The PGS Blog

Making Weird Acceptable is One Use of Language

 In my book – Ramping Your Brand – there is a line that gets at the fundamental danger in CPG innovation, the fundamental threat to above-average memorability in a crowded, oversupplied marketplace. “Rarity in its purest form—rare ingredients, rare flavors, rare sensory textures, rare symbols, and rare consumer

Sell-through Data for Strategic Planning

One of the more common portals to cash register data for retail sales is the SPINS Satori portal. SPINS will sell you data on your brand through Satori, account by account. The original intent was to support your sales team by giving you competitive intelligence

The Problem with Growing Too Slowly

Although I caution against chasing unicorns, this is not meant to validate any brand's growth rate in the single digits, YoY. This slow growth rate may be in line with the premium CPG sector overall, and it may be much faster than commodity brands in most

The Price of Impatience is Steep

When you are new to an industry and your company is young, stakeholders don't take you too seriously or are extremely indifferent to your existence. Initially. And as you play marketer, finance whiz, sales guy, and ops lead, you get overwhelmed. You feel amateurish. Things seem

Initial Thoughts on Exponential Growth Finance

If you read the national startup rags online, you will continually see pre-seed and seed raises in the millions of dollars. This is unlikely in CPG because most investors know the low margins AND the slower pace to scale common in the sector.  This leads to

Why You Need Dry Powder if You’re Growing Fast

A general rule in startup finance you may have heard before is: growth solves most financial problems. Why? Growth provides the cash flow to cover your fixed costs, allowing you to spend more gross profits on activities that service increased demand. Fixed costs are the non-variable operational

How and How NOT to Use a Celebrity Investor

I think Leonard DiCaprio has invested in upwards of 10 consumer startups alone. Don’t quote me on that. However, his funding of Grizzly Man’s suicidal misadventures (Timothy Treadwell) should give you some pause for reflection.   What is the most influential role a celebrity can play in

The Two Marketings Explained

You’re forgiven if you get confused by how business folks use the word ‘marketing.’ It seems to stretch far in scope of meaning.  Most of the time, it gets used in the little ‘m’ sense: marketing as a set of communication activities serving a larger business

Key Components of a CPG Strategic Plan

You may have heard the phrase “strategic plan” before. I talk about it a lot. Because it’s the front half of any good business plan, but it is the most poorly thought-out part of most business plans among CPG startups. The ones I’ve looked at seem

What Founders Need to Learn, If They Didn’t Go to B-School

Here’s a clip of my podcast interview with Prof. Tom Eisenmann of Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, author of Why Startups Fail. Aired in June on Startup Confidential – the interview is available on all major podcast platforms. Believe it or not, founders with prior business operating experience