Natural Heath Products: Ingredients for Success

#15 David Lemley - President @ Retail VooDoo | Today's Brand Ecosystem + Better for You Brands + Pandemic Packaging + Brand Slam Webinar

December 28, 2020 Stratum Nutrition Episode 15
Natural Heath Products: Ingredients for Success
#15 David Lemley - President @ Retail VooDoo | Today's Brand Ecosystem + Better for You Brands + Pandemic Packaging + Brand Slam Webinar
Chapters
Natural Heath Products: Ingredients for Success
#15 David Lemley - President @ Retail VooDoo | Today's Brand Ecosystem + Better for You Brands + Pandemic Packaging + Brand Slam Webinar
Dec 28, 2020 Episode 15
Stratum Nutrition
Transcript
Andrew Rice:

You are listening to the ingredients for success podcast, where you can consume dietary supplement industry, best practices, trends, recent news, and other insights provided through interviews and discussions with members of the stratum team and seasoned industry. Welcome back to the ingredients for success podcast. I'm Andrew Rice. Today we have David Lemley who is the president and brand strategy guru over at Retail VooDoo. David, how are you doing today? Glad you're on. Andrew. Thanks for having me. I'm excited for our chat today. So typically I do a little bit of background on whoever it is that I have on the show. But today, instead of that, I just wanted to read one of the LinkedIn recommendations that I saw on his profile. You ready for this?

David Lemley:

So I'm like, I'm sitting in my chair. Hopefully I won't lean too far out of the frame.

Andrew Rice:

No, you're good. You're centered. But, uh, here we go. When we first met David humbly claimed his primary responsibility was brewing coffee for his office mates. I have yet to experience that, but I have experienced his other talent masterminding and executing plans to propel his client's businesses light years ahead of the competition overnight. He did include overnight. So that's pretty, that's a pretty impressive recommendation.

David Lemley:

Yeah. It's um, that's a great recommendation and I, I know who wrote that, so that's very nice. Yeah. So our, our business is really about helping brands evolve. And there's really only three times where we are immensely valuable to a brand that is when a brand is ready to press the gas, because they have figured out that they have momentum and they want to go and become dominant in a category. Another time is when they need to evolve to keep up with changing consumer preferences or the way the world has changed around them or to restore growth to a declining brand.

Andrew Rice:

Right. I love that. Um, so I think, you know, we talked, we chatted a little bit before, before today and we kinda went through. Uh, your book went through your book a little bit, talked about that. Um, it's a very, very good read for any of the brands out there in the natural space that are, that are just searching right now. Um, those better for you brands. And I love that terminology as well, but it is beloved and dominant brands. I think I bought mine on Amazon. Um, so I, I did love, I did love the book. I have to admit, I haven't read all of it, um, about three quarters of the way through. Um, but so, so many good, um, just so many good lessons and, and things you have in here for brands to grow, to grow, especially. And we talked about this a little bit, especially today, and I think that's what we're going to talk about is just, you know, today with everything going on, um, all of the chaos, I think. This book is even even more relevant today. And so today we're going to be talking with David specifically about the fundamentals of marketing and brand ecosystem for the natural products, but like right now today. So, David, what do you think, where should we start?

David Lemley:

I think that's, that's a great way to set it up. And as we did talk, you know, that the most fascinating thing about the book is that, uh, I wrote it based on my business coach telling me it's time to write a book. And this was the, the, the short book designed to be read on one airplane ride and yeah. I was, we put it out and then I was really nervous because the pandemic hit and I thought, Oh crap, that effort now it's going to be post relevant because the pandemic has changing everything. And what we found is that the advice and the book is even more poignant and better because it's literally a lie or you can climb with little to no dollars. If you don't have any, or if you have a great budget you're managing, it helps you know where to invest and where to stop investing pretty rapidly.

Andrew Rice:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, and, and we were, again, we were just talking about this and, uh, and I haven't been able to see one of the episodes. But I, I vowed to you today. I'm going to go watch the red, the red plate episode, but you have right now, something also, when we talk about brands, getting their feet kicked underneath them, especially entrepreneurs or startups that are just getting going and this, you know, everything happened. I feel forum. I've talked a little bit about the show about this, but you guys have developed. A webinar with a little bit different spin. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

David Lemley:

