – An American multinational food, snack and beverage corporation headquartered in Harrison, New York, in the hamlet of Purchase. PepsiCo has interests in the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of grain-based snack foods, beverages, and other productsFrito-Lay – an American subsidiary of PepsiCo that manufactures, markets, and sells corn chips, potato chips, and other snack foodsStacy’s – Stacy’s Pita Chips is a brand of snack products based in Randolph, Massachusetts, specializing in various flavors of pita chips. Pita chips are slices of pita bread which are baked until crunchy.Stacy’s Rise – Created to help bridge the funding gap for female founders, Stacy’s Rise Project™ has been connecting and empowering women business owners for years. That’s why Stacy’s is sharing our resources with other female-founded businesses like those founded by these 30 women. Support them by adding their products and services to your cart.Pepsico Foundation – As we strive to become a Better company, we are helping nurture that potential all around the world by leading the way toward a more sustainable food system, from investing in sustained nutrition, to promoting safe water access, effective waste management, and women’s empowerment.Kelloggs – An American multinational food manufacturing company headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States. And the original plant-based well-being company.Greenhouse Accelerator – Support food and beverage entrepreneurs through a collaborative mentor-guided business acceleration program.Hello Alice –  Step-by-step guides, expert resources, and collaborative communities of fellow entrepreneurs to find funding opportunities and experts for small business.The J.E.D.I Collaborative – The OSC² J.E.D.I Collaborative of industry peers and experts is leading this project for the natural products industry to frame the business case for embedding justice, equity, diversity and inclusion into our entire food ecosystem. Our intent is to take a positive, forward look vs. a “fix what’s broken” position. We seek to understand the deeper issues and to devise an outline for the best solutions. We will clarify the systemic issues that require courage and thought leadership and define immediately controllable issues we all can address as an industry and in our day-to-day operations. We will develop a step-by-step approach to serve as a model to facilitate and inspire the industry to commit and take action. We will develop a reporting tool to demonstrate the impact of the project on progress. We believe the benchmark reporting will result in an increase in productivity in an increasingly multicultural marketplace.Untamed by Glennon Doyle – In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us. Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates -A debut from Melinda Gates, a timely and necessary call to action for women’s empowerment.The Boss Network by Cameka Smith – Our mission is to promote and encourage the small business spirit and professional development of women of color. The BOSS Network is a community of career and entrepreneurial women, who support each other through content, online programs and event-based networking.

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
all Insights

Brand Slam Episode 2 – The Life Cycle of Better-For-You Brands

Learn the category audit techniques these leading brands have leveraged to average triple-digit growth.

In this episode of Brand Slam we will cover how better-for-you brands can move from First and Only to Beloved and Dominant.

As covered in David’s book, Beloved and Dominant Brands, the brand ecosystem allows you to develop a realistic, unbiased assessment of your current state and your market opportunities based upon competition, your company culture, and your brand’s strengths and weaknesses. This analysis combined with a deep understanding of the changing nature of consumer preferences provides the platform on which brand strategy is built.

Watch as we host a Q&A with David Lemley, focused on solving a brand’s pain points across the brand ecosystem. Pain points that we have been hearing from the market this year. The tools and tips we will offer will give you insights on the areas of your brand that you can impact immediately, and how to plan for the future.

Brand Slam was created by Retail Voodoo to help CPG entrepreneurs in food, beverage and wellness reduce their struggle with brand growth in the face of Covid-19. Using the auditing process models created by Retail Voodoo to develop Brand Ecosystems, (which we’ve used for some of the world’s most beloved brand and feature in the book Beloved and Dominant Brands,) we uncover key areas that we have seen brand’s struggle at each touchpoint and how to overcome.

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
all Insights

Changing Consumers Behavior Around Happy Hour with Sharelle Klaus, DRY Soda Company

Gooder Podcast with Sharelle Klaus

In our current culture, alcoholic beverages have traditionally been the center of all celebrations. It’s how we wind down our day, relax and give ourselves a moment to rest. That is until now. Generation Z and Millennials are bucking those habits and finding better and healthier ways to relax. Part of it is self-awareness, the ability to recognize when alcohol is a crutch – rather than a treat, and some of it is “I’m not doing what my parents did”. They are normalizing alcohol-free celebrations, getting real about mental health, and creating an inclusive environment for everyone. It’s time for the sober revolution.

Sharelle Klaus and I walk through her journey of self-discovery, and the ins and outs of finding her and her brands true north. We discuss her passion to create inclusive celebrations for all people. And that sometimes, you just have to start all over.

