Finding Fans of CPG Brands w/ Kat Bethmann
Brand-Side
Brand-Side

Episode · 1 year ago

Finding Fans of CPG Brands w/ Kat Bethmann

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Due to the pandemic, digital Marketing has become even more essential to Consumer Packaged Goods brands.

Kat is a Marketing Communications Manager at Suja Juice; a brand that uses a High Pressure Process (HPP) to produce fresh and nutritious juices.

Kat shares the following:

  • What inspired her to pursue marketing communications.
  • What it’s like to transition from a digital marketing agency to the Suja Juice brand.
  • The Suja Juice background and how they nurture and grow their community.

Check out the resources below for more information:

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

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Welcome to brand side, a new podcast by Seltra 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. Welcome back to brand side. My name is Christine and I'm your host, and today we'll be talking all things CPG with Cat Bethman. She is the marketing communications manager over at Suja Juice, which is this beautiful company making delicious cold press juices that I'm a big fan off, and so I'm very excited to have Kat on the show. Welcome, how are you doing today? Hey, I'm great. Thank you so much for having me so obviously, over at Sultra, we you know, we have a big community of CPG marketers and I think this is going to be such an exciting conversation for them to listen into. But before that, I want to learn all about your background, so tell me about your journey into marketing. Yeah, so I've always been a creative person since childhood, but I really started to discover my love for communications in high school after getting involved in journalism, just to lay out in design, graphic design and photography. Kind of in high school is where it all started for me. I had a teacher in high school that was an absolute genius and Creative Guru, and he really kind of the came like a mentor to me. So when I started looking at colleges and majors, he's really the one that kind of helped guide me in the right direction and I ultimately decided to pursue marketing communications. So initially, with that path for me, I started done more of a path of journalism, but I soon realized, after doing some journalism classes and things, that I was really more interested in the creative and advertising side of marketing. So I switched my concentration to advertising and I declared my minor in marketing and then from there everything just kind of started to make sense for me and I just knew that I was meant to have a career in marketing. I love the psychology behind marketing. It's just kind of figuring out what...

...makes people tick and just that creative strategy and kind of creating content around that. So after graduating, I started a job at a digital marketing agency in Atlanta and I was there for four years and after working there, I kind of worked my way up to a senior account manager there, and at that agency I was working with dozens of accounts and campaigns at one time with clients, a lot in the CPG space, but everything from CPG to insurance brands to service providing companies. So I kind of got my got to dip my tone a lot of different avenues and I just, you know, from that point I knew that marketing was the right thing for me. I just did didn't know what exactly what path at that point I wanted to go down. Yeah, and agencies are great in that sense that you really get to see all these different facets and different types of roles that relate into into to marketing. So what made you curious about jumping over to the brand side? Sure, so, as the senior account man or as a senior account manager at the agency that I was at, I was, like I said, I was getting did it my toe and so many different things on a daily basis, but more so from a project management standpoint, and that I don't know if that's at the time I was trying to figure out if that's really what I was interested in doing. From a career standpoint. So I wasn't getting to be as creative as I knew I wanted to be in my career. So, after four years in the workforce, at that point I really had to take a step back and evaluate if that's the direction I wanted my career to go in or if I was ready to pivot. So agency life for me was a constant pivot from account to account and I felt like I was never really getting to fully immerse myself in any one brand, which, in my opinion, once you're able to start immersing yourself in one brand's creative world, old, I guess it's a good way to say it, is when you really start to get you know you, you start fluxing your creative muscles, and that's really what I wanted to do. So I moved out to San Diego and I stayed on at my agency job remotely, but this was around the same time I was kind of taking that step back to see what direction I wanted to go in. So I ultimately decided that I wanted to be more in that creative role. I wanted to flex my creative muscles and I knew that growing over to a brand was the best way for me to...

