startups Tag

How Trader Joe’s Survived COVID-19 Without Online Services…

Wait. What? TJ's doesn't do curbside pickup? Curbside bag dump? Won't let Instacart inside? Really? They must be bankrupt by now? Yeah, Yeah, this is where my mind went in summer when I discovered that Trader Joe's made no precisely no changes to its no

Get Real on Barriers to Premium Uptake in Retail

I know “barriers” is a downer word, but it’s not just a marketing concept. It’s one of the more sobering realities entrepreneurs must face as they pursue growth. Deny barriers to trying your brand at your peril. Some premium innovations have few obstacles to uptake

The Buyer is a Curiously Important Ally

From Episode 35 of Startup Confidential: So many founders, early on, they get sucked into what I would call a distributor first mentality, all hail the distributor. And that is because it’s often the only way into many of the retailers that you have available to

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

The Fallacy of Counting Doors

Door-counting is easy to pick on as a completely common, yet non-strategic, 'metric.' Door counting is the easiest public way to suggest growth without divulging your actual trailing revenue to your competitors. The problem is two fold. 1- Not every door is created equal in retail.

Making Weird Acceptable

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,

An Eerie Thanksgiving

America is entering the worst phase of the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic. Ironically, it may be our obsession with individual 'freedom' that empowers both the intrepid entrepreneur's willingness to take risks beyond the comfort zone of one's family and friends AND the virulent spread of the virus

Why You Need a Strategic Review, Not a Re-Brand : Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I explained why a branding update/tweak is, unfortunately, the go-to solution for too many founders when the business does not perform to expectations, stagnant, or declining. It's literally as easy as the next packaging run and a web update.

Tips on Working with Branding Agencies from a Pro

"How we first communicate with the world is the work we do with a branding agency" TJ McIntyre, CEO of Bobo's What are the core functions of a branding agency? Packaging and brand identity (Logo, trademark, characters/mascots, color schemes, and other brand symbolism) are the