The Spotlight Winter 2021 - Startup CPG

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SPOTLIGHT Holiday Special


Amazon Seller Best Practices for the Holidays






Letter from the Editor

05 Meet the Startup CPGer Peter Boyajian 06 Otherworld Founders’ Early Learnings 10

Navigating Holiday Shipping

12 Gift Guides 101 16 Inside Mondelēz SnackFutures 18 The Making of Oat Haus 22 Best Practices for Executing a Seasonal Flavor 25 Community Feature: Chewma 28 Green friday The Eco-Friendly Alternative to Black Friday 30 Amazon Seller Tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 33 5 Tips for Advertising During the Holidays




DEAR STARTUP CPG COMMUNITY, Happy almost-holidays! As 2021 comes to a close, we leave you with the gift (excuse the lack of wrapping) of this year’s final edition of The Spotlight. In this edition, you will find tips for making the most out of BFCM, learn how to launch your first Pumpkin-Spice-flavored-something, read founder stories that evoke the warmest of holiday spirits, and more. We hope that you find something in this edition that helps you along your journey, or at the very least, gives you something new and interesting to talk about at the Thanksgiving table. Thank you for being part of the Startup CPG community, and we hope to see you at one of our inperson events very soon! Cheers,

Jenna Movsowitz Editor, The Spotlight This year was the first year of The Spotlight. As we close the year, we would love to hear your feedback on this publication. What would you like to see more of? Who would you like to hear from? What topic are you dying to learn more about? Please email with any and all feedback, ideas, and/or copious words of affirmation (‘tis the season, after all).

Jenna Movsowitz is the Editor of The Spotlight magazine and works on Startup CPG’s marketing team. She has deep roots in CPG, also working as a publicist for food and beverage brands at Knack PR.



THE SPOTLIGHT EDITORIAL TEAM Jenna Movsowitz Editor, The Spotlight Erin Fasano Managing Editor

CONTRIBUTORS Stefan Alexiev CEO, VNDR Nikki Gryll CPG Publicist, Knack PR Fernando Campos Co-Founder, MarketplaceOps* Petra Pasquina Founder, Chewma *= Partners of Startup CPG






ELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND T IN 3 SENTENCES. I started my career in the CPG industry at The Clorox Company. I spent 7 years there advancing through a variety of both sales planning and field sales roles, working on brands like Brita, Hidden Valley, and my personal favorite, Burts Bees, before taking the leap to the startup side of the industry. My focus today is on helping rapidly growing brands scale in retail. By day, this means helping scale Your Super's delicious superfood mixes at retail, and by night this means leading our partnerships efforts for Startup CPG.


HAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT W (IN 5 WORDS OR FEWER)? Cooking, Traveling, Reading, and Consumer Goods!


HAT’S BEEN THE MOST W REWARDING PART OF BEING PART OF THE STARTUP CPG COMMUNITY? The energy in this community is incredible to witness as both a member and contributor. CPG brands have an incredible potential for staying power, and to think that the brands that make up this community could be "on-shelf " a century from now (whatever "on-shelf " looks like then) is an incredibly inspiring mission to be a part of. On top of that, I'm very proud of the information accessibility that everyone in this community contributes to - it's a level of collaboration that I've rarely experienced elsewhere.


AVORITE SNEAK-INTO-THE-KITCHF EN-IN-THE-MIDDLE-OF-THE-NIGHT SNACK? It's a tie between Barnana Peanut Butter Banana Bites and Perfect Bar Peanut Butter Cups.


CPG BRAND YOU EAT/DRINK A EVERY DAY? I'm totally addicted to Guyaki Yerba Mate, Aura Bora, and Cann's new Unspiked line. Ironically a lot of beverages for a guy who's never worked on the beverage side.


AVORITE PODCAST OR REGULAR F CLUBHOUSE TO TUNE INTO? I'm a big podcast guy, so that's my favorite way of consuming content. I regularly listen to all of the below podcasts: • FT's Daily News Briefing • My First Million • Startup CPG • DTC Podcast


EST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN B GIVEN IN THE CPG SPACE Play nice, it's a smaller industry than it looks like at first glance.



by Jenna Movsowitz


early learnings




en Ballen and Joe Magliano, college friends turned co-founders, always knew that they wanted to create a brand that would change the world. With Joe’s years of experience working in management consulting and in restaurants, and Jen’s background on Wall Street and in sustainability, they knew they had the perfect combination of skillsets to start a planet-forward food brand. Inspired by nostalgia, a love for breakfast, and Joe’s picky-eater niece, they landed on the idea of Otherworld: a just-add-water, plant-based pancake and waffle mix that sneaks in superfoods, fruits, vegetables and upcycled ingredients. As many founders know, the initial stages of any startup are critical to the brand’s success. The story thus far of Otherworld, culminating this week with the brand’s launch, is one that has come with several key learnings:


When the Otherworld team landed on a vegan bakery item, they had assumed that they were dealing with “an 80% science problem and a 20% food problem.” Attempting to make light and fluffy

pancakes without butter, sugar, milk or eggs seemed like a problem for a food scientist -- so they hired one. Yet after several sub-par batches, they began to question if this product was even feasible. What they eventually realized, however, was that they were pinpointing the wrong problem; the product they envisioned was actually an 80% food problem and 20% science problem. Months of “getting it wrong” ultimately helped guide their path forward. When they found their award-winning R&D chef, they shared the data they had collected from their months with their past partner. The new chef was able to use these learnings to get to an MVP (minimum viable product) quickly and efficiently. While choosing the wrong partner felt like a failure at the time, this soon became the theme rather than the exception. “We talked to 80 co-packers and 30 packaging suppliers before landing on our final choices. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to better understand the problem at-hand, and document everything along the way. Every conversation we’ve had has led us somewhere better,” says Jen. This mindset is central to their core belief that founders should never be tied to initial ideas around how something should be done. “We always ask: ‘why is this wrong,’ not ‘why is this right.’ We want to root out



confirmation bias and to constantly be proved wrong. This means that we're collaborating and coming up with new ideas.” Ultimately, saying “no” to several initial partners not only led to the team’s dream product, but also their dream team. The Otherworld team now includes a former Chopped champion, a renowned registered dietician, and the former chef of the best restaurant in the world. For Jen and Joe, decisions around product development and execution should always remain flexible. But core facets to your brand’s identity —


like your ethical framework — must guide your non-negotiables.