Yeah. Yeah. It's called brain slam and it was born out of, we were actually packing up and getting ready to go to the airport to go to expo West last year, if we care this year, I guess. Uh, and w we started getting all of these calls and determined that we were not going to go. And then the thing was canceled. And what I found out is that I, at that particular point, I had 42 meetings scheduled over two and a half days to, and every one of those people wanted to talk to me. And so I ended up opening up my counter since I. Had everything moved. And I decided to give it to everybody who had put all of their poker chips in, on expo that was going to be hurting because they can't get their money back, these small brands, these entrepreneurs. And so I offered them 30 minutes of consult to do whatever they needed to do to help find out maybe how prioritize things. And that was such a great karma thing for me because I F I felt like I helped people. Bandage their wounds rapidly. And so my team got together and said, what if we can turn that into something fun and share it. And maybe we can't help a thousand brands because it's very time intensive to do so, but maybe we can help enough. And if we make it fun and game show, like we can do a handful of brands during the pandemic because it takes a fair amount of time. We decided to do one a month and that will make it interesting enough that. Entrepreneurs and emerging brands should watch it because they can apply all the lessons to theirs. So brand slam is all about flipping a brand to get traction in 30 minutes, using the framework in the book, that brand ecosystem or that pyramid in there, we walked the brand and their founder and their management team through, through how they benchmark against themselves, the competitive set and their opportunities. And we walked through one by one and talk about. What's working and what needs improvement.

Andrew Rice:

Yeah. Gotcha. Um, speaking to. Um, w you know, your book and, you know, you talk about going through the different, you know, BF BFY brands for you, um, lifecycle that's inside your book, and you just speak to it. You just spoke to it just a little bit there. Um, but. So when they apply that on, on your game show, um, brand slam, what are some of the, you know, can you give the audience here just a little bit of a taste to kind of watch what you walk them through when you're talking about lifecycle of that brand?

David Lemley:

Sure. The lifecycle of any brand lives a little bit like this, except for multinationals. I S I'd say that particularly in the modern world where it's better for you in nutrition focused and fitness focused people, there is this formula for creating a brand, which is, um, Passionate founder has some situation in their life that causes them to hack something, a recipe. It might be based on nutrition. It might be based on diet restrictions. It might be based on, um, wanting to change the planet, but that they create something and it becomes the first and only of its kind. And. That leads to through friends and family and social media, that leads to a form of relevance that we call dominant by default. So in a really small puddle, they're a huge fish, but if they want to grow, they're going to spread the word, get it out there. And what happens is their proof of traction creates. A myriad of copycats me twos. Typically those mean twos are like, like them, other entrepreneurs, but many times they are better funded well-organized marketing machines that can come and steal their lunch money at will. And so they find themselves having gone from dominant by default to one of many, and struggling to be relevant, struggling to stay on shelf or to get the velocity that they need on shelf or through Amazon or DTC. And. This, we wrote the book specifically because the category audit the brand of the brand ecosystem is the first tool in our process that we've used over 300 times to help brands go from one of many to 11 and dominant by intention and plan. And so that's really the framework for the book and. The cool part is we've been able to turn that into a 30 minute webinar for, um, people who can get a lot out of it. Because again, it's, it's one thing to read a book and have a ton of interesting anecdotes and formulas that are pre-written. But it's another thing to stand in the bullring, into a live with, with an entrepreneur whose emotions and life and money are sitting in the room with you and for the world to watch it's itself a whole nother thing. And so it's, it's cool because they're very passionate and you get, you get that. That you might not get from reading a book.

Andrew Rice:

Yeah. You get that a lot with, with the founders. Um, especially, you know, like you said, that the ones there in the beginning, um, that may, may have started that trend, um, you just get that passion. It's so awesome to see that and experience that. And I bet for you on the show being, you know, being in that and being able to. Um, to experience that, but then also just the fulfillment of being able to help a brand like that, especially if they are having a hard time, I can tell based on the LinkedIn record commendation before you probably would lean a little bit more towards the servant leadership. And, um, so I bet that probably feels pretty good to you when you're, you know, when you're able to, to experience, uh, experience and share that emotion with, uh, with the brand like that.

David Lemley:

Yeah, it's hugely important to me. It kind of gets into, so I've been doing this, this brand thing for a very long time back since, uh, when branding had a lowercase B, because it was applying your low Joe to a water bottle or maybe a truck or something, you know, and now it's a capital B and you can get an MBA in it and that's. Amazing. Uh, it's a different world. So I've been doing this a very, very long time and people have asked me, so why don't you like live on the beach and surf? And, uh, it's because of the contribution that I feel like I'm able to make to these businesses. I decided about 10 years ago with my business partner and I had been doing this for. Anyone who could fund the agency and what we did in the great recession in 2008 to 2010, we rethought while we were doing took on a bunch of very interesting projects and came out of that recession saying, you know, we have these tools. What if we only use these tools? With people who wanted to make the world better or disrupt the food system or change nutrition. And so we came to that and that's how we've run for the last decade. And that is the contribution that I'm making is I personally don't have the power to change the world, but I can help if I can help several hundred other wildly passionate marketers and CEOs get that stuff done. That's my contribution. And I feel really great about that. So I'm juiced up about that every morning. Yeah,

