Brand-Building for CPGs at Every Growth Stage w/ Lindsay Martin

Episode · 11 months ago

Brand-Building for CPGs at Every Growth Stage w/ Lindsay Martin


Consumer packaged goods are an enormous product category with players spanning the gamut from Goliath household names to smaller but fast-growing challenger brands.

Regardless of size, creating a brand that consumers can fall in love with is the lifeblood of every CPG marketer.

Today’s guest, Lindsay Martin , VP Marketing at Reed’s Inc , is someone CPGs big and small turn to when they need experience and expertise in branding and marketing.

In this episode, we discuss:

-The differences and similarities in marketing for giant CPG-staples and scrappy upstarts

-Why highly targeted marketing efforts can compete with large campaigns 

-The value in eking out a niche

Find this interview and many more by subscribing to BRAND-SIDE on Spotify, on Apple Podcasts, or on our website. 

People Fall in love with brands. Brands speak to people in different ways, different walks of life. I think the edge small brand tab is that we get empathy sometimes because you're a small brand and so people are willing to try you. Welcome to brand side, a new podcast by Celtra where we interview marketing creative operations and design meters to find out what life is like in house, first agency side and how big creative ideas come to life at the world's best brands. This is brand side by Sultra. Hi Everyone, and welcome back to brand side. My name is Christine, I'm the host, and today we have Lindsay Martin. She is a CPG marketing maverick. She is worked for companies like energizer and craft and fried away and now she is the VP marketing at read's inc. It is a company that makes better for you beverages, including reads, Ginger Beverages, Virgil Sodas and flying cauldron beverages. Welcome on the show. It's so great to have you here, Lindsay. Thank you, Christine. It's pleasure. Thank you for having me. It's it's exciting to talk to you because you have this experience in working with these massive CPG brands and now you're working at a smaller company, and so you even grew up in the industry. So talk me through this origin story from coming from a CPG family to having a marketing career a giant's like craft, and then ultimately to reach absolutely it's a journey. It's every days a new day and I think at the end of it you got to take opportunities as they come. As you said, CPG's my blood, my I was born into a CPG family. My father worked at Petsi and Maxwell House and actually started his own company and in high school I actually drove my family's van back and forth to school and I had to sample, I had to open accounts. All of my friends were invested in in so be. That's the brand that my father created with a bunch of other cpget guys he worked with, and so really was in my blood. And ironically, when I went to college I was a finance major and I ended up working at bear sterns right out of college and it took only three months for me to realize that really what I wanted to be doing was making things that I could see on the shelf, that could make people happy. I love seeing people and trying to figure out what it is they need and then creating it. So lucky for me I was able to transition to frito lay at twenty two. I moved down to Texas from New York and I was not an MBA. Have a straight out of college and I was working on the tostitos brand with a bunch of rock stars, I mean everyone ever work with. It was a Varsity team. I learned so much. I was I'd get to work at seven and I'd leave at nine and I didn't stop working because I loved it. and down at Friedo I was classically trained and I was all in so early other in the foundations of marketing, everything from advertising to research to new product development, how to budget, not to budget, how to do sports marketing, etc. And then I went back and got my MBA and landed at craft, which is in the northeast, which is where my family's from, and I wanted to sort of jet jets at from and another Varsity team and we played the game and it's when you're at those big companies. They clearly had the awareness. So I worked at Tostitos down and Friedo lay and Ritz crackers and multipacks. At craft you have the awareness to fight in battle. There is really getting people to consume or share of stomach and so it's a very different game. It's the process of getting things done. Is is amazing...