“We constantly are asking ourselves: what would the world miss if Otherworld were to cease to exist?” says Jen. The team’s passions for human and planetary health are the building blocks of their ethical framework, and guide how Jen and Joe make every decision. For something like packaging, shipping, or ingredients, “we go back to


our values and just say, ‘what do we do through the context of an impact-oriented company,’ and the decisions become really, really clear,” says Joe. Sometimes, these decisions can be costly. When deciding to offer carbon neutral shipping, include upcycled ingredients, and use only 100% recyclable cans made from recycled material, the Otherworld team put their core value of sustainability above cost. “Sometimes, you take a hit on margin because it's the right thing to do,” says Joe, “but in the end your LTV (long-term value) will be greater.” While ethically-driven decisions may be costly or seem unnecessary early on, Jen and Joe believe that they are critical to a brand’s early success; before you have a product, your story is your greatest asset.

Jen Ballen and Joe Magliano, Otherworld co-founders


“A great tasting product is important, but that testimonial has to come from future customers, not from us,” says Joe. So, they saved their marketing dollars and made a casual, fun and humorous video for the Kickstarter campaign that told their personal story and shared the brand’s values. They relied on that same personal touch to drive traffic to the Kickstarter campaign: “Personalized outreach served us really well,” Jen reflects. “We spent time crafting individual, customized emails to friends and family.” Rather than trying to sell individuals on the product, they thought about what each recipient would care about. If emailing an old coworker, for instance, they may say “I took x learnings from my past role at our company, and am now applying it to my own company.” Further, the ask wasn’t to buy product or to contribute to the Kickstarter, just to share the link. This palatable request was simple for an individual, but contributed to virality. “One person would email ten people, those ten people would email ten more.” Jen and Joe set out to raise $10,000 in their Kickstarter

campaign — and they ended up raising 300% of that goal.


While a successful Kickstarter campaign helped to accelerate Otherworld’s progression, the co-founders only truly felt “ready” to launch once they had conducted extensive market research. With an MVP in hand, they went to friends and family of all ages with a plea for candid feedback. “More than understanding whether or not someone ‘liked’ the product, we wanted to know if there were any pain points that we were missing. Our product has to be made by a customer in their home, so we needed to understand how they’re making it, how they’re serving it, how they see it integrating into their daily

lives,” says Jen. The response to “when are you ready to launch,” they learned, is hidden in this qualitative data; it’s when the product is clearly solving a problem in the consumer’s life. With an upcoming launch, the co-founders will continue to seek out and be receptive to feedback: “Getting feedback from your early adopters is so important, and helps you scale more quickly in the long run,” says Jen. Today, Otherworld launches on What once was just an idea is now a product. Despite still being early on in their journey, Jen and Joe feel that their journey thus far has already achieved their loftiest of goals: not to simply create a plantbased, nutrient-packed pancake and waffle mix, but to create a company that will make a net positive impact on the world. As Jen says, “We already know that the world will be better off because Otherworld is here.”



By Stefan Alexiev


While shipping is always top of mind for CPG brands, holiday season is one of the most critical times to ensure timely delivery. This year, labor shortages, supply chain challenges, and inflation will add additional financial and logistical difficulties to holiday shipping. We invited Stefan Alexiev, CEO of, to explain potential holiday shipping delays and excess costs, and how to mitigate them.



CAUSES OF SHIPPING DELAYS + MITIGATION Unreliable service due to labor shortages combined with the effects of COVID on the supply chains have caused major shipping delays. We have also seen more cases of severe weather than we have in a very long time. For the first time in the history of the company, UPS had to shut down their Louisville Worldport hub because of a winter storm. According to most experts, these weather trends are likely to worsen in the future and possibly this coming season. The only way for brands to minimize delays is to switch to the most reliable carrier at this moment and pay for the fastest delivery time feasible. Currently, UPS is trending as the highest on-time delivery carrier at 95.6%. Personally, as a UPS customer, I have been seeing 97%+ on-time delivery. They have been the most reliable, especially for perishable shipments throughout the pandemic. USPS is also trending high at 95.1% while FedEx is having major issues, bringing their average down to 87%. On top of their slipping averages FedEx just announced that they will be suspending their on-time delivery guarantees, making recourse for late/ spoiled packages unavailable. All that being said, using Air and Express services brings your chances of a successful on-time delivery much higher than Ground and should be applied when needed.

RESPONDING TO INCREASED CARRIER RATES Carriers are making big rate hikes to keep up with inflation and rising labor costs including FedEx and USPS. UPS also just announced general rate increases set to take effect on December 26. Across the board, these carriers are presenting an average of a 5.9% rate increase into the new year. Brands should bite the bullet now, and raise their shipping and/or product prices accordingly because, unfortunately, things are not going to get any cheaper. This is not a “weather the storm” situation, this is a permanent shift in the market and there will be no low-priced pots of gold on the other end. Raising your shipping fees by 10% now will help you maintain your margin as all carriers continue to raise costs. Adjusting your pricing to keep up with these costs is the best way to avoid getting squeezed out of your margin.

The only good news here is that this applies to everyone, so your competition will have to do the same. Carrier rates are mostly based on volume, so finding a group or another company to piggyback on is another sort of underground way to lower costs immediately as you scale.

HOLIDAY SHIPPING BEST PRACTICES » Look for a new carrier. If you are with FedEx, switch to UPS or vice versa. Pin the carriers against each other to negotiate better pricing. »F ind a buying group with volume discounts. If you are a startup, you will run into the same chicken-egg problem everyone does when they first open their e-comm business: “You need more volume to get better rates but you need better rates to get more volume.” These groups can help you get started with little to no volume until you start scaling. There are many resources out there you can find through CPG communities like Startup CPG. For example, VNDR is a shipping platform for perishable food brands. We offer state-of-the-art shipping software featuring heavily discounted shipping rates earned through the collective volume of our 600+ brand partners. »S ign up for package insurance such as Route to ensure your package makes it in one piece. With delays on the horizon, providing transparent tracking and peace of mind for your customer (and yourself) is a must-have. »F ind ways to ship with less transit time. In the Amazon-driven world we live in, customers expect things immediately. Offer top-notch shipping service although it may cost more and save yourself the headache of tracking late packages for unhappy customers. This may mean you work with strategically located 3PLs or you are shipping Express/ Air nationwide. Whatever it takes, be sure to not get left behind as the customer expectations only get greater in our fast-moving society.

