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Defining Success Beyond Financial Gain featuring Thereasa Black, Amore Congelato

Gooder Podcast with Thereasa Black

In this episode, I had the privilege of interviewing Thereasa Black, CEO and Founder of Amore Congelato, a start-up gelato brand taking a different approach to treats, community and the definition of success. Thereasa takes us on a journey of being a professionally driven single mom finding a way to develop a dessert that her daughter fell in love with, while Tereasa was deployed overseas, to create a new opportunity for her family and her community. Along the way we explore the hurdles of starting a new food brand with no experience in food or frozen desserts, CPG, or retail.

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis and inspiration of Amore Congelato.
  • How Thereasa’s military experience influences her decision making and level-headedness.
  • How to stay focused on the mission of a company regardless of challenge.
  • To always have a real plan B, ( and C).
  • How leaning into other people and resources can help at every level of business.
  • How to stay inspired when working through unfamiliar situations.
  • That the real key to success is balancing work life with personal life.

She leaves us with a word of advice: “Your drive should be the want to achieve your goals.”

Gooder Podcast

Defining Success Beyond Financial Gain featuring Thereasa Black, Amore Congelato

About Thereasa Black:

Thereasa Black is an attorney, Naval Officer, and the CEO and founder of Amore Congelato, a company that makes all-natural, nutritious gelato and sorbet that contains zero cane sugar.

In March 2018, a month after she was sworn into the Maryland Bar and a week before her daughter’s 2nd birthday, Thereasa was deployed to Djibouti for a 13-month deployment.  This was Thereasa’s 4th deployment, but her first as a mom. Every day away from her daughter was s struggle because her toddler, who believed that Thereasa had dropped her off and moved to a new home, was suffering greatly.

Thereasa knew immediately that she couldn’t deploy again and that returning home and practicing law working 8o hour weeks was also not an option, so she decided to start her own business. She chose gelato in honor of the last food that she and her daughter shared before their long journey apart. Thereasa had made an ice cream cookie cake to celebrate her daughter’s birthday the night before she deployed. It was the first time that her daughter had ice cream and she fell in love with it.

Thereasa decided to make an ice cream that was nutritious so that she would be happy to allow her daughter to eat it. She removed all of the cane sugar and replaced it with a tasty combination of date syrup, agave nectar, and coconut sugar. It has up to 16 essential vitamins and minerals and 24 grams of protein. Now her daughter can enjoy gelato that has more nutrients than kale and Thereasa will never have to leave her side.

Guests Social Media Links:

Email: CEO@amorecongelato.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thereasa-m-black/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amorecongelatofrozenlove/

Instagram: @amore_congelato

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Amore+Congelato&sp=EiG4AQHCARtDaElKT19UdkVqMVB0b2tSLTJXTkdvWjBlU1E%253D

Show Resources:

Amore Congelato: Gelato sweetened with dates, coconut sugar, and agave nectar. Zero cane sugar.

Stacy’s Rise Project: 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.

HelloAlice: Step-by-step guides, expert resources, and collaborative communities of fellow entrepreneurs – all for free.

MassChallenge: MassChallenge was founded in 2009 with a singular purpose – to make it as easy as possible for entrepreneurs to launch and grow new ventures.

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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Naturals Brands: You’re Missing Your Biggest Target Audience

In the hypercompetitive naturals category, brands define the natural consumer in a very narrow way: rich, suburban, white, educated, able-bodied, and already healthy.

But that overlooks a huge audience of consumers just waiting for these brands to find them.

Naturals brands are tripping over each other to reach the same defined audience. These consumers are fickle, quick to flip from one brand to the next. In other words, companies are fighting with each other and spending tons of money to reach the same volatile market.

Why?

If you’re a marketer in this category, we’d like to introduce you to a different group of consumers hungry for your better-than products: low- and middle-income families.

Consumers of Modest Means & Why They Matter to Brands

You may imagine that your prototypical fan is a suburban white mom active on Instagram and into health and fitness. So your better-for-you product might be just right for her. But she doesn’t really need your brand.

Who does? Consumers of more modest means who actually need products that can help them lead healthier lives.