...get to do that at that point. So I found Suja through my network and I came on here as the marketing communications manager in two thousand and eighteen. So tell me a little bit more about the company and also what your day to days like in your role today. So, Suja, you kind of touched on it earlier, but we started in two thousand and twelve with the chef crafted line of organic cold press juices that were actually delivered on a skateboard in downtown San Diego at the start really. So yeah, so we keep, we still like to keep that socal Vibe, you know, alive and well in our brand today. But we have grown for since then into a brand that's we're now nationally available in the prode section of your favorite grocery store. So you know, you may have seen us at the store and you know we were available coast to coast. Now we have a wide range of cold press organic juices, shots and now sparkling juices, and all of our products undergo high pressure processing, which uses extremely high water pressure instead of heat to kill harmful bacteria and preserve the maximum nutrition and taste. So we really are, you know, the closest thing that you can get too fresh press juice. We're not we're not considered fresh press juice, but we have that taste because of the HPP process. And so, as the marketing communications manager, a typical day for me at Sujet? It's always unpredictable but it keeps my job extremely fun and challenging. My role kind of deals with things, all things digital. So I oversee our website, social media accounts, email marketing and all of our paid media. But I also get to play a huge creative role in that I over see all of our creative requests, whether that be, you know, managing a designer or getting to be the designer myself, which is so fun for me, just depending on the project and my capacity at that time. So I guess like a typical day for me would be balancing meetings, brain storms, copywriting, creative execution and and creative execution for me could be anything from graphic design to photography, to set...

...design, to creative direction, to an approval process, to managing a photographer or actually getting to be the photographer myself. So I gets wear a lot of hats. It's really fun and exciting and it's just really it's honestly just such an amazing feeling to be in a position and add a brand where I feel like my influence really matters and just like honestly seeing something out in the wild on the shelf at a grocery store that I got to design or how to hand in writing the copy for or really had, you know, influence on is a really crazy feeling. It's awesome. Yeah, you mentioned that Socal vibe. I've actually got a funny story in a little bit of an embarrassing confession. You know, I'm obviously I'm not American. So I moved here from Finland a couple of years ago and when I first started seeing the word Soakel I thought for the longest time the event, that's so California. It's something, that's something, that's where. So just wanted to like just remembered that story. But Um, we'RE GOING TO WE'RE gonna die. That's awesome. Yeah, that we're going to dive into the brandle a little bit more. But obviously you know you worked with a lot of these CBG brands already over during your agency years. So how did that experience prepare you to work for a CBG brand? Full time. Yeah, it really did, and I will say just first and foremost, I would not trade that experience instead of got it being an agency for four years for anything. It really set me up for success going over to the brand side. I guess the best way I can describe starting out an agency it was kind of a total like sink or swim type of scenario. You know, I was just coming out of college and your essentially just kind of thrown into the deep end right out of the gate and you quickly have to learn how to swim. So that really, you know, builds you as a marketer and as a person and as a career professional. It helped me develop thick skin, for one, and resilience, which both of those things I've carried over into my role creatively as a, you know, at the on the brand side. To me, I it's such an important skill to have when your work is under...

...constantly under a microscope and just open to opinions every day. Having that thick skin coming from the agency side is huge. You know, agency life was also just totally completely different as far as the lifestyle and the daytoday goes, but it really did teach me how to balance a lot of things on my plate at one time, how to wear a ton of hats and how to quickly pivot, which all three of those things are things that are critical in my job now on the brand side, especially at Suja, a brand that's less than ten years old still, and we're rapidly growing and innovating, so things are constantly changing and having to constantly pivot and just, you know, keep keep my mind open, and I got a lot of that experience about an agency. Lastly, just like learning how to manage stress really well. Agency life is extremely stressful, and life on the brand side it can be stressful too, but I feel like I'm able to really approach things differently having that agency background and experience, and I'm kind of able to come come at things with more of a level head and just more of a calmness that and may not have had without my agency experience. So I wouldn't trade it for anything. Yeah, and one of the things that I also wanted to discuss with you special especially relating to CPG. So what should these types of companies focus on? Marketing, wise, on digital? You know, for a lot of the specially if you're more traditional CPG, you've always been all about the shopper, marketing in store, and now there's this whole new layer that needs to be taken into account. Yeah, it's a whole new world. Especially after the past year. It's really become that digital has becomes so important. I just really at the end of the day, I think it's so important to get as close as possible to your consumers and just really focus on creating relationships first and foremost. That should kind of be the foundation, in the base of your strategy. In my opinion, just really like knowing and understanding the audience and then putting out the content that's relevant to that and to then and is really meaningful. Is is key. Keeping just a good balance of like, at least I know for student this is what we like to do. Like to keep a good balance of lighthearted humor with branded content,...

