The PGS Blog

Loyalty marketing through the pandemic

Exclusive brand loyalty is the privilege of legacy brands who had years with minimal competition to build an advantage in culture and your mind. Today, though, new CPG brands can expect a few years of sustained intermittent usage before the consumer moves on. This is

Saying No is a Foundation Skill for Founders

You might think saying 'no' is simply the luxury of an established business who has the privilege to turn down an opportunity that isn't dead-on perfect.   But you'd be wrong. Dead wrong.   Saying 'no' is one of the fundamental business skills never taught in any school, let alone in business school. Hah!   It can only really

Walmart Shoppers Don’t Care Much About Premium Goods

It continues to amaze me how many premium CPG startups get sucked into the PR machine of Bentonville, Arkansas. 4,800 stores sound like a ton of volume. Except for the fact that the majority o shoppers who buy their groceries there just don't care about

Using a Retail Account as a Word-of-Mouth Marketing Trigger

In the early years of growing a consumer brand, just getting to $1M in trailing annual sales is a near-death experience for the vast majority of founders. Unicorn velocities bless very few CPG startups. The temptation early on to add together any retail account that

Why You Need a Strategic Review, Not a Re-Brand – Part 1

When early-stage businesses struggle in the premium end of consumer-packaged-goods, a shocking number of founders and operators leap to the conclusion that they need a "brand refresh" or a "re-brand." Look, branding agencies are numerous, and they network heavily at Expo West. They sponsor events

Know Your Strategy Before You Hire an Agency

Agencies are tacticians. They focus on a portion of 1-2 Ps. They have no business claiming to write your business strategy, more specifically, your competitive strategy. Often, they will discuss this as "positioning." Watch out. You have more data than they do on your consumers,

The Bigger Lesson from the Can Shortage

Unfortunately, the unprecedented shortage of aluminum cans contains a figurative lesson for ambitious young beverage entrepreneurs. The lesson is NOT that you should have picked Tetra-Pak. Instead, this is really an extreme distortion of an aluminum can shortage that already existed for the past few

Timing is Key: Be Early, Not Late in CPG

I shared a great article yesterday on LinkedIn about some research done by the least well-known Silicon Valley investor - Bill Gross. His investigation of why his own firm's investments fared so much better in terms of scale/durability than startups out of his reach

The Law of Frito-Lay

I hope their attorneys don't send me a letter. Really. I've consulted multiple times for Frito-Lay North America in the past. Inside they have a culture that is terrifyingly disciplined, built around 8 billion dollar salty snack brands (will Smartfood be the ninth some day?).

Mental Endurance Is Paramount

Premium CPG founders face serious headwinds trying to scale. Most never do. The ones who do scale take 7-10 years on average, though we all get distracted by a tiny group that does it in 2-3 years. This is why I always recommend that founders