In this episode we learn:

  • Sharelle’s aha moment that turned into DRY.
  • The story of teaming up with Sans Bar.
  • How Millennials and Generation Z are changing our relationship with alcohol consumption.
  • How to educate, socialize, and enroll behavior change for consumers.
  • How “bad news” can be the path to opportunity.
  • To trust your gut, even when you’re the only one in the room that believes it.
Gooder Podcast

Changing Consumers Behavior Around Happy Hour with Sharelle Klaus, DRY Soda Company

About Sharelle Klaus:

Sharelle Klaus is the Founder and CEO of DRY Soda Company  As the visionary behind DRY Soda Company, Sharelle has always had a passion for the culinary world and celebrating each part of a meal – including the beverage. After having four children, she didn’t want to let a lack of wine or cocktails stop her from being a part of the party. Klaus recognized an absence of refreshing, clean, non-alcoholic options in the market, and became determined to create the first line of botanical bubbly that was worthy of meal pairing. She believed savory and sweet flavors more commonly used in cuisine could offer exciting compliments to her favorite meals. In 2005, Klaus crafted the first batches of DRY in her home kitchen and officially launched DRY Soda Co. a few months later.

Klaus brings over two decades of entrepreneurial, financial and technology industry experience to her role as CEO at DRY, and oversees all marketing, strategic planning, and innovation for the brand. With guidance from some of the Pacific Northwest’s best chefs and a savvy corporate team, Klaus pioneered a new category of sparkling beverages, fearlessly leading DRY’s aggressive growth in a male-dominated industry. Prior to founding DRY, Klaus worked as a consultant for Infrastructure Management Group and Price Waterhouse. She also served as president of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, where she drove strategic development of programs, events, and fundraising for the organization’s 250+ Seattle-area members. Klaus has been featured by Huffpost, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Imbibe, and others.  Klaus has also won several honors including, Seattle Business Magazine’s CEO of the year, Puget Sound Business Journal Women of Influence, and PSBJ 40 under 40.

With a keen appreciation for humor and wit, Klaus is an avid supporter of entrepreneurship and frequently speaks at professional conferences, workshops, and the University of Washington Business School, where she also participates as a judge for the Michael G. Foster’s School’s well-known business plan competitions. She is also a board member of the Aliados Foundation that builds resilient community business based on biodiversity in the Andes and the Amazon—and connect them to markets across the globe.  Klaus graduated from Seattle Pacific University with an undergraduate degree in political science and currently resides in Seattle, Wash.

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharelle-klaus-1804078/

Show Resources

DRY – Welcome to DRY Botanical Bubbly! The non-alcoholic sparkling soda perfect for celebrating any occasion. Enjoyed on the rocks or in your favorite zero-proof cocktail.

Sans Bar – We are a growing group of average people who recognize that life can be fun without alcohol.  We are sober, we are on the move, and we believe that real connection happens when people are sober.  We want to create a space that is free of alcohol and welcoming to all.  We believe that the best version of anyone’s life includes healthy socialization, helping others, and taking care of both mind and body.  Sans Bar is composed of people who want to change themselves and the world around them.  We believe positive change can happen in the smallest ways, and still yield a tremendous impact.

This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life (Book) – offers a new, positive solution. Here, Annie Grace clearly presents the psychological and neurological components of alcohol use based on the latest science, and reveals the cultural, social, and industry factors that support alcohol dependence in all of us.  Packed with surprising insight into the reasons we drink, this book will open your eyes to the startling role of alcohol in our culture, and how the stigma of alcoholism and recovery keeps people from getting the help they need. With Annie’s own extraordinary and candid personal story at its heart, this book is a must-read for anyone who drinks.

BevMo – a privately held corporation based in Concord, California, selling mainly alcoholic beverages.

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
all Insights

White Paper: DTC for CPG Brands

Why it’s time to use DTC to establish a first-party data strategy to increase your CPG Brands brand’s relevance.

Learn why food, beverage, and wellness brands are rethinking their DTC strategies to include consumer insights. As CPG Businesses have come to DTC marketing’s new frontier many leaders are looking to answer critical questions about their brand’s medium and long term viability. Key business areas of concern include:

  • Lost brand relevance due to marketplace disruption
  • Competitive pricing strategies vs. brand value
  • When the DTC bubble will burst in the new normal brought about by Covid-19

By switching to a brand-driven first-party data strategy, better-for-you brand owners are future-proofing their business and retooling for growth.

