Mind the Gap Between Aspiration and Behavior

If you don't know the behavior driving your brand velocity, you can't optimize marketing, promotions, channel strategy, or much of your 4P playbook.  As I write in Ramping Your Brand, most of your revenue as a CPG brand, especially as an early-stage one, comes from a

Target Takes on Drizly

Target has had an incredible year. The pandemic ended up becoming a huge accelerant for a retailer already doing pretty well in 2019. This week, though, it decided to take on a curious foe: Drizly.  You may have forgotten all about the new up-front alcohol sections

Your Thing Can Work, But Maybe Not the Way You Started

Kara Goldin loves to recount her tale of being laughed at and mocked by ex-Pepsi executives when she discussed selling non-carbonated flavored water. "That'll never work. No one will ever make it for you. Not scalable." These were the knee-jerk operational objections she heard from a mansplaining

Negotiating With Buyers Like a Pro

You probably think the photo here must surely be an exaggerated analogy. But this is only because your physical life is not really at stake when a retailer takes advantage of you. It’s just a business, after all. Yet, I continue to work with clients

Learning Enough to Hire Specialists – The Marketing Director

Founders: before you hire your first marketing director, please read Allan Dib’s classic, no shiny objects allowed, book on marketing planning. Like me, he is an experimentalist. All successful pros are experimenting with their consumer communications. It’s effortless to waste money on campaigns. So be

How Velocity Growth Steepens the Ramp

It is possible to double your store count every year in an exponential ramp up of distribution. If your product is good, you will achieve a stable (i.e., not declining) velocity plateau. Great. You’re doing better than many brands.  This will still appear ‘slow’ to the

The Problem w/Celebrity Involvement in a Startup

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

Seriously, Poach Talent for Key Functions…Don’t Hire Them

It's a truism in professional hiring that you always want to seek out talent that is already employed first. This may seem silly because it gives leverage to the employee, not to the company hiring, but that completely misses the point. The issue you face

From Pandemic to Endemic COVID-19 Sales in CPG

As I prepare for a June COVID-19 update, here’s where my head is at regarding what will be changing in 2021 that may affect your early-stage brand (or not): Sampling – retailers may require pre-packaged samples only, which will increase the costs of this in-store technique