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  • Writer's pictureGreg Fleishman

Top Strategist Greg Fleishman On Developing A Strong Brand Identity And The Keys To A Successful Pro

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

Greg Fleishman | CPG Investor | Founder | CEO | Board Director
Greg Fleishman | CPG Investor | Founder | CEO | Board Director

From time to time, I will be interviewing industry experts when I feel that their knowledge and insight can be of great value to Organic Insider readers. In the first of this series, I am speaking with Greg Fleishman, Co-Founder & CEO of Purely Righteous Brands.

In my view, Greg is the absolute best and most sought-after brand building expert in the organic food industry today, through his work in strategy, marketing, design and channel management. See his full bio below.

Greg talks about what it takes to successfully launch a product and how brands fail to develop a strong identity.

The most critical element is a fully developed launch sales & marketing plan, which I often think of as “Mother henning every point of distribution.” This means having a plan that focuses on driving immediate, scalable awareness against target consumers that surround all points of distribution.

For example, if I get a product into Whole Foods in Brooklyn, I am thinking about how to drive awareness from two specific vantage points:

1)   In-Store: demos, partnering with other complementary brands, accessing Whole Foods’ promotional offerings such as its newsletter or end-cap programs, and a compelling/trial-driving price discount (typically no less than 50% off your regular everyday SRP).

2)   Out-of-Store: leveraging digital marketing and geo-targeting advertising on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and Google Display; experientialconnecting with consumers in the field and sampling with them, close to where you have nearby points of distribution.

You now have 6 months on average to prove out new products, so leaning on impactful, scalable and highly targeted tactics is key to driving rapid trial. All of this needs to be guided by clear objectives, goals and strategic pillars.

In terms of the biggest mistakes that brands make when launching a new product, I would say they are two.

The first mistake is around planning – either not far enough in advance of the launch or blasting off without a high impact, integrated, 360-degree marketing program. This is critical to driving immediate awareness and trial.

Most people launch a brand and only rely on trade promotion. They don’t think holistically, which is a huge error.

The other mistake is that sales, marketing, and operations must be partnering and working together. While this may sound obvious, the reality is that all too often these departments are still operating in silos. Everyone needs to be in constant communication, from the planning stage to execution.

The product launch does not end once the product hits the shelf. A successful product launch requires 6-9 months before it hits stores and then another 6-9 months afterward to iron out the kinks and to drive awareness and trial. Throughout both phases, the operations, sales and marketing teams must be working in complete lock-step.

Generally speaking, there is a breakdown somewhere in developing a brand’s identity.

Some people do not know they need to formally develop a brand’s identity, so there is an education gap. The brand makes sense to them. Yet, they do not realize it doesn’t make sense to other people.

If people have identified there is an issue with the brand’s identity, they may not understand the process necessary to fix this problem.

Or, if they have gone through the process, they may not know how to express this via all consumer touch points – packaging, website, advertising, trade show booths, promotional activities, even something as simple as a t-shirt.

There are approximately 22,000 new items launched every year in the food and beverage industry, and it is becoming brutally competitive. The congestion of new products means that a consumer must immediately know what you stand for.

However, when you walk through the store, you see quite a few brands that don’t know what they stand for and how they are supposed to change your life for the better. You should be able to look at a product and within seconds, understand its value proposition.

One brand that has nailed it is Go Raw. They have a brand identifier of “junk-free food”. Right away from the packaging, I know that it is a snack brand and I also know that it is an alternative to unhealthy food.

Other best practice brand identifiers are: Foodstirs is a “modern baking company”, REBBL is “righteous plant alchemy”, Modern Alkeme is “Japanese supertonics” and Bonafide Provisions is “restorative bone broth”.

It is not a coincidence that really strong brands have clear and concise brand identifiers on their packaging.

An effective message brief focuses on: who you are trying to reach; what their core needs are; your unique promise and values (that no other competitor in the category could not lay claim to) and where/when you are delivering the messaging.

When it comes to message delivery itself, it’s key that it be breakthrough and on brand, and that it utilizes ownable message points and is persuasive.

Greg Fleishman is currently the Co-Founder & CEO of Purely Righteous Brands. During his 20-year career, he has created, positioned, and grown some of the world’s largest and most successful brands, launching 3,500+ items across 17 food and beverage categories into 12 countries, focusing primarily on the “natural green space”.

He held the role of Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at both Suja Juice and Sambazon, and previously worked as a Lead Executive at Kashi, Bear Naked, Kellogg, and Coca-Cola. Greg is also the Co-Founder & CEO at Foodstirs and Co-Founder & CSO at Modern Alkeme, two super-hot brands in the industry.

In 2016, Greg was named to Forbes List of Top Consumer Catalysts, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors or Advisory Board for Demeter Biodynamic, Nuun, Once Upon a Farm, Lily's Sweets, Love the Wild, Modern Alkeme, and Foodstirs. This content was originally published in Organic Insider.

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