Download this white paper to learn how to:

  • Identify entrepreneurial cognitive bias and develop strategies to break out
  • Reduce reliance on pantry stocking and plan for two-way relationships with consumers
  • Reduce the risk of commoditization by leveraging first-party data to elevate brand purpose

Get this exclusive report brought to you by Retail Voodoo, the branding firm that has helped KIND, Essentia, LesserEvil, Wedderspoon, PCC Natural Markets, REI, and Starbucks build brand-driven strategies that create meaningful, sustained growth.

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
all Insights

White Paper: Navigating Brand Disruption

Covid Series: Vol 01

Why it’s time to develop a brand-driven strategy to future-proof your brand.

Learn why food, beverage, and wellness brands are rethinking their fragmented strategies that hinder their marketplace performance in the face of unexpected disruption.

Businesses who are relying on the four P’s of marketing are especially subject to disruptions in the age of Covid.

By switching to a brand-driven strategy, better-for-you brand owners are future-proofing their business and retooling for growth.

Download this white paper to learn how to:

  • Plan for distribution hiccups and eliminate lost opportunities.
  • Reduce ingredient dependence in favor of brand-driven benefits.
  • Outpace copycat competitors by delivering on brand purpose.
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
all Insights

Multichannel Packaging Strategies for Naturals Food and Beverage Brands

Since March, stay-at-home orders nationwide have radically transformed the way consumers shop for food, beverage, and personal care products. People who’d never before ordered groceries online set up accounts with local retailers or service providers like Instacart and Postmates. Folks accustomed to ordering shoes and home goods from Amazon started ordering bananas and energy bars. And even people who continued brick-and-mortar shopping did it “Supermarket Sweep”-style, racing through aisles and grabbing whatever they could find.

And for many households, online food and beverage purchases will continue after the shutdown eases.

Even if you don’t have a direct-to-consumer sales operation or big Amazon presence, shoppers are finding, choosing, and ordering your products online via Kroger or Instacart.

How does your packaging play in the online space?

Packaging: Your First Chance to Win a Customer

In Beloved & Dominant Brands, we write that the retail experience (in-store and online) plays an outsized role in the Brand Ecosystem — the seven-platform communication pyramid that drives marketing strategy for natural food, beverage, and wellness brands.

That’s because retail may be the first time a consumer encounters your brand. She may see you on the shelf or on a search results page and be intrigued enough to pull out her phone or open another browser tab to look your brand up online.

Consumers interact with your packaging more frequently than other touchpoints in your messaging, so it needs to do the heavy lifting from a marketing perspective. Your packaging has to a) to get your product into the shopper’s actual or virtual cart and b) to communicate with her when she gets the product home.

Multichannel Packaging for Food, Beverage, & Wellness Brands

Consider the different ways packaging functions in three retail channels: DTC, online, and in-store.

DTC — via your own website and direct marketing efforts — is the channel where you have the most control. You determine how the product is merchandised, how the messaging reads, how consumers get to and from the product pages to other contextual information on your website. Your DTC packaging has to look great, of course, but its real power comes after the sale. When that shipping box arrives in the consumer’s home, the product packaging should offer a high-touch experience that delights her, confirms her choice, and convinces her to buy again.

Online is the Wild West of retailing. The consumer enters a search term on Amazon, say ‘gluten-free energy bar’ and your product shows up along with hundreds of others. It’s a frustrating shopping experience with overwhelming choice. As we write in Beloved & Dominant Brands, your packaging has to be the right kind of visible — identifiable as part of the category yet different enough to catch the shopper’s eye, particularly if she isn’t familiar with your brand.

Our basic guideline for a brand’s in-store presentation is the 30–10–3 Rule. From 30 feet away, your packaging should help identify the category. From 10 feet away, your consumers should be able to read your brand’s trade dress or core identity in order to navigate to it. And from 3 feet away, your brand story, features, benefits, and purpose should be so clear and compelling that consumers pick up your package.

More than ever, your packaging system has to excel in all three channels. It’s a big ask.

Packaging as a Communication Tool

Beyond the product attributes, beloved and dominant brands use packaging as a communication tool to talk about what they stand for. Regardless of how they shop, assume that consumers know what’s in the package. So talk about who you are beyond the product. (As parents of a Girl Scout, we can point to the Girl Scouts brand as a great example of how to use a box to communicate a greater mission and purpose.) Include enough origin story on your pack so that it reassures them and prompts them to purchase again.

Remember that when consumers order online and the delivery arrives at home, unpacking the Instacart delivery becomes an unboxing event. The shopper spends a moment with your package — what are you telling him? How do you make him feel?