Stefan Alexiev: I have been deeply involved in the perishable CPG space for the past 10 years. I co-founded/ boot-strapped Raw Juicery (rawjuicery. com) in 2012. Working with such a perishable and sensitive product has definitely had its challenges, but my love for food and beverages has fueled me to innovate in everything from production and logistics to marketing and technology. In 2020, I decided to launch a logistics platform, VNDR (, using the tools we developed internally to help other brands leverage our decade of experience and relationships. My goal now is to help as many entrepreneurs as possible in their journey from a plan on a napkin to nationwide scale.



By Nikki Gryll, CPG Publicist (Knack PR)

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If there’s any time to DIY your brand’s PR, it’s holiday time. With consumer spending at an all-time high, ad costs skyrocket during the holiday season. Luckily, PR, also known as earned media, is a free way to score consumer eyes on your products. We spoke with the pro in CPG PR, Nikki Gryll of Knack PR, to learn more about how to navigate the gift guide frenzy and how to leverage your press mention through the holidays and beyond.

WHY IT’S VALUABLE TO BE IN A GIFT GUIDE There are lots of exciting benefits to being included in a gift guide. Building awareness of your delicious product line; selling product; being able to say you were featured in a noteworthy publication. Another underrated benefit is being in good company. It’s exciting for a newer, emerging brand to be side-byside with legacy products that people have loved for years. The biggest benefit of all - and the ideal outcome - is that people buy your product, gift it, and both parties remain loyal to your brand and become part of your growing community.

DETERMINING WHERE TO PITCH These days, most publications are churning out endless gift guides, so there is likely one your brand fits into. For instance: “gifts to give the foodie in your life,” “gifts for tea lovers,” “gifts for people obsessed with baking,” “gifts for people who want to save the planet,” — you name it, there is a guide for it. If you are DIY-ing your gift guide outreach, I would pick 5-10 publications that you dream of being in! Otherwise it can be a bit daunting. The best way to figure out who to pitch at a publication is to see who wrote previous gift guides. But an important

note to consider is that once a gift guide is published, reporters do not add to it! If something already ran, you cannot ask to be added. Once it’s published, it’s a done deal. Aim to be in the next relevant one instead of pleading to be added. Treat this as an opportunity to become friendly with a reporter who will continue to keep your brand in mind for many articles to come!

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A GIFT GUIDE PITCH Keep a gift guide pitch short and sweet. Include the specific product (or products) you think would be a great addition to a gift guide and include the link and price. Price is important in case you’re a fit for something like “gifts under $25” etc. It can’t hurt to mention who the gift is perfect for! An aspiring chef, a coffee lover, teens, vegans, grandparents, etc. A Dropbox or Google Drive link to photos is wonderful to include as well. Ideally, you are arming a reporter with everything they would need to include you in an upcoming gift guide. Offer to send samples! Once reporters try your product, they are much more likely to keep it in mind. Sending product does not mean 100% chance of coverage, but it’s definitely a reason to get excited! If a reporter requests samples, send a VIP package with a thoughtful handwritten note.



YEAR-ROUND PERKS OF BEING IN A GIFT GUIDE The biggest benefit of all are the new fans you accumulate from being in a gift guide! Hopefully it’s the first moment of discovery for the gift giver + recipient and then they proceed to purchase again and again. Repeat customers are the gifts that keep on giving. The other benefit is that hopefully the reporter wants to continue to include you in other guides throughout the year! There are so many gift guide opportunities, so don’t wait until the holiday season to put this new knowledge into action. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day are all great times to get gifty!

LEVERAGING PRESS HITS There are so many fun ways to leverage press coverage, whether it’s holiday gift guides or any type of article. Some of my favorite ways to leverage press include: l Add the publications to your Instagram profile. “As featured in @womenshealth @realsimple and @forbes” goes a long way when it comes to building credibility with potential new followers. l Include the press links in your email signature! That way, everyone you interact with will know about your awesome press placements without you having to humbly brag about it. l Share it on social, and don’t forget to tag the reporter and publication! Reporters love and appreciate when you share their stories. l Let’s say one of your SKUs was featured in a gift guide. Add “As seen in [insert publication here]” to that specific flavor’s shop page. Just like movies mention “Academy Award winning actress”, do the same with your SKUs! l IG story highlights are the new press page. Create a highlight where you share all of your swoon-worthy press wins!


If you want to learn more PR tips and stay up-to-date with Knack PR's emerging food + beverage clients, subscribe to Knack PR's monthly newsletter and follow @KnackPR on Instagram.

We believe buttermilk makes everything better ...even your brand

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This month, Mondelēz SnackFutures launched applications for their 2022 CoLab. The CoLab cohort will participate in a 12-week program, customized for each startup’s business challenges and priorities -- with a key emphasis on hands-on interaction, individual attention, mentorship and workshops. The curriculum will be a combination of virtual sessions and in-person activities. In addition to the in-depth experience, participants will also receive a $20,000 grant. Mondelēz is a proud partner of Startup CPG. If you are interested in a partnership or advertorial in a future edition of The Spotlight, please email



Startup CPG WHY DID MONDELĒZ START SNACKFUTURES? Mondelēz International Mondelēz International is on a mission to lead the future of snacking by providing the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way. To keep satisfying consumers’ changing needs, we need to continually evolve our broad range of snacks, and this is where SnackFutures plays a role. SnackFutures is the Mondelēz International innovation and venture hub, deliberately designed to push the boundaries in snacking by capitalizing on consumer trends and emerging growth opportunities in well-being snacks around the world. The SnackFutures mission is to create and invest in well-being snacks that are good for people, kind to the planet and deliciously fun. SCPG WHAT HAS THE MONDELĒZ TEAM LEARNED ABOUT SNACK TRENDS FROM THIS PROGRAM? MI Since SnackFutures launched in 2018, we have launched five new well-being brands in the US and Europe (NoCoé, Dirt Kitchen Snacks, CaPao, Millie Gram and Ruckus and Co), made minority investments in Uplift Food, Torr and Hu (which was acquired by Mondelēz International in January 2021), launched the CoLab startup engagement program and established a global footprint. Our team is hyper consumer-centric and dedicated to understanding consumers’ worlds and developing snacking solutions for their needs. So much has changed since we launched (and with the COVID-19 pandemic), but we continue to see consumers are increasingly focused on well-being and interested in knowing more about what they’re eating, where it comes from and how it’s made. SCPG WHAT KINDS OF RELATIONSHIPS DOES THE MONDELĒZ TEAM HOPE TO DEVELOP WITH THE COHORT IN THE LONG TERM? MI CoLab was designed to be a collaborative effort between entrepreneurs and the Mondelēz International ecosystem to drive mutual growth. SnackFutures provides the participating startups with tools, technologies and access to networks and industry expertise, while gaining insights, capabilities and prospective investment opportunities.