...because there's so many people and every every little piece of share that you can grab from not only your competitors but internally from the other players. For example, at Tostitos we used to pitch for share of shelf from Doritos, which is a Freedo lay product, but we needed to fight for were. We had to come up really good plans to get the space because it's all shared space. So from there I bounced up to Energizer, primarily because I wanted to move out of the city. So that was just a life change and that happened in brand. It might be different now because of remote but typically in normal CPG you have to be there at working hard. Yeah, so that was a ship for me because I went into personal care. So I work for wine, Tropic Banana Bout playtex over there. And another big shift for me was I went from the Commercial North America side to global and so instead of trying to get our products into retail like target, Walmart, etc. With sort of a square of products. I was now creating the brands. So I'd energizer. I fundamentally learned how to create a concept which is down from insight down to pricing for the world. On all these products. I'd been thinking five years ahead. I'd be watching trends and I build I call it the menu. I was sort of the chef. I build the menu, yeah, and then ship it out to all the regions. They pick what they liked and then I'd create the brief for advertising. So it was sort of really core brand and energizer and then so that that's like my varsity team, big brand experience. It was amazing. It in your s and s. That is your life, as it should be. Great Training. I ended up leaving energizer primarily as another life change. I was a mom and three kids and it was great working there. I just would travel an hour and a half to work. So this is the hardest decision of my career and the most rewarding actually. I decided to go into consulting and taking that step was liberating because I said I only want to work three days a week. I have two children. I know I can get projects done and I know that it's the skill set to manage my time and get things done efficiently, but I would like to enjoy my children or be part of their lives and be present, because I really wasn't before then, you know, and I was a weekend soccer coach. So I made that step and it was scary but it was amazing. It really was liberating. I took control of my career and so from there I went to Victoria Pasta Sauce, which was private equity backed, which is a whole nother beast to. That's where I met my current work partner, who's also at reads with me, Phil Trapman. We ran the show at Victoria. We re branded pasta sauce. What was amazing, so I'm back in CPG now, was that I was exposed to the all natural world. So, having been part of Freedo and craft, love snacking, but now, as a mom, this being exposed to all natural, the all natural segment, it's just it's on trend and I was exposed to all these conventions and just kept growing. Yeah, and for you, I guess, going into that natural world. It is that piece where the brand really aligns with values and what you're all about, as well as a person just beyond just career. Absolutely, and that's sort of the trifector or the perfect storm when you land on and you believe in your brand. And Me Listen, I've always believed in brands that I've worked for. It's just a different part of a different time in my life. Right, I have shifted to this all natural being and, to be honest,...

...ten fifteen years ago there wasn't really that. There was an option, but it was so niche. Now I think it's expected. So, and listen, I my kids will you plasta sauce all day long. In fact, they will only in Victoria, which is sort of a beast. It's either Victoria plasta sauce or you. So you did your job as a marketer then, I did. I did, and I have pictures that I can send my one year old just drinking. I mean she'll drink it as a soup. So my next opportunity was reads, and I mean we all love Soda, and what better way to read evolutionize and evolutionize the soda category then within an all natural alternative? Right, the categories massive and they're limited. There's limited competition out there. So it's really excited about the opportunity to go back full time and drive the business. It needed a refresh. It needed everything that I knew how to do with the limited budget. So here I am and I've been able to staff up a team and it's really dynamic. It's in the large company. They have teams, they're set for you. It's really entrepreneurial and even though it's thirty years old, it's it's a startup and it has that entrepreneurial energy which I love. So I'm back to where I started with so be in terms of building a vibe and a brand in a party that everyone wants to be at. So and with bringing this wealth of experience that you have all aspects of CPG marketing. So up. Talk me through the reads brand. What is it all about? So I think you mentioned it up from it's a better for you, healthy refreshman. So we're a portfolio brands. It's thirty years old. Reads actually was created thirty years ago. All of our products are all natural. There's nothing artificial. So I mean when you talk about drinking a soda that you could feel good about, this is one of them. We have a portfolio. So who have reads, virgils and flying call durant? They all have different print audiences. So as a lean team, it's actually somewhat challenging to be really efficient with the marketing budget, but we seem we figured out ways to do that and we're all really just we're about bringing delicious, bold beverages that you can feel better about drinking and sharing with your family and the refreshing and they're all natural and we actually have a range of full sugar to zero sugar, so you can pick from. We have bottles and cans. There's things that you can pick from for depending on who you want to share with. My kids love it. Yeah, it's funny whenever I have a brand that is new for me on the PODCAST. Then I started noticing them as well in the Grocery Star, like reeds, is actually the ginger. Yeah, the Ginger Ale is sold in my my quarter groceries. So I think I need to go in and do a little shopping trip after this. Absolutely. So I have a question and I'm really curious about this answer. Being a marketer myself, with a lean team and limited resources, how do you make the most out of your marketing budget. So after doing a national campaign. We did a national campaign two or three years ago, I've really figured out that our secret for success is being extremely targeted. So back in the days we used to have to pay a ton of money to do a huge commercial that you put on TV that they say they could target. But to amazing about today's Day and age is you can get very targeted. So for each of our three brands, what we like to do is you pick a consumer target and then we pretty much focus on social media, which you know, you can zoom in on those people. We also from a retail perspective. I only want to market where I am so I'm not going to waste money in Lalaland over there where they can't get the product, even though we are on ECOMM.