Case Study: HighKey

We’ve helped several natural food and beverage clients wrestle this dragon, and it’s been humbling to learn what works across all three sales channels.

HighKey is a brand of keto-friendly snacks that’s become a darling in the market. It began as a DTC brand, but leaders aspired to conventional retail channels. When we started working with them, they thought their audience was fitness-minded men who were managing carb intake in order to get ripped. We helped them conduct research that proved that the “keto bro” doesn’t care about what he eats; instead the brand’s ideal audience were female consumers more interested in dieting for weight loss, not hard-core fitness fanatics. This consumer wanted a snack that she could eat on the go; she didn’t want something that looked or tasted like “diet food.”

We brought in chefs and food scientists to remake and expand the product line with clean ingredients that still taste great. And we helped them build a non-pretentious, everyday brand that caters to ordinary women seeking to lose weight without sacrificing flavor or indulgence as she satisfies a craving.

On the packaging front, we designed a system that doesn’t look like diet food. It looks like delicious, appealing snacks for people whose life is in motion, who love junk food but are concerned about calories and carbs and sugar. The packaging is perfectly imperfect, the product shown in motion, and the color palette is bold and energetic. It looks just as great on shelf as it does on Instagram.

As a result, HighKey has continued to grow its DTC channel, landed at No. 1 in their category on Amazon, and are expanding into Target and Whole Foods online and brick-and-mortar stores. In just six months, HighKey went from DTC to major chain and sales have exploded, because they got packaging right in all three channels.

You have opportunity now to capture those new-to-online food and beverage shoppers. We can help you evaluate whether your packaging is doing all it can across every sales channel.

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
all Insights

What Package Architecture System is Right for Your Brand?

When you add a product to your lineup — a new flavor, perhaps — how easy is it to crank out the package for the new SKU? If you’re considering extending into another category — say, from tortilla chips to fresh salsa — will your existing packaging easily adapt to the new form and the conventions of the other category?

Will you think like a manufacturer or a brand?

Marketing and brand managers often run into brick walls when they try to design packaging for new units. They need more flexibility in packaging as the brand grows; they want a design that’s future-proof. They feel stuck within the constraints of their existing design scheme. They want … well, they don’t know what they want.

How to Know When Your Packaging Isn’t Flexible Enough

In the beginning, when you’re a small brand with a handful of products, it’s easy to develop a consistent packaging system that encompasses your identity, your product’s attributes, and category signals. And it’s easy to match that packaging to your other brand visuals like the website and social media profile. But as you add flavors, special ingredients, or line extend into new categories, for example, packaging design gets more complicated. You need to add copy, claims or certifications.

Then, as you further expand, complexity rises. All of a sudden, your packaging isn’t navigable from less than two feet at retail; consumers can’t tell the difference between vanilla, vanilla bean, and vanilla chocolate chip varieties. You have so many offerings that even color-coding to identify them becomes ineffective.

And when you cross into new categories, what works on the chip bag is illegible on the lid and face of the tub of salsa. Plus, every competitor in the salsa category leads with red, and your hallmark color is blue.

Like your company’s R&D, your packaging design needs room to allow for innovation.

Three Packaging Architecture Systems for Food & Product Brands

Developed as a system, your suite of packaging can accommodate new products and new categories to varying degrees. Let’s look at three key types of packaging systems in BFY food, beverage, and products:

1) Type: Rigid

Examples: RX Bar, Kashi

( RX Bar Image Source: foodbusinessnews.com)

A rigid packaging system incorporates a set library of visual elements — logo, nutritional callouts, flavor/variety naming, product photography, colors — arranged in a fixed way. From product to product, nothing changes except what’s necessary for the consumer to navigate the category.

This system is the most commonly used because it’s simple to execute: a design agency can hand off the visual assets and layouts and the brand’s internal team can easily develop the designs and add SKUs. Rigid packaging systems are often the first set of “clothes” that a BFY brand puts on when it launches, when there isn’t money for beautiful food photography and custom typefaces. It’s plug-and-play.

The disadvantage, however, is that a rigid system doesn’t flex for significant innovation, like a cross-category line extension or a sub-family of new products within the brand. It works best when you’re playing within a single category or a few closely related ones (such as Kashi cereal, bars, and grain-based frozen meals). It can also be difficult for consumers to navigate when you add varieties that are similar to one another, i.e., oats and chocolate vs. oats and vanilla. The shopper will have to pick the product up off the shelf to read the copy or detect the minute difference is coloring to find the variety she’s looking for.