A PARTICIPANT’S PERSPECTIVE Sydney Chasin – Founder of Chasin’ Dreams Farm Sydney Chasin, Founder of Chasin’ Dreams Farm (a popped sorghum snack) was a member of the 2020-2021 CoLab cohort. Chasin calls the CoLab program “a CPG Playland, like rocket fuel” for the brand. “CoLab isn’t just looking to help brands from a retail distribution standpoint, or just from an operational end -- the program was a 360 approach to brand building.” Each founder was paired with a Snack Futures Buddy, their mentor for the program who worked to connect founders to anyone within the Mondelēz network, from distributors to branding experts. The Mondelēz team helped Chasin learn how to “push forward, and push forward faster.” “When we entered the program, we were still working to articulate who we were as a brand and what was most important to our customers and investors,” she says. Throughout the course of the program, Mondelēz worked to help Chasin answer these questions. Her mentor set up meetings with brand leaders and consumer insights professionals on Hu, Oreo and Perfect Bar brands, who helped them design research studies. SnackFutures gave the CoLab cohort free access to key suppliers, Highlight and VoxPopMe, to execute quantitative and qualitative research. “As a small company, we never would have been able to invest in these big data projects.” This research directly resulted in a stronger brand hierarchy for Chasin’ Dreams Farm, and informed a creative brief that’s in use now on a packaging refresh project. Their entire rebrand as “the tiniest, biggest snack in the world” came from countless meetings with Mondelēz’s creative agency. “Normally, when we work with a creative agency and we’re pouring in a lot of our resources, our creativity is stifled by the need for a reasonable, actionable outcome. With this team, we were able to get really creative without that financial pressure,” says Chasin. The synthesis of the primary and secondary research and data helped create three brand stories for Chasin’ Dreams Farm: one for investors, retailers, and consumers. Another benefit Chasin got from the program was the relationships she foraged with other founders in the class. Mondelēz made a point to give founders time to bond. During in-person sessions, several hours were left unscheduled so the founders had time to learn from each other. Chasin describes leaving the program with “lifelong friends in this program through a shared love of CPG.” The Mondelēz team opened their network of agencies as well as their internal teams to work with the founders. Chasin describes feeling that her brand was incredibly valued by the Mondelēz team: “They went above and beyond to help us understand the opportunities ahead.” Chasin views it as “the start of the relationship, and we’re thrilled with the experience we had.”

APPLY FOR 2022 Applications for the CoLab 2022 program are open now through December at, and the program begins in April of 2022. To apply, start-ups must be based in the U.S., generating at least $500,000 in revenue, have high growth potential, align with the Mondelēz International innovation priorities and can benefit from working with the company. The second year of our CoLab startup engagement program will focus specifically on mission-driven brands that can demonstrate their commitment to having a positive impact on social, environmental and human well-being.



by Jenna Movsowitz


Oat Haus




ll CPG founders have their own food story. For some, it’s a story of continuing tradition through shared flavors and recipes. For others, it’s a story of innovation -- of creating the flavor or ingredient combination that they wish existed. For Ali Bonar, founder of Oat Haus, it’s a story of recovery. And now, this story has made its way from the humble jars of Granola Butter to national television. On October 20, Ali found herself pitching her CPG brand on Shark Tank -- a pinch-me moment for any emerging food founder, but especially for one who, just years before, spent her life trying to run away from food. Throughout her teenage years and mid-20s, Ali struggled with eating disorders. “I struggled with everything you can imagine, from orthorexia and binge eating to anorexia and exercise addiction,” she reflects. Years after graduating college with a nutrition degree -- the irony is not lost on her -- she had a breaking point. She realized she couldn’t continue to live in that “mental prison” where every food she ate came with a numerical value. So she found a nutritional therapist who helped her shift her viewpoint on food, and started posting on social media to hold herself accountable in her recovery journey. Part of this journey included combatting her “fear foods” like nut butter. But after years of restriction, she found that her stomach could no longer tolerate nuts. She began searching for nut-free spreads to incorporate into her recovery, but nothing really resonated with her newfound mindset -- that food could feel like a celebration. “I wanted something that would match my new viewpoint of food, as a form of nourishment for my body. But I also wanted something that tasted like a party,” Ali says. She started experimenting with this idea herself. She found that an oat base was the perfect solution, and had never been done before. So in her tiny San Francisco kitchen, Ali started working on nights and weekends to formulate an oat-based, party-flavored spread all while keeping up her full-time job. Throughout the process, she posted every step of the journey on her personal social media account, which had racked up 10,000 followers throughout her recovery. This proved to be the perfect jumping-off point for the

brand, which launched direct-to-consumer as Kween Granola Butter -- an ode to Ali’s Instagram handle at the time, @AvoKween, and the idea of treating your body like royalty. Quickly, the team outgrew their small San Francisco space and moved to San Diego to expand, quitting their jobs to focus entirely on the granola butter business. Local, independent natural retailers began to pick them up. The San Diego Erewhon was the first larger retailer to put Kween on shelf, followed shortly by Whole Foods in the San Diego region. “These retailers really took a chance on us. They were excited by a product they’d never heard of. We couldn’t prove turns, but we learned how to communicate our vision and get buyers excited about our brand,” Ali says. She began seeking out new opportunities, now confident that Kween had potential for major growth. But with every win came an equal and opposite rejection; investors turned down their repeated



proposals, ABC’s Shark Tank rejected their application three times, and still, Ali and the Kween team continued to believe in their brand’s success. Less than a year after their first move, the team moved again in January 2021 to Philadelphia to double their facility space. Meanwhile, the national nut butter buyer at Whole Foods decided to expand Granola Butter to three additional regions. With a major retail expansion, the Kween team became more and more aware of the consumer’s challenge in understanding the product. Their ambiguous brand name didn’t do the work necessary to explain “granola butter.” They decided to move forward with a full rebrand, adding “oat” to their name to explain the base of the product, and altering their branding to better resonate with the energy of their company. “With Kween, everything was white, marble,

to film their episode. For Ali, nothing went by faster than the few minutes they spent filming with the Sharks in July -- and nothing went by slower than the three months of radio silence post-filming. “You don’t hear anything after you film until a few weeks before your episode airs.” So the Oat Haus team spent that time communicating their rebrand to their customers and retailers -- navigating the day-to-day while preparing for the unknown impact of an appearance on national television. SPOILER ALERT if you watched the episode, you know that Oat Haus came away from the Shark Tank stage without a deal. But following the theme of equal successes and failures, Ali sees this journey as a win in its own sense. For any emerging CPG founder, an episode on Shark Tank sounds like a pipedream. For Ali, the only thing greater than