These consumers look different from your model fan. These families are more likely to be of color, disabled, or LGBTQ+. They live in urban or rural—not wealthy suburban—areas, where access to healthy food choices is more limited. There are myriad reasons—financial, cultural, logistical—why these folks think differently about health and wellness than the consumer you’re currently reaching.

Before you dismiss the idea of connecting with them, realize this: While spending power remains concentrated with upper-class shoppers, the middle and lower class represent a far greater portion of the population. As of 2018, 52% of American adults qualified in the middle class and 29% in the lower class. There’s a vast market to be tapped.

And as Emily Brown of the Food Equality Initiative told me in our recent discussion for my Gooder podcast, these consumers are incredibly brand loyal—because their spending habits and budgets don’t allow for shopping around. Once they land on a product or brand their families prefer, they stick with it.

Why Are These Consumers Overlooked?

These folks are out there—why don’t marketers see them?

A big part of it is innate bias in our industry. In the natural food and beverage category, marketing is all about finding your “tribe”—consumers who buy into your brand’s values and see your products as a way to express their affiliation with those values. We assume those fellow tribe members are just like us. We don’t see consumers who don’t look like us, and most of us are white, educated, and reasonably well to do.

The early adopters of natural food and beverage products were a bunch of 1960s and ’70s countercultural hippies who were concerned about the commercialization of food and farming and who advocated for whole, unaltered, healthy food. Then and now, founder-owners of better-for-you companies tend to be entrepreneurs with enough capital to launch, manufacture, and scale a business—and executives and investors in the category are predominantly white and wealthy as well. Our category is a closed-loop.

So what has this navel-gazing approach to product development and marketing yielded?

  • High price points for products that aim to benefit people and planet
  • Flavor profiles and niche ingredients that aren’t widely appealing
  • Exclusive channel strategies that don’t bring products to the consumers who might want them
  • An implicit belief that only white suburban folks want to live healthy lifestyles

In short, the naturals industry has evolved beyond the reach of people who are new to the idea of eating whole, healthy foods.

How to Reach Low- and Middle-Income Buyers

Here’s the upside: Naturals brands, with their powerful missions to improve lives, should find it easy—indeed, critical—to reach these underserved audiences. If you’re a thriving naturals brand, you’ve already invested in the consumer education platform of your Brand Ecosystem—it’s the very foundation of your communication strategy. You know how important it is to teach people why your brand matters and what your products can do for them.

Mission and education: Check. So it should be an easy lift to reach out to a broader audience.

A couple of points to think about:

Understand who these consumers are. Shift your research mindset from transactional (who buys what) to empathetic (what do they need in their lives). The right syndicated consumer data exists; you just have to ask for it in different ways. Seek research that shows where, why, and how these kinds of consumers shop. Collaborate with retail partners that have access to that information; they’re also interested in reaching that consumer.

Reach them where they are. Our category shares so much education, but it’s pointed to people who already buy into our brands, not to people who are early in the journey. Don’t ostracize them; welcome them with information that’s helpful to their lives and interests. Same goes for product development. Consumers of modest means may be taking small steps toward eating healthier and may not care about ingredients like kale or chia or Himalayan salt. A baked corn chip may be the ideal option, for example, for the consumer who wants an alternative to fried snacks but isn’t keen on organic vegan lentil puffs.

Get samples into their hands. On a limited budget, a middle-class mom can’t afford to try three different healthy snacks to figure out which one her kids will like. So find ways to get a free trial to her. Once she’s formed a preference for your product, she’ll stick with it.

Get over your high-priced mindset. Leaders in this market attach too much clout to offering an expensive product. Drop the snobbery. The idea that people with restricted income won’t buy is false. When they’re shopping a category where they don’t have a brand affinity, they will buy on price—but if they have a brand preference, they will always spend on that product. They just have to feel a connection to the brand.

There’s nothing wrong with creating a niche product that’s more expensive—but if you’re mission-driven and trying to save people and planet, then your goal should be to go mainstream, expand your market, cost engineer production, and lower your retail price.

Embrace a vision that’s big enough that your goal is to get your product into everyone’s hands. And if you’re not quite sure how to make that happen – drop me a line.

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.