I have picked retailers. So we've done a couple of target marketing at Food Lion, at stop and show, sorry, at shop right where we will amplify. I'll have billboards around the areas where the stores are. I'll focus on retail marketing there and then I'll amp up my social media in that area so it feels like a full campaign. And guess what, people hear it, they see it and they can go buy it. So really, instead of just a broad awareness campaign, I'm really focused on getting that product into people's hands. Another so most of our stuff is focused on most of our money is spent on social media down to retail marketing. But one of my something that has vibe and a pulse is our green machines. So one of the team that used to run the sob you love bust and listen, I love cars. My family loves cars. Everyone loves a happy car, right like, I don't know, when you drive by you can if there's good music, if there's people around, everyone wants to stop by. So we took the old sampling team from so be HMM. We bought an old hotshaff fire fight, firefighting truck from nor CAL and we've converted to the to the green machine, and these guys, shine and Katrina, they travel around the country and they hand out samples. Now with covid that was a little wonky, but they ended up going in delivering product to hospitals, which is oh wow. Yeah, and then for a while they turned into sale, the sales team, because they couldn't do events, but they will go to the stores. Were activating and just turn on the music, hand down samples surround the areas so you really feel like it's amplified and wherever they are, the party is, which I love. Yours. You're taking me way back because one of my first jobs while I was studying, I used to do sampling and and CPG promotions part time, like working all the fields, like weekends, traveling with a school bus around the total like around the festivals and back in Finland, and like sampling ice cream and sampling haircare products and and things like that. So, yeah, a good trip down the memory lane. So I'm in addition to staying really targeted with your marketing activities, what are some of the other lessons that you're pulling from your bast CPG experience and then applying them on a challenger brand? So beyond on just spending money to market, I think at the core the product on shelf, if you had zero dollars, is the key to your success. Right. So that starts with an insight. And it's funny because in college I never want to take marketing classes because I'm I can't learn marketing. It has to come from within. It's sort of intuition, right, you have to look at people and find a need, want or belief that you can captivate. So what I love about reads is that we're such a small team and we have the resources via consultants, to get things done and if we have an idea, it can be done in you know, the minimal timeline. There's no pitching, there's no powerpoint presentations, it's let's get it done. So I think one of the biggest thing that I've learned is how to define a concept, to find an insight and turn it into a product and then, once you have that product, to create packaging that tells your story, that gives people sort of a feeling and really, if you have no cash market, just having that piece will sell itself. The marketing helps them. The core of marketing is having a brand that's high quality, that has a need, want or belief based in it. And our our insight really is said, people love Soda, but they want better for you product ducks and ironically, Canada dry has no real ginger and we're like what? So we've created our real ginger...

...ail that has a ton of real ginger and once we tell people that, right, convert pole. Yeah, I was one of those I had no idea that Canada dry doesn't use the real ginger, and so when I heard about that I was like wow, this site read sounds so delicious. It's such a simple story to tell an impactful so, circling back into this need want belief, talk me through how consumer trends have shaped the brandom type of communications that you run. I know that when we first connected we were discussing the whole Kito Movement, zero sugar and like, what kind of action did that lead you guys to take in the market and with your product? Absolutely so. Typically, we all have a pulse on what's going in the market and I love going to parties to love seeing what people are bringing. I'm that's solely the reason why I go to parties. Don't tell anyone now. It's hold everyone. Everyone always knows I'm trying to sniff out the next idea, right. But there is a huge, as you said, Kito Movement right now. In fact, I did KEDO for a year and it's amazing and a small idea that has a massive following right. So the concert here is not necessarily to try to be an Olympian. Maybe we just want to be really good at one thing and those people who are into it like, for example, tennis. Like I might be really good at tennis and if I'm talking to everybody he plays tennis, who loves tennis, they'll pitch the product for us. Right. So it's the same thing with Keito. Everyone who's zero sugar and has minimal amount of carbs is Keto. No one's talking about it, so let's talk about it. If you walk into Costco Right now, Kito is all over everything now. So we start of buck the trend and we got on board early. Two years ago. We brought vertles down to the KETO KAN and we ended up switching our portfolio from full sugar to zero. So now we have nine can our ginger rail and ginger beer is now zero sugar and we just came out with these mocktails. You guys can't see what I'm holding up, but I'm sure you can has drive it to me. Aud Is. Yes, it's a it's transfusion and Shirley temple ginger rail based products that typically are mixed with booze. We're launching zero sugar versions of those. So instead of buying like a cranberry Ginger Rail, you can buy a Shirley temple, ginger rails another flavor. But so to back up, to answer your question, zero sugar trends, Kito trends, mocktail trends, because those people are drinking, but also our td trend, ready to drink boozy drinks. HMM. These are all trends that we can captivate being a injer ail and AESODA. And so in two thousand and twenty one we've launched a lot of great things, from mocktails to ginger ail to zero sugar ginger beer. And in two thousand and twenty two we have some killer innovation that I think we'll sort of shake up those four categories. So we're very excited about it. Yeah, and so then moving back into campaigns, what kind of campaigns are you guys running to drive your core narrative? So we have, we have two right now. Realize always better. We've actually tested it and consumers love the concept because it's true. Real is always better. It's better for you. He's better. And we're running that campaign. As I said before, we're basing it on retail and amplifying it in those spaces. You'll probably you'll see content online to because we do target outside of Geo Target. If people like ginger, people like Het etc. You probably see that on social and on Google display. And then the second campaigner running is soda smarter, and that's on virtuals and the concept there is nothing artificial, all natural. It's just smarter. I mean it's just a better just a better soda. You probably have to pay a little more for it,...