"SOMEONE’S ‘NO’ ISN’T A PERSONAL THING. NOT EVERYONE WILL RESONATE WITH YOUR BRAND, AND THAT’S FINE. BUT WHAT IS PERSONAL IS A COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ROOTING FOR YOU" monochromatic. It didn’t represent our personalities, our mission, or our company culture. We’re loud, bright, fun and playful and wanted our new brand to represent that.” This birthed Oat Haus: a name that aided in consumer education, and a complete branding 180. Of course, the decision to kick off the rebrand process came at the same time as major news for the company; three applications later, the Shark Tank team reached out to Kween to tell them to apply for the show again. This was the final push that drove the team to complete the rebrand. They knew they wanted to be Oat Haus when they appeared on the show. On top of extensive preparation for the show (think: watching and rewatching every episode in existence, flash cards, countless powerpoint pitches, roleplaying as each of the Sharks), the team was working on creating new jars, a new website, and an entirely new social presence. They completed their rebrand (down to a pastel jumpsuit for each team member) just days before they were flown to LA


sharing her brand on television was the opportunity to share her story of recovery. For days after the episode aired, Ali received an endless stream of messages from viewers who connected with her recovery story. Many reported never having heard someone share their eating disorder journey so candidly, that they felt seen and heard. Ali knew then that everything leading up to this had been worth it. “Someone’s ‘no’ isn’t a personal thing. Not everyone will resonate with your brand, and that’s fine. But what is personal is a community of people who are rooting for you, who are connecting with your story, or even who are helped by your story,” she says. And despite coming away without a deal, Ali knows that this opportunity will grow Oat Haus in unprecedented ways. The Oat Haus team is excited to relaunch their limited edition Apple Pie Granola Butter on their website (https:// for the holiday season. They also are thrilled to announce a major celebrity investor later this week.




by Jenna Movsowitz


Seasonal Flavor




hile certain CPG trends fall off the radar as quickly as they came in, one recurs without fail: seasonal flavors. As the seasons change, so do consumer cravings -- and when ‘tis the season, consumers look for comfort, nostalgia and indulgence to take them away from day-to-day stress and add a touch of celebratory cheer. While it’s past time to hop on holiday trends for 2021, it may already be time to start considering how your brand can embrace flavor trends for the 2022 holiday season. For emerging brands, limited-time offers (LTOs) or seasonal flavors can be daunting -- but also are a great way to create awareness and excitement around your brand. Capitalizing on trends provides the opportunity to introduce entirely new consumers to your brand who may not have discovered it otherwise. Because consumers spend the most money during back to school shopping and the winter holidays, brands that release new products or flavors during these peak seasons can take advantage of consumer spending and product discovery. To better understand what it takes to launch a seasonal flavor or LTO, we spoke with several members of the Startup CPG community. Here are our key takeaways:


We don’t mean to intimidate you, but if you’re planning on launching a new seasonal offering or LTO for 2022, you should’ve started planning yesterday. Typically, retailers will ask for paperwork and samples around 6-8 months before the launch date in retail -- which means that you likely need to start planning for inventory more than a year out. If you have no idea when your launch date should even be (pumpkin spice does seem to creep up on us earlier and earlier each year), rely on SEO. Use free tools like Google Trends to understand when your target consumers are starting to search for seasonal products. Cindy Li, founder of Uproot Teas, suggests that you plan any consumer-facing materials to be released no more than a month before your launch to capitalize on the spike in trending keywords. “Consumers can’t wrap their heads around seasonal flavors too far in advance,” she says, “but you should also plan for time to build up anticipation for the product.” When it comes to packaging for your LTO, the design process should start 6 months out, says Andy Kurtts, founder of Buttermilk Creative. This will allow you to submit the final packaging design to a printer at least four months ahead of your launch.


STRATEGY IS KEY rior to creating an LTO, a brand must ask P themselves a few key questions: 1. D oes this align with our brand’s values and voice? 2. Is our target consumer interested in this offering? 3. Do competitor brands offer this seasonal flavor/ LTO? 4. D oes this seasonal flavor/LTO align with our current retailers? 5. Do we have the capacity to manage this LTO while growing the base business?

Blake’s Seed Based, an allergy-friendly snack brand, created a Pumpkin Spice flavor of their Rice Crispy Treats for the 2021 season. This flavor ended up bringing in around 40% of purchases on their site this season. “We have all seen flavors and combinations of LTOs that shouldn’t exist. You need to know your target market inside and out. If they are currently buying other seasonal products and you have a product that could fill that need, you might have something there,” says Aaron Krebs, Director of Marketing for Blake’s Seed Based. “To gauge interest, you can even ask your community on IG on what flavor they want to see next! Consumers love to co-create with brands these days and it’s a great way to engage your community,” Aaron says. While your brand’s LTO may be an impulse purchase for the average shopper, it cannot be a last minute decision for your brand. “At the end of the day, the product needs to deliver on that flavor,” Aaron emphasizes. “The last thing you want is a bad experience with one of your limited time flavors as that can hurt the overall brand image.”


Andy’s best tip for seasonal packaging design? “Lean into conventions. This isn’t the time to get super conceptual or out-of-the-box. We all know that as soon as the weather changes, our brains are hyper-aware of things like pumpkins, leaves, orange, or yellow for Fall, and golds, greens, reds, blues, silvers for holidays -- lean into that.” He suggests maintaining your recognizable packaging system and making minor tweaks to evoke a seasonal feel. This allows returning consumers to recognize your new offering, and helps new consumers recognize your brand in the future. “Consider what you can stretch to maintain consistency while having fun and adding spice. Can you translate your current packaging design look and feel to a new format, like a labeled clamshell instead of a printed box? It’s okay to bend the rules of your current packaging system while maintaining recognizability. Seasonal packaging has so much



opportunity to delight and show the creative, fun side of the brand, if done right,” Andy says.