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Food and Beverage Innovation, Begins and Ends with People featuring Natalie Shmulik, The Hatchery

Gooder Podcast featuring Natalie Shmulik

In this episode of Gooder I had the privilege of interviewing Natalie Shmulik, CEO of The Hatchery, a food incubator just outside downtown Chicago. The Hatchery is a powerful initiative that brings a community of innovators along the entrepreneurial path and launches the dreams of owning and running a business to communities that have not traditionally had this access. We learn about the resources The Hatchery provides and how we as a community can provide our expertise, in big and small ways. And why Natalie believes in the power of community.

“Whenever speaking with an entrepreneur, you should always make sure that if you are going to provide feedback or input or a suggestion, that you coach them to believe that the idea was their own.”

In this episode we learn:

* The genesis of The Hatchery and why it is fast becoming a beloved innovation partner to the food and beverage industry.
* The common challenges of budding and small entrepreneurial food and beverage brands.
* Why exciting innovation comes from under-represented entrepreneurial brands.
* About the symbiotic co-learning traditional CPG’s and entrepreneurial brands share in their journey with The Hatchery.
* How coach-ability is a make-or-break trait for leaders and how to vet for coach-ability in your recruiting process.
* How to become a Hatchery brand or partner.
* About Natalie’s trend forecasting super-powers and how it supports The Hatchery’s entrepreneurs.

Gooder Podcast

Food and Beverage Innovation, Begins and Ends with People featuring Natalie Shmulik, The Hatchery

About Natalie Shmulik:

Natalie Shmulik is The Hatchery’s CEO, and go-to resource for everything food business related. Along with an M.L.A. in Gastronomy from Boston University, she has a wide range of experience working with supermarkets, culinary publications, consumer packaged goods companies, and food service establishments. After successfully operating her own restaurant, Natalie was hired as a specialty consultant for one of Ontario’s largest supermarket chains where she enhanced consumer experiences through educational initiatives. Discovering her passion for innovation, Natalie was brought on as a brand strategist for the first cold brew tea company and later moved to Chicago to run The Hatchery Chicago.

With over six years of food incubation experience, Natalie has gained a unique perspective on the industry and what it takes to launch and grow a successful business. Natalie is a regular contributor to Food Business News, was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune’s 10 Business People to Watch in 2020 and received the Specialty Food Association’s award for leadership in vision. She continues to play a valuable role in branding and marketing for food businesses around the country, with her specialty in trend forecasting.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/natalie-shmulik-1432313b/

Email: info@thehatcherychicago.org

Show Notes:

The Hatchery:  A non-profit food and beverage incubator dedicated to helping local entrepreneurs build & grow successful businesses.

ICNC: Industria Council of Nearwest Chicago offers entrepreneurs an innovative community to grow small businesses through incubation, workforce development, neighborhood planning, and business advising.

ACCION: A nonprofit microlender providing small businesses with loans at an early stage, particularly to support those that aren’t bankable yet.

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.

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Leading a Family Owned CPG Through Change featuring Kim Gibson Clark, Coconut Bliss

Gooder Podcast featuring Kim Gibson Clark

In today’s episode I had the privilege of interviewing Kim Gibson Clark, CEO of Coconut Bliss, a fearless woman and a great leader. Kim takes us on the journey of growing up in a farming family and how those principles translate to her leadership style and apply to the direction she is taking her brand towards.

In this episode we learn:

  • The genesis of Coconut Bliss – and learn more about Luna & Larry.
  • How Kim’s upbringing impacts the operational and social initiatives of the brand.
  • How the HumanCo partnership allows Coconut Bliss to advance their sustainability and environmental initiatives while evolving and to meet the needs of the modern diverse consumer.
  • How having an open mind and leading with love – allows the brand to have powerful and productive conversations.
  • Why converting the family farm business, from conventional to organic, is a bigger initiative than simply making a better-for-you product.
  • How immigrants are key to the success of farming and ranching and advancing the organic movement.
  • The plans that Coconut Bliss has to expand social and business initiatives.
  • About a fun and new innovative product delivery and product offerings to engage with consumers in a new way.
Gooder Podcast

Leading a Family Owned CPG Through Change featuring Kim Gibson Clark, Coconut Bliss

About Kim Gibson Clark:

As a leader in local, national and global communities, Kim Gibson Clark has led Coconut Bliss as CEO since 2010. Throughout her time at Coconut Bliss, Kim has influenced real and impactful action in key areas, such as Coconut Bliss’ operations as an environmentally conscious company, creating transparency and insight into food production, and spotlighting the importance of supporting local and family-run businesses. As President and CEO, Kim is proud to have led Coconut Bliss’ transformation from a locally beloved ice cream company to one of the most acclaimed sustainable plant-based companies in the United States.