2) Type: Flexible

Examples: 365 Everyday Value, Udi’s Gluten Free

( Udis Image Source: norcalcoupongal.com)

Every private-label brand on the market uses a flexible packaging system, which relies on a fairly standardized architecture by category but allows for modifications to meet category conventions in a group of products. Flexible packaging systems are ideal for brands that cross disparate category lines.

The more categories the brand plays in, the simpler the system should be. The logo, the product name, variety, ingredient icons (like the gluten-free “bug”), and that’s it. It has to be simple so it can easily scale.

The benefit of a flexible system is also its downside: It’s harder to execute because the rules are looser. It’s more difficult for an internal team that doesn’t have serious design chops to adopt the brand look consistently from tortilla chips to body wash; it’s harder to maintain the design quality and integrity across all the brand’s offerings.

3) Type: Bespoke

Examples: Newman’s Own, Bob’s Red Mill, Califia Farms

( Califia Image Source: farmdesign.net)

A bespoke packaging system incorporates a master brand, with a set of design standards for each subsequent category. This works best when the brand is well established and widely recognized, so consumers can easily make the shift across categories. It involves a suite of master brand elements that can be rearranged and still be recognizable.

Over the life cycle of a highly successful BFY brand, it will start with a rigid system, then move to a flexible system as it crosses into multiple categories, finally ending up with a bespoke system when it has achieved category dominance. For example, Califia Farms built its reputation on almond milk, and it retains its core brand identity as it shifts into juices and coffee beverages.

Which System is Right for You?

The right packaging system is primarily a function of your product line, but it also depends on your organizational approach to innovation. If you don’t have a handle on your team’s culture, a partner will struggle to help you.

Does your team think like a manufacturer rather instead of a brand? In other words, “We will only make stuff that can come out of our factory using the exact equipment and procedures we use today. Line extension to us is really flavor extension: simple ingredient swaps in our core products.” If so, a rigid system is your best choice.

Does your team operate like Willy Wonka? Is everything you make satisfying and delicious? “I would love to stay and talk but I am inventing 15 things again tomorrow and cannot be troubled by tactics, systems, or reality.” A flexible system will allow you to pivot from one category to the next quickly.

Does your team see itself as stewards of the brand? “We need a plan that will allow for innovation beyond what we can predict right now. We want to future-proof our brand, but it needs to map to our values and why we exist. We need a system we’ll never have to guess at.” In that case, bespoke is the way to go.

Need help making the best choice for your brand? Let us know.

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
all Insights

How to Translate Brand Strategy Outcomes Into Shelf Science

In today’s busy world with packed schedules and cluttered retail environments, it is rare that a consumer will stop to pick up a product by a brand they’ve never heard of before or one that’s not already on their grocery list. But how can your brand’s presence on shelf change that?

Given that shopping is a necessity, consumers are always making split second decisions when it comes to food and beverage product decisions. For this reason, your package design is your lead sales person. Packages are working hard in the field every single day to make your brand well-known and profitable. Use this powerful opportunity to both shout on shelf and tell your story in a more conversational tone.

At Retail Voodoo we are always asking ourselves, “Does this package design concept adhere to the 30-10-3 rule?” These are the three stages we define as singular moments a package has to engage a consumer:

  • At 30 feet you need to define the category.
  • At 10 feet you need to make your brand name and story known.
  • At 3 feet you have the opportunity to whisper in the consumer’s ear.

This white paper demonstrates how engaging with consumers on each of these levels is key to establishing their trial purchase.

Once consumers have the chance to actually try the product, all of these pieces should come together for them and ignite the consumer’s individual desire to share your product and brand with other people in their circle. Learning how to achieve engagement and what is important for your package to achieve at each stage will help your package fly off the shelves or into digital carts time and time again.

What Your Packaging Should do at 30 Feet

This is the initial opportunity for your package to attract attention and stop consumers in their tracks. This is a critical stage because here your package has the shortest amount of time to make the most impact.

There are four ways to successfully halt traffic at 30 feet:

Logo or Wordmark

Whether you have a brand mark that everyone knows implicitly (i.e., Nike swoosh or the Apple logo) or you are wanting to make your brand more well-known in the category, using the brand’s logo as the attention-capturing element is always a great choice. This allows your package to define itself as a leader in your category at an instinctual level. A simple, clean logo that is staged properly checks the trustworthiness box for most consumers. When shopping, people will think, “That brand looks confident in who they are and expects people to remember their name.”