Just like most things in life, location is key to success. With Uproot’s upcoming launch, Cindy has been thinking strategically about shelf placement to emphasize seasonality. “When we start working with retailers, I will be thinking about which flavors we want at eye level during which seasons,” she says. “If I were designing something for a November display, for example, I would want to have our chai spice kit at eye level, versus the typical black and green tea.” Petit Pot, an organic French dessert brand, also created a limited edition Pumpkin Spice flavor of their pot de crème. Pierre Jamet, Chief Sales Officer of Petit Pot, emphasizes the importance of off-shelf for LTOs: “I always try to get the seasonal in an off-shelf to insist on the limited-time only offer,” he says. “It’s a great basket builder for the retailers, as a lot of shoppers will discover new brands and products that way. It provides a great trial opportunity without having to sample the product and, if displayed in an off-shelf, it reduces the risks of cannibalizing your core SKUs.” If your brand doesn’t have prior experience with off-shelf placement, an LTO could be your way in. “A few good reasons to plead for an off-shelf is to showcase a really unique packaging and to create more incrementality than the existing SKUs in the regular set. Additionally, you can offer an ongoing allowance to help with the sell-through,” says Pierre.


A limited lifetime product comes with inventory risks. If your product doesn’t sell through, it can be a bad look for the brand. “You will have to fund the sell-through through markdowns, and worse case scenario buy back the inventory,” says Pierre. Selling out of a product also indicates to consumers that this product was highly in-demand, and builds up anticipation for next year’s seasonal release. Thus, selling out is better than having excess inventory. To forecast this number, “Starting with a benchmark is key. If you’re working with your first ever seasonal item, start with benchmarking off of one of your regular offerings,” says Aaron, “Look at distribution and velocity, and build off of that.” Pumpkin Spice Rice Cripsy Treats were Blake’s first seasonal item ever, so they used one of their regular offerings of Rice Cripsy Treats to benchmark. “We produced just under two months of inventory -- a conservative estimate because this was our first seasonal item as a brand. Good news is we are on track to sell out before the holidays!” Cindy suggests creating a customer waitlist to gauge interest as well as generate hype around the seasonal item. She also suggests collecting data from ad engagement, customer surveys, and SEO to create a general range of inventory, leaving wiggle room for impulse buys and new customers.



Seasonal offerings/LTOs are likely to introduce new customers to your brand. But consumers who trial your brand on the LTO flavor could be lost as quickly as they were found. To hold onto these new customers, “it’s all about re-targeting and re-engaging,” says Aaron. Paid media, social content, and email newsletters are all ways to leverage momentum with new consumers. “Articulate your message both on and off-pack so your newly acquired customers want to get more flavors,” Pierre suggests. “For example, show your best-selling flavors on your LTO packaging and provide a QR code with a custom landing page.” Big-name brands often monopolize seasonal flavors. But with early planning and a set strategy that covers everything from packaging to placement, emerging brands can start to get in on the flavor frenzy. We can’t wait to see your new seasonal offerings in holiday season 2022.


by Petra Pasquina


MEET CHEWMA + FOUNDER PETRA PASQUINA WHAT IS CHEWMA? Chewma Protein Bites are a betterfor-you savory snack because you are sweet enough. Chewmas are an alternative to carb-laden chips, crackers, and pretzels.These Bites pack 10 grams of protein per serving, are low-carb, gluten and grain-free and still taste absolutely delicious. They come in three, savory flavors and will keep you on the go without the snack guilt.

WHY CHEWMA? For years, I struggled to find an on-thego snack that would keep me satisfied between meals. With a full-time job, two active boys, hectic travel schedule, and other activities, I found myself grabbing whatever food was in the cabinet at home (typically my kids snacks) or the convenience store just to carry me through the day. Most of the options at the store were loaded with sugar and carbohydrates or contained unwanted ingredients that didn’t taste good. And for health reasons, I’d made the decision to go gluten-free.That narrowed my choices even further. So I started experimenting in my home kitchen on nights on weekends. And Chewma Protein Bites were born! Chewma Protein Bites are the perfect balance of simple, savory ingredients like almond flour, real cheese and plant-based pea protein, baked into a crispy bite. I was excited to finally have an “adult snack” and started sharing them with others. My friends and family couldn’t get enough of the snacks I was baking so I left my full-time job in tech sales and marketing to take my snack business to the next level. I’m still baking the product by hand and now I’m working in an incubator kitchen so I can make enough to share more broadly. I was a one-woman operation for several months but knew that wasn’t a sustainable model. In order to give back to the community and get a little help, I reached out to a fellow baker who runs a non-profit bakery working with neurodiverse adults. My timing was

Founder Petra Pasquina perfect as she was looking for opportunities for her trained bakers to find additional employment beyond her organization. I was excited to welcome a team of two neurodiverse bakers to work with me in the kitchen. We bake and pack the product every week and I couldn’t do it without their support. They are helping me scale my operation and bake enough Chewmas to keep up with growing demand.

LAUNCHING CHEWMA Given my background in tech sales and marketing with a focus on helping other brands connect with customers on social media platforms, I made the decision to sell Chewma Protein Bites direct-to-consumer. In early 2021, launched and I began promoting the product with a small marketing budget. I’d determined this would be the best, and most cost-effective way to test and learn more about the product and consumer reaction before diving head-first into retail. I had a lot to learn about selling a food product and had to force myself to reflect, ask a thousand questions to anyone with more experience, and spend my money wisely (since I’m currently self-funded). As a result, I have updated package size, adjusted pricing, enhanced positioning and I’m developing my brand voice. I’ve also begun selling at local specialty retailers and looking to expand into grocery and on Amazon by the end of the year. People in the CPG industry are some of the nicest, most helpful folks I’ve ever met and I’m grateful for everyone who has helped me along the journey.



