Nothing happens until someone buys your product and shoppers can’t buy what they can’t find. The path to sustainable sales and getting your product in the hands of more shoppers is critical to increasing sustainable food production and sales. It is a key to more organic farming, healthy product innovation, reducing obesity and food allergies, and supporting a food ecosystem that is sustainable beyond tomorrow.
Nowhere is this more true than in natural. The competitive landscape is changing and the old strategies simply are not enough. Natural brands and retailers need to become more strategic. This does not mean compromising their principles. On the contrary, this is their strength and their principles should be at the heart of every strategy. This means focusing on the value they create and leveraging it at retail and with consumers. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for quality healthy products. Healthy products are responsible for most all of the growth across every category and across every channel.
Here are some of the secrets you will learn:
How to maximize your relationship with your brokers, distributors and retailers
Insider secrets – – what the big brands know
How to create a compelling sales story for retailers
Strategies to significantly increase your chance of success and ROI
How to make sense of all the data and use it to your competitive advantage
Step by step instructions of what to do, and what not to do
How to identify key opportunities to expand your distribution and improve your merchandising
Why most brands fail and how to avoid the common pitfalls
Actionable insights and brand-building strategies to grow your brand
Read the introduction below
BRAND SECRETS & STRATEGIES
The retail how-to guide
to getting your brand on the shelf
and keeping it there
This book is dedicated to the entrepreneurial spirit in each of us. It’s a roadmap to brand success. While my passion, expertise and primary focus is in the organic and natural industry, the brand building strategies and secrets contained within, are applicable to any CPG company looking for effective ways to increase consumer loyalty and grow profits and sales. Brands and retailers who make or sell products dedicated to healthy living will find this information particularly helpful. This book will provide you with strategic solutions to expand your distribution, grow sales and assist you with getting your products in the hands of loyal shoppers who align with the values of your brand or store.
I’ve traveled the country working with, mentoring, and speaking to brands and retailers who have repeatedly asked me to write a book and/or to produce a program to help them grow and reach more consumers. This book is much more than a compilation of my many articles. More than 250 of my articles have been published in the leading trade publications. All of my content is focused on helping brands and retailers compete head-to-head with the most sophisticated brands and retailers in the world. This is how I am giving back and striving to make our healthy way of life more accessible.
This comprehensive guide is a deep dive into the key components that drive sales, shopper loyalty, and profits. It includes rich examples, tips, and best-practice strategies that will enable you to instantly begin seeing tangible results. I’ve organized it so that you can dive in and get answers to your most pressing questions or you can start at the beginning and soak it all in. A word of caution. I find that no brand does everything perfectly. It’s always helpful to review your current strategies to see what you could be doing better. This guide will help you here as well.
I’ve had the privilege of working with, supporting, and being the Category Captain for some of the most iconic brands on the planet at the largest retailers in the country. In addition, I’ve worked with brands and retailers at every level of development from start-ups to established legacy brands and retailers across every channel. I’ve seen first-hand what works and what does not. I’ve seen first-hand the impact from these advanced strategies and how they improve shopper satisfaction. What you will learn are the best secrets, strategies, and solutions to grow your brand.
There is a seismic shift coming to the natural retail landscape. Our industry will continue to become more competitive, especially as brands migrate into mainstream retailers. Furthermore, several key natural retailers are begging to adopt more advanced strategies and practices. If you are a natural brand or retailer, it is critical that you adopt a more strategic approach if you want to survive and get your products in the hands of loyal shoppers. This will create a dramatic change to the go-to-market strategies used by natural brands and retailers.
The category management strategies used by mainstream brands and retailers is night-and-day different than the strategies used in natural. This is partially due to the dramatic difference in available resources in natural and the way traditional methods overlook the committed natural shopper. It is also due to the way category management is practiced in natural. I have yet to attend a natural business school, seminar, or program that will begin to prepare natural brands and retailers to compete effectively at this level. How do I know this?
I am the first person certified at the highest level of category management proficiency – Certified Professional Strategic Advisor (CPSA). Secondly, and most important, I focus on how the committed natural consumer shops, makes purchase decisions, what is important to them – their values, and how they are driving every key health-focused trend. The core natural consumer reads labels, understands what they are putting in their mouth, how it supports their nutritional goals, is focused on local and reducing their carbon foot print, knows the difference between Non-GMO and Organic, etc.
This does not mean that natural brands and retailers need to “sell out” or in any way, move away from their core beliefs and mission. On the contrary, that is their most important asset. I coined the term “True Category Management” to raise the bar and differentiate the way these advanced strategies are used in natural. In the most simple terms, “True Category Management” helps natural shoppers align with and be found by consumers who share similar beliefs, values and vision.
The bottom line is that if you want to play at this level
you need to be at this level.
This guide will help you get there.
Natural brands and retailers need to adopt a more strategic and collaborative approach to the way they work with each other.
Generically speaking, retailers don’t make anything. They sell other company’s products. Retailers cannot possibly be experts on all of the products and categories they sell. Retailers sell real-estate in the form of shelf space. It is therefore imperative that they have the right assortment of products on their shelves to maximize sales and shopper satisfaction. The best way for retailers to achieve this is to partner with brands and to leverage their expertise in the categories they sell products in.
This is good news for progressive brands willing and interested in taking a leadership role in their categories and with their retail partners. The competitive landscape is growing increasingly more challenging and the big differentiator is a solid strategic plan – “True Category Management”.
Natural brands need to be experts. Expert in their products, the categories they sell in, their competition, the retailer’s competition, the consumers who purchase their products, what those shoppers purchase when their brand is in their shopping basket, etc. Savvy retailers need and want help from their brand partners to guide and support them in all of these areas and more.
How do brands achieve this?
By leveraging actionable data, advanced analytics, consumer/shopper insights, and forward-thinking strategies in every selling situation with retailers. Canned topline reports lack critical actionable insights and are not enough to differentiate brands. The harsh reality is that most retailers already know how brands are performing. Retailers want insights that they can’t gain through their internal data. They also need brands who are willing and able to partner with them and help them grow and compete more effectively.
The good news for natural brands is that natural organic products are responsible for the sustainable growth in most every category across all channels. True Category Management is how you grow sales in any economy and in any channel.
Important lessons for the natural channel
The natural channel is the incubator for the healthy living, better-for-you, movement. The opportunities are great for any company willing to invest in its future and willing to take a leadership role in our industry. This means maximizing all available resources, owning every part of the sales process, relying more heavily on your own sales people than on brokers and distributors, maximizing your merchandising, developing targeted marketing programs that drive customer traffic and increase shopper loyalty, and paying particular attention to your core consumer’s wants and needs.
To recap, the recipe and roadmap for success is:
•Owning every part of the sales process
•Making a strategic investment in technology and talent
•Leveraging consumer/shopper insights throughout the selling process
•A passionate commitment to your core consumers’ wants and needs
•The courage to take a leadership role in the industry and category
•A commitment to never become complacent, always striving for improvement and growth
•A commitment to developing a collaborative relationship between retailers and brands
Continued daily progress toward these important objectives will net tremendous results. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. It’s progress, not perfection, that will set you apart from your competition.
The comprehensive guide is broken into these focus areas:
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