Kim is a board member of Oregon Tilth and Lane Food and Beverage Sector Strategies, working to make the state’s food and agriculture biologically sound and socially equitable through the initiatives of certification, education and advocacy. She is also a board member of Oregon Support Living Program (OSLP), which works to empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, bringing them into the fold of their communities. Prior to working with Coconut Bliss, Kim spent eight years as General Manager of Lochmead Dairy, where Coconut Bliss Pints and Cookie Sandwiches are manufactured. Throughout her career in the frozen dessert industry she has developed an unwavering standard for quality, and a commitment to organic and sustainable business and ingredient sourcing practices.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kim-gibson-clark-a570066b

Email: Kim@CoconutBliss.com

Show Resources:

Coconut Bliss – At Coconut Bliss, all of our products contain organic ingredients that are minimally processed, ethically sourced and divinely delicious. Every dairy-free, plant-based pint, ice cream bar, and cookie sandwich is crafted with our signature care and commitment. Even our packaging is plant-based and sustainable! With a belief in quality over quantity, community, organic ingredients, and doing good for the world we try to make everything we do blissful.

HumanCo – a mission-driven private holding company that invests in and builds brands focused on healthier living and sustainability.

WAND Water Agroforestry Nutrition Development Foundation – The WAND Foundation provides social development programs with an emphasis on biodiversity, the environmental and agricultural sectors, and rural entrepreneurship for local communities in the Philippines. In collaboration with Science for Humanity, WAND aims to explore the use of treated household waste as fertilizer for crops and vegetation.

B-Corp – Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Loop – Loop Industries, Inc. is a technology company whose mission is to accelerate the world’s shift toward sustainable PET plastic and fiber and away from our dependence on fossil fuels. Loop owns patented and proprietary technology that depolymerizes no and low value waste PET plastic and polyester fiber, including plastic bottles and packaging, carpets and textiles of any colour, transparency or condition and even ocean plastics that have been degraded by the sun and salt, to its base building blocks (monomers). The monomers are filtered, purified and polymerized to create virgin-quality Loop™ branded PET resin and polyester fiber suitable for use in food-grade packaging, thus enabling our customers to meet their sustainability objectives. Loop is contributing to the global movement toward a circular economy by raising awareness about the importance of preventing and recovering waste plastic from the environment to ensure plastic stays in the economy for a more sustainable future for all.

Project Drawdown (Paul Hawkens) – The World’s Leading Resource for Climate Solutions. Founded in 2014, Project Drawdown® is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “Drawdown”— the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline.

Monteez – Insanely delicious plant-based dairy staples you won’t want to live without.

Miyokos – Founded on the principle of compassion for all living beings, we’re on a mission to craft dairy products we all love, 100% from plants, making them kinder, greener and tastier than ever before.

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.

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Bevnet’s Office Hours: Design Workshop – Current Trends in CPG Package Design with David Lemley

David Lemley had a chance to sit on this panel with Kate Ruffing and Kara Nielsen and share thoughts on how brands and design will be impacted by the events of 2020.

This Office Hours episode focuses on the ways that brand design has been influenced — for good or ill — by the tumultuous events of the past 8 months: COVID-19, social and societal turmoil, changes to retailing and D2C environments, and the growth and emergence of new branding conventions that have been derided as “Blands.” This is a great talk for companies that are thinking about the look of their packaging and labels, who are thinking about the overall positioning of the visual aspects of their products, or who want to match their innovations with their brand design.

Jeff Klineman, the Editor-in-Chief of BevNET, hosts the panel discussion, including trendologist Kara Nielsen, who is the director of food and beverage insights with WGSN, David Lemley, the president of branding firm Retail Voodoo, and Flashpoint Strategy Consulting founder Kate Ruffing. The Office Hours live audience had a front-row, interactive seat and asked questions on everything from nuts-and-bolts questions about design to a deep exploration of branding trends for food and beverage companies.