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Startup CPG DESCRIBE MOONSHOT'S GREEN FRIDAY INITIATIVE. HOW DOES IT WORK AND WHO DOES IT BENEFIT? Rachel Stocko At Moonshot, we believe that if you want to change the world, change food. As we thought about the holidays and the profound impact it can have on our planet, we considered what we could do to make a positive impact. With Black Friday being the one of biggest consumer spending days of the year, we figured there was no better day to uplift the ways in which we can all do better by our planet. Green Friday is our response. The average American’s annual carbon footprint is around 20 metric tons, 5 times greater than the global average. For comparison, that’s the equivalent of driving 50,264 miles or driving from New York City to San Francisco 17.3 times each year. And to sequester that much carbon, you would have to plant 331 tree seedlings and let them grow for 10 years. We already offset our own carbon emissions, but we recognize the need to keep pushing. That's why we’re helping consumers offset their personal carbon emissions on Green Friday, when we’ll donate 33.1% of all sales to One Tree Planted, a non-profit organization that has been planting trees around the world since 2014 to offset carbon emissions, increase biodiversity and restore forests. We’re thrilled to be doing this in collaboration with so many other wonderful brands who are prioritizing the planet’s health as much as their customers' health. We are joined by TBH (Noah Schnapp's new brand), Nutiva, Petit Pot, Riff, Appleton’s Market, Connect, Toodaloo, Amazi Foods, Fire Ox, LivBar, GOOD PLANeT Foods, Grace's Goodness and Pezzy Pets. We know that, while every action counts, one person or brand has a limit to their impact -- but collectively we can drive massive change. Little actions add up, and we’re inspired by the interest we’ve seen from brands to be at the forefront of this shift with us. If we want to see a widespread change in the food system, which creates 34% of global greenhouse gas emissions, we need consumers taking action with their dollars and brands stepping up to meet their demands. Brands participating will be donating 33.1% of sales from Green Friday to One

Tree Planted as well as offsetting their own DTC emissions from the day.

SCPG HOW ARE YOU COMMUNICATING THE VALUE OF A NON-DISCOUNTED BFCM INITIATIVE TO CUSTOMERS? RS There’s a shift happening in consumer demands, and like a pebble on the lake, it’s having a rippling effect. 70% of consumers in the U.S. think it is important that a brand is sustainable or eco-friendly. And we’ve seen that when you give a consumer the option to take climate-friendly actions, they will. Nielson expects US consumers to spend $150 billion on sustainable products by the end of 2021. This campaign serves as a reminder that our daily choices can make a bigger impact than we realize, and we’re excited to continue presenting opportunities like this to snackers hungry for crackers and a change.


that climate optimism comes from climate action. Action can move you from fear to hope, and when we all take action together it creates power and change. And your actions can inspire others, calling them into the fight -- as the community grows you feel less hopeless and alone while expanding your impact. With Green Friday, we’re hoping to inspire brands and consumers to keep taking action and pushing further. We’re calling on other brands to hold themselves accountable, especially on some of the largest shopping days like Black Friday, to offset their own carbon emissions and make climate-friendly products more accessible for their consumers. What’s more, we hope to inspire consumers to keep demanding more from the brands they love. Seeing millions upon millions of people taking to the streets worldwide to demand action on the climate crisis brings us hope. We aim to inspire consumers to keep that energy for the brands they support, demanding better from brands so they have more opportunities to eat and live in alignment with their health and the planet’s health. At Moonshot, we’re carbon-neutral at a product level, as well as company wide,

powered by our sister company, Planet FWD. Planet FWD is on a mission to tackle climate change by making it easier to bring climate-friendly products to market, empowering the next generation of sustainable brands to understand, reduce and neutralize their carbon footprints. In the fight against climate change, we all have power, but we can’t fight alone. This is why we built our company on the foundation of sharing the resources, knowledge, and strategies that allow us to pursue real climate impact.

Rachel Stoczko is an impact-focused communicator and public relations professional with a specialization in food, technology and education. Today, she leads communications at Planet FWD, a company on a mission to tackle climate change by making it easier to bring climate-friendly products to market. The platform is inspired by Planet FWD’s own snack brand, Moonshot, which launched in 2020 as the first climate-friendly snack brand, where Rachel runs communications as well. Prior to Planet FWD and Moonshot, Rachel was a communications leader at VSC, a strategic communications firm in San Francisco. moonshotsnacks




It’s now more important than ever to be prepped for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this 2021, as consumers are planning to spend earlier compared to prior years. 57% are set to start shopping on or before Thanksgiving, while nearly a quarter will start shopping on Black Friday, and shoppers waiting until December has dropped to 15%. 30


n this article, we’ve rounded up tips to get Amazon sellers ready for Turkey 5 crunch time, from inventory planning and deals setup to listing optimization and efficient ad spending.

HAVE ENOUGH INVENTORY READY FOR TURKEY 5 Due to the ongoing pandemic and seasonal demand, logistics constraints are still to be expected this Q4. Freight costs have increased dramatically and inventory will surely take time to receive in


Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers. It’s crucial to have enough inventory during Turkey 5, which is the time between Thanksgiving all the way to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That said, take these tips into consideration when it comes to inventory planning:

AVOID SENDING LOW-VELOCITY/ LOW-MARGIN STOCK Send in your highest sell-through SKUs and prioritize SKUs that are making you money and not just selling fast. Also, know the areas with the highest customer density and demand and keep inventory near them.

CREATE FBM LISTINGS FOR YOUR INVENTORY Chances are, Amazon might not receive all of your inventory on time so have an FBM listing set up and connected to your 3PL. This serves as a backup plan just in case you run out of inventory for your FBA listings.

DO HYBRID SHIPMENTS Send SPD (Small Parcel Delivery) shipments and make sure you have enough coverage until the FCL (Full Cargo Load) shipment gets received. Small parcels are received faster and FCLs will take longer as it’s a bigger truckload. Moreover, while Amazon says to send in inventory by Nov. 1, be safe and send it by Oct. 30 at the latest to take advantage of early Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.


Promotions are a great way to get customers to visit your listing and purchase your product especially during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday season where savings are a big deal. Moreover, products also sell better after a promotion than they do before as promotions often show up higher in the search results, help you win the Buy Box, and improve CTR. Hopefully, you’ve got your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in place by now as it’d be too late to submit them. If not, don’t fret. You can still set up Prime-ex-

clusive deals and coupons or even just discount your prices during the day. Prime-exclusive deals are even better as it differentiates your products from those with coupons and is featured on a separate page for Prime-exclusive only deals. Take advantage of promotions and beat retailers on the price inflation as consumers report price (44%) as their number one when asked to rank what factors influence their purchase decisions, followed by sales and discounts (29%).