Photography

Oftentimes, powerful and eye-catching photography is a great way to stand out in a shelf of many colors and lots of typography. If it makes sense for your product, queuing appetite appeal can be very successful when shoppers have a split second to make a food choice (especially for center aisle purchases like snacks).

In the case of Sahale Snack’s packaging, we created a gorgeous cluster of nuts and fruit that is mouth watering – and visible across the store. When shopping, a consumer will think, “That product must taste absolutely amazing.”

Distinctive Product or Flavor

Another effective way to use your brand to define a retail category is to make the name of the product or unique flavor be the loudest element on pack. This is especially true if you are the first to market on an innovative product or flavor in your category. Take the opportunity to make that known.

Wedderspoon is an example of a brand whose innovative product needed to be displayed. They want to bring Manuka Honey to the masses. So when creating concepts for their new label design, we knew that it would be important to let the words “Manuka Honey” sing louder than their brand name.

An example of a success story in the flavor department would be Dry Soda Company. One of the main factors that set this brand apart from the rest of the crowd in the quickly expanding  sparkling beverage refrigerator are their foodie flavors. By having stylized illustrations of those ingredients be one of the most visible elements on the bottles, consumers can instantly see from afar that their flavors are more than just the typical lemon lime. When shopping, a consumer will think, “That is a product or flavor I have never seen before, and I am intrigued enough to try it.”

Product Benefit

If your product provides a critical benefit to your target audience that can set you apart from your competitors, shout it from the rooftop! A perfect example of a brand successfully doing this is Halo Top ice cream. Hale Top has won lots of new and repeat fans by displaying the low-calorie count large and in charge on their pints. This works because they targeted a consumer who wants to eat an entire pint without ruining their diet. At Retail Voodoo, we call this managing indulgence. When shopping, a consumer will think, “That product delivers on a functional benefit I am incorporating in my diet or lifestyle and is worth my money.”

How to Position Your Product at 10 Feet

Now that the consumer has spotted your package from across the aisle because you helped them navigate the category at 30 feet, you need to keep their attention or risk losing them to your shiny shelf neighbor.

Shout Your Clear Points of Difference

At 10 feet you have a high-level opportunity to talk to your consumer about who you are and why they should believe in your offering. This second level of messaging at 10 feet is where your package has a bit more time to speak, but don’t get crazy and try to say everything about your brand and product on the front of pack. An example of an ideal amount of content on the front of pack would be Loma Linda. To contrast that, brands like Dr. Bronner’s, while utilitarian in their approach, make the consumer read way too much to reach the information they need. When shopping, a consumer will think, “This brand looks different and may be a better choice than my current brand.”

Emphasize Readability

At Retail Voodoo we frequently say that your logo and product name need to be completely legible by middle-aged eyes and quickly understood by a fifth grader. This is where you use size, scale, and depth of field to create a logical reading hierarchy for your consumer. You will want to educate them on the other items that were not your 30-foot hero item. For example, if your logo was achieving shelf shout at 30 feet, at 10 feet you will want to talk about product, flavor, taste, and benefit. When shopping, a consumer will think, “This brand feels transparent and trustworthy because they are communicating clearly.”

Your Final Chance to Spur Purchase: Packaging at 3 Feet

The consumer is holding your package in their hand and hopefully is moments away from putting it in their cart. How do you entice them to purchase? Understanding that a consumer has a set of unspoken communication needs from your brand is the first step.

Invite Them Into Your World

By picking up your package, they have given you have permission to connect with them on a deeper level. Sometimes this leads to making them laugh through clever illustrations or copywriting, or it could lead to helping them understand the science behind your product. This should be an educational moment woven with your brand’s tone and voice. Yakima Chief Hops for example utilized their back of pack to tell a deeper brand story and allow consumers into their hop fields through storytelling. The consumer will think, “This brand really understands my life and values.”

Get Them to Flip It

Unless the consumer is already a power user of your offering, they will read the back of pack before purchase. Ultimately, this is where your brand’s message and voice can truly come to life by living harmoniously with whatever promises your ingredients are making about your product. At this stage the consumer will look at the nutrition facts panel and ingredient deck. The consumer will think, “Not only does this product map to the types of foods I am looking to consume, but their ethos are in line with mine as well.”

Leverage Communication Hierarchy

Anything that exists at the 3-foot rule should be subordinate to the items that drive the 30- foot and 10-foot rules. But this doesn’t mean that all elements are  equal. Your brand’s tone and voice, product offering, and consumer need state will inform decision-making. Knowing what your consumer is most interested in and designing a purposeful user journey that grabs their attention is as important at 3 feet as it would be at 30 feet. Take the back-of-pack design for Living Intentions as an example. We leveraged both copy and an infographic to help the consumer feel comfortable with what the claim “Activated” meant. Making sure that the front-of-pack claims were explained with clarity took precedence over emotional storytelling. The consumer will think, “I now fully trust this brand to deliver on their promises.”