Sign into BevNet to watch full episode 

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 Unseen, Unheard and Misunderstood Naturals Consumer featuring Emily Brown, Food Equality Initiative

Imagine. You’ve recently lost your job and your infant (going on toddler) has a medical emergency that uncovers and undiagnosed condition. You child has a life-threatening allergy to several of the top known allergens. You have been relying on donations from the food services to bridge the unemployment gap. Most of the products you have access to at the food bank are filled with allergens you cannot have in your home. And your grocery bill, has just tripled from the new products you are putting in your cart. What do you do?

If you are Emily Brown, Founder and CEO of the Food Equality Initiative, you start a movement. The story of Emily and her family is a reality for many families around the world. These BFY allergen-free consumers that have (modest) incomes/budgets, are the least fickle and most loyal consumers in the market. And yet – brands are not paying attention to them. A missed opportunity by the naturals community that collectively identifies their target consumer as white, suburban, and middle- to upper-income families.

This episode exposes an opportunity for brands to see and fill the unmet needs of families most in need of their brands expertise.

In this episode, we learn:

  • What the Food Equality Initiative program is.
  • The practical and financial impacts on a family with a member living with a food allergy.
  • The percentage of families suffering from life-threatening food allergies across different races and ethnicities.
  • Why families in need, especially those with allergies, are the most loyal consumers in the marketplace.
  • Why families in need are afraid to ask for help.
  • How to understand the spending mindset of families with the leanest budgets.
  • How technology is changing the way they care for families in need.
  • How the Food Equality Initiative is partnering with brands and federal nutrition programs to educate and increase awareness about support programs.
Gooder Podcast

The Unseen, Unheard and Misunderstood Naturals Consumer featuring Emily Brown, Food Equality Initiative

About Emily Brown:

Emily Brown is an expert at turning adversity into opportunity. She is Founder and CEO of Food Equality Initiative, Inc.(FEI), a Kansas nonprofit founded in 2014 to address disparities in access to allergy friendly foods. Under her leadership, FEI established the nation’s first allergy friendly and gluten free food pantry. Since then, FEI has become a leader in the movement to increase access to healthy “free-from” foods and has distributed over $100,000 worth of foods to families in Kansas City.

Not wanting her efforts to simply be a “band aid” to an increasingly widespread health issue, Emily works to increase education, policy change and civic engagement to create real systemic change in the fight against access to safe and healthy food. Emily regularly shares her passion and experience as a national speaker under her platform Emily Brown Speaks. Promoting all forms of healthy food accesses including fresh fruits and vegetables, allergy friendly options and breastmilk; the first food.

Active in her community, Emily regularly participates in the Greater KC
Food Policy Coalition, is Co-Chair of Children’s Mercy Hospital’s (CMH) Food Allergy Family Patient Advisory Council (FAFPAC),CMH Family Advisory Board(FAB), CMH Hunger-Free Hospital Taskforce, Secretary of the Eugene Ware Elementary PTA and member of the KU Medical School Admissions Task Force.

Emily resides in Kansas City, KS with her family where she enjoys gardening, cooking with love and a good book.

Website: https://foodequalityinitiative.org/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-brown-866092a7/

Show Resources

Food Equality Initiative – Founded in 2014 by Emily Brown, Food Equality Initiative (FEI) is the nation’s leading organization working to increase access to allergy friendly and gluten free foods to individuals who need them the most. FEI is a registered 501(c)(3) that collaborates with healthcare providers, local and national nonprofit organizations, government agencies, schools and food manufacturers to help clients.

Poor and minority children with food allergies are overlooked and in danger – Washington Post

Free-From Foods Have Become a Movement – Food Processing

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.

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Reimagining Well Being Snacking with Brigette Wolf, Mondelēz International

Gooder Podcast with Brigette Wolf

Brigette Wolf is the Global Head of SnackFutures, Mondelēz International’s innovation and venture hub. She is a solutions-oriented, forward-thinking disruptor in the snacking space committed to reorienting the way food and beverage brands talk about snacking by making it a more holistic and wellness-oriented experience. She is on – a – mission.