Before your ads and deals go live for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, make sure your product titles, bullet points, product descriptions, images, and A+ content/EBC, plus customer reviews (at least 15) and star ratings (greater than 3.5) are ready. Practice optimizing your images, especially the hero image, for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Make sure everything is optimized for mobile as more than 80% of shoppers 40 and under, and 66% of those over 40 plan to use their phones to find gifts.

To ensure you have images that can potentially receive the highest CTR, understand your competitors, and run a/b poll tests on what will make customers click a product over another. Moreover, making your images optimized for the holidays by adding ribbons or using your secondary images to list why your product is giftable is a great way to put customers in a festive, shopping mood.


Create a page in your Brand Store dedicated to highlighting deals available during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Turn it into a festive, holiday gift guide and then send traffic from your Sponsored Brand Headline Ads to it. Another thing you can do is to send external traffic to your Brand Store holiday deals page and embed a Brand Referral Bonus ID so you can get a kickback from sales sent externally to Amazon. Additionally, take the guesswork out of gifting by doing product bundles of your complementary products. Add these bundles to your list of giftable items on your Brand Store page to drive AOV and cross-purchasing behavior.




Leverage your Prime Day data when optimizing your advertising campaigns this coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday period. Look at strong performance among your products, campaigns, keywords, and ad groups. You can increase your ad spend by 1.5-2x of your normal daily spend during Turkey 5, but the variance depends on how giftable your product is. If you do have deals, it’s worth investing more on PPC spend on that day for that ASIN because it will drive more visibility and more sales. An example budget allocation could be 60% for Sponsored Product, 30% for Sponsored Brand, and 10% for Sponsored Display. Moreover, create additional campaigns with holiday-based keywords like ‘gift,’ ‘giftable,’ ‘gifts for mom,’ and ‘gifts for dad.’ Do Sponsored Brand Video Ads that have ‘giftable’ products and text on the first slide and drive it against keyword searches and against product detail pages. The adoption of video ads has accelerated

among retailers and it shows by performing much better than direct response formats. Additionally, leverage Sponsored Display Ads by retargeting someone who visited your listing while they were browsing prior to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With the expected clicks and impressions, you’ll see your retargeting pool grow and have the opportunity to drive sales even after the holiday rush.


Managing the sales craze during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is more manageable than one expects. So long as you’ve efficiently planned your inventory, set up deals and coupons, optimized your listings and Brand Store for the holidays, and have a good Amazon advertising strategy on hand — you’re all set. If you need help managing your Amazon store, our expert team at Marketplaceops with over 10+ years of combined Amazon experience is here for you. Contact us today for a free consultation and strategy session for your CPG brand!

Fernando Campos is one of the co-founders of MarketplaceOps — a leading online marketplace management and strategy firm that helps CPG brands supercharge their growth on Amazon and Walmart. With over 500+ successful product launches on Amazon, MarketplaceOps leverages its fully integrated technology and proprietary ranking techniques to beat out the competition on top of well-made listings and advanced PPC strategies.

MarketplaceOps is a proud partner of Startup CPG. If you are interested in a partnership or advertorial in a future edition of The Spotlight, please email



by Jenna Movsowitz


As business owners, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the holidays (pun intended). ‘Tis the season for sales, and we all want to get in on it. But it’s also the most expensive time of year to whip up an ad, let alone get eyes on it. So, we asked Heart Creative (a women-owned, full-service marketing agency) for their top tips on communicating with consumers during the holidays -- that will get you the most bang for your buck.

New York City, USA

While any time of year is a good time to develop recipes utilizing your products, the holiday season in particular sees a spike in recipe searches as consumers prepare for large gatherings. Brands who thoughtfully create recipes with seasonally relevant keywords, head notes, tags and metadata will ride the wave of increased search trends and drive new consumers to their sites. Whether you’re hiring an agency like Heart Creative (who has recipe developers within the agency) or developing recipes in-house, the key is to start early. Megan Scott, Culinary Director at Heart Creative, suggests that you have your recipes go live by early November for the eager holiday planners, and promote them through your email newsletters and socials as it gets closer to the holidays.

LEVERAGE ANY AND ALL USER-GENERATED CONTENT. Paid ads during the holidays are, put simply, not cheap. When every brand is trying to speak to customers, be the brand that lets customers speak to customers. Now is the time to leverage the user-generated content you’ve been keeping in the bank, whether it be recreations of your recipe content or stellar consumer testimonials that have been sitting on your site. Instead of putting spend towards creating new ads, utilize your best asset: your community.

DON’T JUST ADD TO THE NOISE. Instead of going all in on marketing simply because shoppers are spending more during the holidays, think strategically about why your brand should be speaking to consumers at this time in particular. Heart Creative cites an experience with a plant-based burger cli-


14 hours ago


ent as an example: “We know from consumer research that 90% of the people who buy alternative meats are people who eat meat, but just want to eat less. We also know that many of these consumers reduce their meat intake for health reasons,” says Rebekah Hubbard, Managing Director at Heart Creative. This insight, paired with insights about typical holiday dishes, helped the team come up with a holiday strategy for the client: “Vegan burgers aren’t holiday food. But what we knew we could message effectively was that these burgers are an easy way to sneak healthy meals in during the meat-heavy holidays.” This is an example of how strategy can inform a thoughtful campaign during the holidays that doesn’t just add to the noise, but provides genuine value to consumers.

SOMETIMES, THE BEST STRATEGY IS TO WAIT. While some brands can find valuable ways to appeal to their target audience during the holidays, others may find it more challenging. Ad dollars go further during the rest of the year than they do during the holidays -- so if you’re working extra hard to stretch your strategy to fit holiday messaging, you’re better off just waiting. The new year may be a great time to communicate your better-foryou brand, and will likely gain more reach than you would in December.

2021 IS THE YEAR OF WARM, INCLUSIVE MESSAGING. “The past year and a half has been difficult for gatherings. As we head into this season with a little more hope, there is still lingering uncertainty and anxieties that brands should be sensitive to in their messaging,” says Megan. She suggests avoiding negative holiday tropes, like guilt around food, and instead focusing on copy that is warm, inclusive and positive.


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