...because we are, at the end of the day, marketing a product, and then lifestyle content like how to is, recipes, etc. Just making sure that we're keeping people coming back, not knowing necessarily exactly what to expect from our feed, but kind of, you know, knowing what they're going to get when they come. I also just think it's super important to make sure your audience feels heard. Were constantly asking our audience for their opinions on our new product bus or on products that are already existing or whatever. We just want to know what what you really want. It's also just so important for me to stay mindful and relevant with what's going on in the world around us, especially, like I said, this past year it's been new for everyone. Everyone's kind of found a new normal, and so learning how to market around that is it's been really key and crucial this past year. Just knowing maybe when it's best to back off a little bit or maybe when it's the time to lean in on something, and really just understanding that that that's constantly ebbing and flowing and just being able to adjust your strategy around that overnight even maybe, if you need to, is just it's really important. So yeah, yeah, the kind of the red thread that I'm seeing come through all of this conversation is really that creative agility and being able to really shift gears quickly. And so with that I would also love to learn more about, you know, a we and Sugia campaign that really stood out to you or that you're very proud of. Yeah, so I this one's really exciting for me. A campaign that really stands out for me and for studio really is our drink plants campaign. It actually launched a couple of years ago, but it kind of just lives on because it's said it was such an impactful campaign. You know, it's the basis kind of now of a lot of what we do from a content perspective and I think it really helped strengthen our brand awareness. But you know, the campaign focused on utilizing bright, fun, creative and copy and it kind of made plants which us being a cold prushed fruit and vegetable juice company, you know plants are the hero every all of our products are plant based. So we focused on plants as the hero kind of in this campaign. So focusing on the idea of drink plants take...

...their power was kind of the or that is the slogan of the campaign and, like I said, that's carried through to everything we're still doing today. We still use that slogan all the time. And then, you know, we brought in, we were able to bring in so many different fun, kind of organic, unintended, I guess, elements around this campaign. So, you know, we obviously had the digital aspect of it through PAG media, but we had like a branded living wall in downtown La. It was made out of plants. I think it just really helped bring the idea to life and it wasn't just something living on digitals. Felt very real and organic and, you know, it kind of tie it all together. And so we, like I said, we still utilize pieces of this campaign and are paid me get content today and field marketing activations, and so it just lives on and I think it's just it's been a really important campaign for our brand, and you kind of already touched upon this a little bit, but it seems like Suja is really great at fostering a real community. And how do you do that? It's a huge piece of kind of our company culture. Honestly, in our brand culture. We really want to keep that human element intact at all times. It's super important for us. Like I mentioned, we started delivering juices on a skateboard. was kind of our inception. So we like to keep that same kind of vibe in our brand no matter how big we get. We just want people to feel that human connection with us. So just not getting too caught caught up and just selling your product, I think, is such a big component of that. You know, we want our community to feel like we've got their back and then they can count less. We just really make it a priority to focus on customer service and maintaining just conversational interactions with our audience. I'm always so proud of of my calms team and just our calm team and marketing team in general, just for your ability and their commitment really to staying up to date with community management, because it is a lot of work, as I'm sure every marketer knows. It's a ton of work community management, but it's so important and it's really...

...important for us as a brand. We like to constant. were constantly in the DM's where are responding to comments. We're just really just looking and finding fans that are posting about Studja and just commenting on their posts and just thanking them for being a fan of our brand and just we're we, you know, we just like to keep that human element alive and just not lose sight of that huge piece and it's a huge part of our our digital marketing strategy and again, just like I mentioned before, just staying mindful and relevant with what's going on in the world around you. It's really important, and just reminding your audience that we're all in this together and shifting our content strategy based on what's happening right now and just really knowing when to back off or to lean in and just making sure people know that, yes, we're marketing juice, but we're here for you too. I really think that you know, if you're listening to this episode right now, just go to maybe jump over to instagram quickly and check out what a Suja is doing there and see how they're running their community management in practice. Now, jumping over to another challenge to a lot of CPG brands, space is like we have so many digital channels that we have to keep filling with content at all times. How are you keeping up with these growing creative and content demands? Yeah, so this is the million dollar question. I'll really do the best I can just to tell you what we're doing. So we really try to do the best we can to constantly monitor trends. We're always trying to make sure that if we do decide to get on board with a and that we're seeing that I really makes sense for us as a brand and it feels natural. We have an amazing, you know, inhouse team of people that are constantly collaborating and and thinking up content ideas and planning out content. I mean we plan our content months in advance sometimes. So, you know, obviously some things are more on the fly if there's a trend happening, but a lot of times we do try to plan things out pretty, pretty far in advance so that we have time to, you know, figure out how we need to execute that plan, whether it's, you know, shooting content house or outsourcing it to...