Brigette and I discuss how she successfully led the development of this new SnackFutures division inside of Mondelēz, bringing global resources, teams, thinking and a new way of talking about healthy food inside the world of snacking.

In this episode, we learn:

  • Why Mondelēz took the plunge into better-for-you with SnackFutures, and what they’re up to.
  • How great teamwork and great culture have aided the success SnackFutures.
  • About the impact of SnackFutures sustainability initiatives.
  • What’s driving innovation in mainstream better-for-you snacking.
  • How serving consumers and employees adds value to the business.
  • What’s driving big CPG to better embrace healthy snacking, healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.
  • About the impact that Gen Z has on plant-based snacking.
  • Why we need to make healthy living affordable to all consumers.
Gooder Podcast

Reimagining Well Being Snacking with Brigette Wolf, Mondelēz International

About Brigette Wolf:

Brigette Wolf is the Global Head of SnackFutures, Mondelēz International’s innovation and venture hub.

Since its creation in 2018, Brigette has led the creation of a cross-functional ecosystem of partners around the world, launched SnackFutures’ first market hub in Australia and created five completely new brands that are currently being piloted in the US and Europe.

Brigette has played a key role in advancing the company’s innovation agenda since its inception in 2012 serving as the senior director of Global Platform Innovation for Gum, Candy and Biscuits – leading the development and launch of Trident Vibes as well as brand manager for Belvita. Brigette’s history with the company also goes back to Kraft Foods with roles including the Global Innovation Manager for Oreo and working across several of the pizza and meal brands.

Prior to being part of the food industry, Brigette worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston.

Brigette received her undergraduate degrees from The University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School and her MBA from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brigetterwolf/

Show Resources:

Mondelēze – Mondelez International, Inc., often stylized as Mondelēz, is an American multinational confectionery, food, holding and beverage and snack food company consisting of former Kraft Foods Inc brands. Owners of some of the most iconic brands in the world, including Oreo, Tang Tobelerone, Halls, Mirla, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Cadbury and more.SnackFutures – SnackFutures is Mondelēz International’s new innovation hub that is dedicated to unlocking emerging snacking opportunities around the world. SnackFutures will capitalize on new trends and mobilize entrepreneurial talent and technologies to build and grow small brands with large-scale potential, and leverage other growth opportunities across snacking.

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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Before You Redesign Your Naturals Brand, Do This

As we turn the last few pages on the calendar, you and your marketing team are working on your final initiatives for this year and planning for 2021. If you’re eyeing a redesign for your company’s natural food or beverage brand, allow us to make a suggestion:

Work on the brand strategy first.

No doubt, as a veteran marketer, you’ve worked on or overseen more packaging for consumer brands than you can count. You have an eye for design and a nose for trends. The systems you’ve created may have scored raves on The Dieline and generated a boost in sales.

And yet, the consumer landscape has changed. Brands are no longer built through communication and design tactics; they emerge from the experiences they create that produce a gut-level preference for a brand among its fans. Design, while important is transient, reactive, and subordinate to whatever medium you are using to communicate.

We’ve seen this play out in our 10-year transition from award-winning design firm to strategic brand-builders. And we can guarantee this: Your creative vision and design expertise will lead to Beloved & Dominant status when they’re layered on top of a strong strategic foundation for the brand.

Brand Strategy Begets Package & Logo Design

Typically, when brand leaders come to us for help addressing challenges or opportunities (tough competition, or potential growth or investment), they’re convinced that they need a visual makeover. Pretty quickly, we help the marketing and leadership teams understand that their need is strategic first. The entire communication roadmap—what we call the Brand Ecosystem—depends on three foundational elements:

The brand’s mission: the problem in the world or in consumers’ lives that it exists to solve.

The brand’s environment: competitors, retail space (both online and in-store), consumer behaviors.

The brand’s culture: the internal mindset that drives the organization.

A well-defined mission, a firm grasp on the brand’s world, and a unified internal culture provide focus—guardrails if you will—for every business decision. From a marketing perspective, strategy prevents arbitrary design decisions based on whim or preference or trend. Imagine developing an enduring visual identity for the brand that connects deeply and intuitively with a growing tribe of passionate believers. Imagine creating a packaging system that doesn’t need to be updated every 18 months when a new look dominates Instagram—but rather endures for five or more years and flexes to accommodate new products.

