Brand, Attributes, Outcomes Oh My

A product line purely a second-mover carbon copy of another emerging brand (e.g., Waterloo copying LaCroix) can scale based on grabbing established market share through sales wins. With a very experienced sales team and seed money.  But this won’t create a consumer brand. A brand is an

You’re a Geek. Your Consumers Aren’t.

Most CPG innovators and founders are geeks of some sort. It doesn't matter if the geekiness was professional or amateurish or a committee of both. The point is that you isolated a problem, a gap in your category, and you filled it. Or

Skate Ramp Brands Must Lead with Strategy, Not Finance

I had a breakthrough with a client. He is a finance guy by training. He loves P&L forecasting. He has his finance team do it four times a year.  “We can see problems 30 days in advance,” he claimed, which is true. But here’s the problem: Your P&L

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

Source Volume From Outside Your Category to Win

It's a law of marketing seldom discussed, but first popularized by Byron Sharp many years ago. What's the gist? Well, the evidence shows that consumers with a robust set of brands they're content within a category are much harder to distract with a new brand

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

Top Three Tips for Effective Consumer Marketing

You may have missed Friday’s PGS webinar. You can still register and watch it on demand. But you can also look at this very short list sans any detailed explanation! Consumer Marketing = Consumer Marketing is any branded communication aimed at real humans before they enter

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 Quietly Amazing Case of Butcherbox

Growing 500-600% annually off a small base is the bleeding edge of exponential growth. And ButcherBox quietly did it. It pulled a Chobani as the meat industry incumbents slept.  Fresh meat, as insiders know, is primarily an unbranded space in grocery retail. Most Americans buy unpackaged

The Early-Stage Leadership Curve is Steep

Most fast-growing CPG founders get replaced by the time the brand exits. This is mainly because the amount raised involves so much founder equity dilution deliberately intended by the lead investment firm. They want to take control. Even when they ‘trust’ the founder/CEO, they still