...a designer if that's the right fit, or photographer doing the photography ourselves. A lot of times I'll shoot photography. A lot of you know we have an amazing and House influencer marketing team, so a lot of times will chat and collaborate with them to partner and figure out if it's right to feature influence our created content. And then we also love featuring, like UGC, consumer created content on our feeds too, because we know a lot of times we truly feel like the best way to communicate and resonate with our consumers is through our other consumers there. You know, a lot of times they're the ones who know our brand the best because they're the ones out there consuming it and they know what they like, and so, you know, what better than that to feature that on your profile? It's kind of the way we like to look at it. We also like to partner with other brands to like in our space and do things give a ways, and so we're constantly trying to think of new is to keep things fresh and relevant and, you know, just meaningful to our audience just out of curiosity. So we UGC are using any vendors or like software to help streamline that process of finding the right content and then getting that out there. It's just conversation that I've been having with other marketers to yeah, it's something we've been looking at. We're not currently using any outside vendors. It's a pull UGC WE DO. We just were constantly looking for people that are tagging us or using hashtags relevant to our brand and we're just saving that content on our back end feeds and then just, you know, saving it for the right day or the right time. Framer post is right. Now we've got a good system of you know, just kind of combing the backens ourselves and looking for that content. So it really stems again from the community management that you're doing. It all kind of right back for sure, and so this has been a really great conversation and I want to close out by asking if there's a CPG brand that you admire for their marketing and if yes, why? Yes, there are lots of them, but the one right now that seems really relatant to me and kind of comes to mind versus bark. It's not necessarily a human consumer products but...

I have two little free babies in my house and we get a bark box subscription every month. And you know, the definition of a CPG brand is one that is consumed and has to be constantly replenished and replace that in my house I have two golden noodles that like to tear up dog toys and we require routine replacement on dog toys in our house. So it is a big CPG brand for me. I really just admire Bark's ability to get their customers one to post about their brand just organically and consistently on social media. It's really impressive. It's not an easy thing to do in marketing and I honestly think it's viewed in nearly everything inside their box is to include inside the box lid is well branded, they're driving their consumers use their hashtag and they just bring a ton of humor into their products and for me it's you know, my dogs obviously love getting the toys, but I also get really excited every month to see like what the theme is and like I just think their toys are hilarious and, you know, they're always making me laugh and I just think they make a quality product and they're really focused around building relationships with their I mean everything down to their customer services on brand. So they've just done a really good job of creating this like powerhouse brand. That's such a great brand to mension. I actually used to work with them through the previous company that I was at and we filmed as some case study video and their headquarters were just filled with dogs everywhere and made for some really great content. And also they kind of like remind me of what peaks are did when they first came to market. They okay, yeah, they're making animation for children, but then they weave in those jokes and kind of like inside oneliners totally, and so they're totally for humans while they are selling dog product. Yes, like I get more excited about my bark box subscription than I do for some of the subscription boxes I get for myself. So yeah, it's they're they're...

...doing good things over there, mark of a great brand. Well, thank you so much for this conversation. If our audience wants to connect with you, where can they find you? Yeah, so, if you want to connect with me directly, my email is cat at Sujjuicecom and then obviously go check us out. Our websites, sujjuicecom, and our instagram handle is at Love Suja. So go check us out and try Suja if you haven't tried one yet. Yeah, you have to try it. I've got it up my local supermarket and I buy it every week. Great, and if you enjoyed this episode, make sure to rate, review and subscribe. That helps us a lot, and also check out Celtra's creative automation software over at Celtracom. Until next time. By you've been listening to brand side. If you like when 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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