Now that you understand the importance and purpose of all three stages, know that what you choose to do here visually all depends on what your brand feels is most important for the consumer in driving purchase intent. In determining what your brand’s 30-, 10-, and 3-feet elements should be, we find it helpful to make a hierarchical list of what you need consumers to know in order from most to least important before you ever start designing. This provides an easy way to map back to intentions when you take pen to paper to design the pack.

Each brand has its own strategy and unique selling proposition, but it is how and in what order you portray those on pack that can help great products reach multiple digit growth in sales.

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
all Insights

What to Know Before You Take a Better-For-You Brand into the Big-Box World

Getting product on shelf at a big-box retailer is the holy grail for many better-for-you (BFY) brands. It may be a goal you and your leadership team have been methodically pursuing over time, or perhaps it’s just landed in your lap. (You should be planning for this, if you aren’t currently.)

Perhaps your BFY brand has good traction at Whole Foods and is growing at a small but profitable clip. Then suddenly Walmart or Costco call and want to get your brand on the shelf. Everything about your business — product, manufacturing, logistics, pricing — suddenly changes overnight.

How do you manage the relationship? Retain control of your brand image? Ramp up production? Stay true to your roots?

Here are some strategies for mitigating the risks when you make the leap.

Upscale Grocers vs. Big Boxes: The Channels Are Different

Whole Foods and upscale regional chains like Wegmans or Sprouts are essential markets for BFY brands to provide you enough national exposure and velocity to maintain reasonable growth. It’s relatively easy to get on the shelf at these chains. (In fact, the challenge may be getting out before the retailer replaces you with a competitor or knocks off your product with a house-branded one. Even these upscale channels can be vicious places to compete.)

But what landed you there won’t get you into Costco. Many darling BFY brands have gone into Costco, started out with good velocity, and then disappeared. Why? They were unprepared to compete in a high-volume, bargain-driven environment.

Big box opportunity and the growth it promises is exciting, confusing, chaotic, and scary. These retailers are going to demand the moon from you. They’ll want input on every aspect of your business, from dictating your margins to imposing packaging and product changes to determining who else is in the channel with you.

Before you go into a meeting with one of the big guys, you have to have your brand story, your pricing strategy, your values, your business practices, your margins — all of it tightly nailed down.

A Strong Brand Story Avoids Consumer Confusion

Understand that the audience that shops Whole Foods also goes to Costco, so they’ll expect to see the story of your brand being told in the same way across those outlets. While Whole Foods shoppers are less price-sensitive, club- or box-store shoppers aren’t averse to paying more for products they feel represent high quality for the dollar.

High-end BFY products can thrive in the big-box environment if they maintain a consistent brand story everywhere. Changing your tune to meet a retail channel’s demographic sows confusion and distrust.

In other words, it shouldn’t be a disconnect for consumers to find a high-quality BFY product like yours at Sam’s Club. You need to have built enough brand equity through other channels and on social media that selling at a club store isn’t a negative for your audience.

We don’t recommend making the big-box leap until you have your brand story straight and enough proof — through velocity at shelf and consumer raves on social media — that you can advocate for what the channel might consider a premium price.

The Financial Challenges of Ramping Up Production

This may be the most panic-inducing aspect of making the move into club, big box, or convenience store chains. You need to expand production, and quickly. And if your business is under about $50 million in annual sales, it’s likely that you’ll need to borrow money to make that happen.

Retailers want to know you can support their demands, and they won’t put you in store until they have proof that you can. They might test your product in a region with 200 stores; if it sells well, then you’ll have to immediately triple production to roll out across the entire chain. If you’re unable to meet demand, you’ll get discontinued because you can’t restock empty slots.

That means you have to invest — to build a new facility or buy production time elsewhere — before you’ve got the business. And quickly, because while you’re scaling up, your competitors may be rolling out a similar product in other outlets. While your sales team is knocking on doors, your operations team should be researching backup plans for production.

Managing The Risks of ‘Growth Implosion’

Without a strong brand narrative, an eyes-wide-open view of the opportunity, and clear plans for production, brands that enter the big box space risk falling prey to growth instead of riding it upward. They either can’t scale quickly enough to land the business, or they can’t maintain production to meet Costco’s demand. We call this “growth implosion.”