Brand Strategy Allows for Bold Design Decisions

Among all the communication channels in the Brand Ecosystem, packaging is extra important because it’s often the first touchpoint a consumer has with the brand. And it has a long tail: She’ll engage with it after she makes the purchase and brings the product home.

Designing boxes and bags and bottles for natural food and beverage products is exciting, energizing work. It’s also incredibly frustrating because you’re roped in by the visual and structural conventions of the category. A package has to communicate so much information from a distance (defining the category, like popcorn or energy bar or enhanced water) and up close (whispering in the shopper’s ear and convincing her to buy).

When everyone in the category plays by the same rules, it’s a recipe for sameness. Look no further than the “anti-brands” popular on Instagram, and you’ll see what we mean. This proliferation of products packaged in pale pink with simple serif type isn’t branding; it’s blanding. When the retail set is full of indistinguishable products, only big-budget advertising campaigns or bottom-line-chewing discounts will persuade the customer to buy.

Beloved & Dominant brands don’t chase trends. They use strategy—a higher calling, a deep understanding of their place in their fans’ lives, a passion for excellence—to make bold design moves that other brands are afraid of. Confident in their beliefs and engaged with their consumers, they break out of the category conventions to create packaging that not only makes a splash, it makes sense.

Creative Plays a Key Role in Strategic Planning

We believe that design and marketing rest on a solid strategic foundation, but those disciplines aren’t mutually exclusive. Creative input is mission-critical as part of our brand strategy process.

We engage key members across the client’s organization to collaboratively build insights that will fuel a creative translation. (That said – I’ve had experiences in my career when I’ve been tasked with design based on a strategy I had no say in. It’s simply not an optimal situation for creating great work.)

For us, brand strategy isn’t just about crunching consumer data, scouting the competition, and dissecting the R&D process. It’s about creating a common vision, a singular path, and a shared language. Those tools make it easier to develop creative output—whether that’s a logo or a social media campaign—because they innately define goals and outcomes. They streamline input and approval because everyone’s using the same playbook.

Building a Beloved & Dominant Brand

When a unified vision for the brand translates into breakthrough creative, the results are so much more powerful than an aimless redesign:

  1. Your brand will act, look, and sound different from everyone else in the category.
  2. Your value propositions will scare the daylights out of your competitors because they can’t achieve what you have.
  3. Your sales team’s pitch to retailers and distributors will be easier; retail managers will “get” the brand and look to your team as partners, not vendors.
  4. You’ll spend less on retail promotion and advertising because you look and behave differently.
  5. You’ll sustain or regain relevance with consumers.

Creating breakout results for the business you support, disrupting the category, building a brand that changes the world—brash goals like these require vision. Bucking the trends with clarity and confidence based on mission and strategy will elevate your brand to Beloved & Dominant. We’ve walked lots of veteran marketers down this path. Let’s talk about how we can help your team.

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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FoodNavigator-USA Summit 2020: Food for Kids: David Lemley Keynote: How To Build A Brand Kids and Parents Will Love

School closures – and tentative re-openings – have compounded stress levels for families, while COVID-19-induced economic anxiety is also straining household budgets. So how can food and beverage brands come up with enticing – but affordable – recipes, products and culinary solutions to make life easier for parents when long-established routines have been upended?

What does the ‘new normal’ look like for families and has this crisis given a boost to direct to consumer brands targeting babies, toddlers, and young children? Will the recent growth in interest in kids’ multivitamins continue, or is it risky to assume that buying patterns in 2020 provides a useful indicator of where consumers are heading in 2021?

Find out the answers at FoodNavigator-USA’s third Food for Kids summit – which is transitioning from our usual face-to-face event to an interactive broadcast series.

The series will bring five category-focused events, including:

  • The Consumer Panel
  • Kids and the Plant-Based Trend
  • Beverage Trends
  • Innovation in Action… Meet the Trailblazers
  • Meeting Children’s Nutritional Needs, from Foods to Supplements

Watch the On-Demand Event Now

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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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.

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