...but all of our products are all natural, use real everything. So if you're going to grab a soda, which, by the way, it's a Ginger Elis, is a one point two billion dollar category. Even one person share, there is cash in our in our pockets right. So people are still drinking soda. A lot of people have moved to Celtzer with no flavor. Some people still want flavor and I'm trying to get those people back to I mean they sometimes it's a lost cause, but I think June shine right now is doing a campaign that's asking people why are you drinking spike Seltzer when you can have something that actually tastes like something? And so we're somewhat similar. Have your cake and eat it. To right, you can have full sugar or zero sugar, all the flavor it's just better for you. I love that. And so my final question is about community building for CPG brands. Do you think smaller brands such as reeds have an edge over the the giant when it comes to actually having a conversation online or having reactions, having authentic fans? What do you think? Well, I think there's two things. People people love brands, whether they're bigger little. People Fall in love with brands. Brands speak to people in different ways, like different walks of life. I think the edge small brands have is that we get empathy sometimes because you're small brand and so people are willing to try you. But I think from a disadvantage is that we don't have a lot of money to tell that story right. So coke can go and launching new small brand that doesn't have coke anywhere on it and and spend the money and some people, a lot of people, just don't know. But I think the key externally is we do get empathy. People love local. That's a good, big part of our story. And also, I think the biggest difference is internally, we move fast. Like I said before, if a consumer rights XYZ like that is a great idea. We can turn it around in six months or less. There's no process that impedes us. We have process here, but it's not well, we've got to present it four times and talk about the budget. We do this feel we figure it out if it's profitable, and we even can take it to retailers and see if there's interest, we can make it happen. For example, we just were launching a product in Costco Pack northwest in November. We got the word a month ago that they wanted and we're like yeah, let's make it. You want it. And when you co create with retailers because you're small and flexible, they want you. And if retails want, retail wants you. Consumers want you because that's where the marketing is right. So I think another piece to separately is the ecome sort of online piece, because we really have the freedom and flexibility to do whatever we want. We are not a power house any come, but if you know, notice coke and Pepsi really don't have an ECOMM presence because they're mostly retail. A lot of the new ECOM brands that's all they do because they don't have retail. They don't and there's no overhead in terms of selling it into retail box seers. We're a mix. We're in Fortyzero plus doors, so we are retail based. But during Covid we were able to turn on ECOME. We're not there yet. I mean we did probably a million last year and ECOMM which is great for having never don't have we didn't have the infrastructure. But that's another example of being flexible, Nimble read. It was just like make it happen. It wasn't. Let's go present the idea and talk about the upside. So that to I think we have a one up in terms of feeling a heartbeat out there and seeing what's needed and being flexible in terms of innovation and new concepts in online as well. Lindsay,...

...this has been a great conversation. I think our audience is going to be able to draw a lot of practical how to use and inspiration, whether they work in CPG or even in other industries. Just the idea of being very focused and targeted while having the structure for working fast and being nimble. That those are just really valuable lessons to learn and implement in marketing overall. Finally, if if our community wants to connect with you or if they want to buy your products online or in store? where? Where can they find you? And and also reads beverages. Awesome. Yeah, so you can find our beverages at www dot drink readscom. There's a shop store. We're going to be launching a news shop by site pretty soon, but for now you can grab it there or at Amazon, and you can contact me. I'll give you my email address. I'd love to be a mentor. I'd love to I'm happy to connect with I love connecting people to people. I love making things happen. So L Martin M Marti N at reads inkcom happy to chat. You can send me an email and hopefully I'll get back to you as soon as they can come on all my other news. Thank you. Thank you so much for being on and if you enjoyed this episode, maybe give us five stars. If you have a minute or two, write a review and share this with your colleagues as well. My name is Christine. This is the brandside podcast by Celtra and we will see you in a couple of Mondays, or you will here for us. This is a podcast. You've been listening to brand side. If you like what you heard, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about creative production automation, is IT SULTRACOM? Thanks for listening, until next time,.

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