So prepare — your pricing structures, channel strategy, brand promise, proven velocity, and production — in order to make a bold move. And it’s OK if that preparation tells you that big box isn’t the right place, at least now, 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.

Connect with David
all Insights

Put a Wrap On It: The Rise of Packaging in Fresh Food

As consumers become more in tune with how and where their food is grown these days, the perception of food packaging has shifted — thus opening the door for brands to radically innovate in design and messaging to entice new buyers.

Shoppers are looking more closely at certifications to ensure products are made with trusted ingredients and best production practices before placing selections into their shopping baskets. Informed by news stories about food and nutrition, they have become more savvy as they shop the center of the store — and the trend has been spreading to the perimeter and into fresh products.

What about produce? Most consumers buy fresh produce in market-style bulk volumes and they have to rely on faith that those products are, in fact, pesticide free, organic, fair trade, etc., as labeled on the shelf tag. Even with those little PLU code stickers on each tomato and signs on the bin of loose-leaf baby kale, there is something not entirely comforting to the consumer that that sticker tells the whole story.

The Rise of Branded and Packaged Fresh Food

And that’s the reason why we’re seeing a rise in packaged produce: Branding, packaging, and graphic design help consumers confidently purchase these products.

Today when I go to my local grocer’s produce section and pick up a pack of baby greens, I’ll see a clean label made with soy-based inks on recycled paper applied to a crystal-clear container made from recycled plastics with the words “Washed 3X,” clusters of certification icons, inviting graphics, and typography — telling me all the right things to ease my anxiety about the product’s origins and safety. The packaging gives me confidence that I’m making a smart, safe choice.

The power of graphic design in produce is exciting. Brands like Organic Girl are leading the charge in fresh packaging and winning consumers over as their go-to choice based on convenience and trust. Designing food packaging has changed the way consumers shop, turning them into label readers with choices instead of label gawkers. Branded produce is bringing life and interest to a formerly quiet department.

The New Fresh Perimeter: 4 Insights

The fresh footprint is getting bigger at retail; it’s not just fruits, veggies, meats, and gallons of milk. Packaged fresh now includes items like snackable cheese trays, hummus and pretzels, meal prep kits, green juices, and more. I’m seeing marketing trends and shopper tendencies that will continue to shape this new fresh packaged category, including:

Farmers’ markets are shaping shoppers’ expectations. Shopping at farmers’ markets is a wonderful experience that makes us feel good about what we are buying and who we are supporting. The opportunity consumers have to speak and deal directly with the source provides a transparency that is hard to match. The trend of fresh in grocery echoes this experience, from the way food is being packaged to the way the retail environment is designed.

Design conveys authenticity. Packaging that shows off the actual food — with windows and clear substrates instead of photographs — takes us right to the farm when we interact with the package. Consumers care about the origin of their food across the fresh category, not just in produce. So a pack of fresh pasta might use classic typography, elegant colors and clear windows showing off the product to make the product feel like it came right from Italy.

Packaging enables convenience. Grab-and-go products especially communicate the freshness and convenience of a healthy, quick meal. Pre-made salads, portion control cheese plates, and serving-sized fruit cups provide alternative meals that consumers can feel good about — and that feel-good messaging (i.e., high protein, low sugar, all natural) is reinforced on the label or wrap.

Sustainability is a concern. Pre-made dinners and delivery meal services are also driving the fresh trend in packaged foods. But as the fresh category adopts bags, boxes, and wraps, a big concern is overpackaging and recyclability. I expect that consumers will quickly start to question how these packaged-fresh brands give back to the environment and their investment in sustainability and fair trade initiatives.

Yes, a consumer might feel weird buying fresh produce in a plastic container. But they’ll feel better about it knowing that Organic Girl puts extra effort into using recycled plastic in their packaging and making their packaging recyclable (consumers who don’t have access to recycling facilities can send their empty packaging back to the brand’s office). That might seem silly, but it absolutely backs up the brand promise of 100% organic, high quality, great-tasting products. To convince a shopper to choose branded spinach over a bundle with a PLU twist-tie from the bulk bin, it’s not enough to tout the quality of the product. Organic Girl goes all-in on purity, nutrition, and sustainability.

I’m not advocating for the produce department to look like a plastic festival. But consumers (and I count myself among them) are adopting a different shopping mentality that emphasizes content over value and that opens up so much potential for innovation in packaging design. The future of fresh may be packaged, but the foundation is more about transparency and education so consumers can make better decisions.

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