Andrew Rice:

that's, uh, it's, it's amazing. It's an amazing feeling. It's something that is also kept me in, in doing what I do as well. I think when you, when you kind of grab a hold of that, as we're younger, and I was there with you, you know, when somebody asks for a brand, they typically were asking just for a logo and they were going to put it on a napkin or something. Right. But, you know, so we've kind of grown up in this and. Uh, you know, cutting your teeth the way we did, but learning along the way that like what we do just so dramatically can impact the future of these, of these people and their families that we're working with. And that's. That's what's kept me doing this, you know, being able to collect some of that knowledge that's up there, but I know that I know it seems very much like that's what drives you? Um, it's awesome to hear and see your passion for what you do. Um, it's very evident. So, David, um, let's talk real quick about something else. I know. You're um, Extremely passionate about right now, especially as well. And that is the science of retail packaging. Um, there's so much that we could talk about today. Uh, the role of packaging and how that has really changed or morphed a little bit as digital as come on, as strong as it is. So let's chat about that for a few.

David Lemley:

Sure. Well, I think you nailed it. It really has been impacted or fast-forwarded by the, uh, the pandemic. The pandemic has done things like take the DTC platform or the Amazon platform. And fast-forward, people's universal acceptance of it by necessity, um, at least five years. And the social proof of that is that. Senior citizens who would never, ever put their credit card into a computer are now hooked on Instagram. I mean, not Instagram Instacart and some of them on Instagram, which is terrifying. And we won't go there. But I think talking about packaging and how the pandemic and the way people shop has influenced it, there is a, a simplification and. Turning your package into an icon that works on a phone is something that has been accelerated. It was already starting to happen, but in the pandemic, it has really become incredibly important that your package be recognizable. And the reason is because while you can list your features and benefits on DTC, and you can do that in an Amazon shelf. The competition for those spaces is so much higher than it was and because of the pandemic and because at the beginning, DTC was really the wild West for emergent brands. Now you have very, well-organized very well-funded people such as Mondilise Pepsi, et cetera, et cetera. Becoming expert in the space. So the cost to capture the attention or show up on page one or whatever your metric is, has it's more than five times when it was in February. And so it's no longer a free reign for the. Emerging and industry darlings. It is now a war zone, so bold, iconic packaging and a crisp, uh, go to market strategy are essential. They're, they're linked in a way that you could get away with having a little fuzziness on both in the past. And now. That shows up instantly.

Andrew Rice:

Yeah. Like you say, war zone. And I like instantly picture because you can see it taking place, right? Like you can walk through the Isles and like, bam, bam. But like you just start seeing these new landmines popping up, which are just amazing, whether it's. You know, obviously the package design, it needs to be striking if you're talking about the 30, 10, three rule or whatever, right. If they're doing things correctly, right. It's bright from 30, you know, I'm seeing it from a distance. I recognize the logo as I get closer. And then when I get even closer, that packaging and the messaging is resonating with me and I believe in this product and, Oh, it's all natural. And you know, you know, all that stuff, but it, it really is like a war zone because like every time I go to target. I'm like seeing these new brands pop up and just like, they're just like, uh, it's, it's an exciting time. I feel for like package design nerds, which I would consider myself a package designer. And I'm not going to speak for you,

David Lemley:

but yeah, I've, I've done a bunch. So yeah, I, I I'll take that.

Andrew Rice:

So, so when we're talking about packaging, who's doing it well right now.

David Lemley:

Well, you know, you mentioned target and I think target is actually a very interesting example of a, uh, a brand that owns the shelf that is doing an amazing job of keeping up with this. Um, Hmm. It's a millennial focused mindset of leaning natural or leaning better for you, but not full metal, whole foods, better for you. And I think they do a really good job across all sorts of spectrums. They have many private labels, which I think have captured people's imagination and rival. Anyone else are going to put on the shelf. Yeah,

Andrew Rice:

I totally agree with the, you know, I don't know if they're, they are the best out there, but yeah, you go, it target was like one of the first brands where I walked in the store and like I saw something and it grabbed my eye and I was like, wait, wait, that's not, what was it always save? Or like, that's not, that's not the, like, what is that? That's good branding. That's a great packaging, but that's target. It took me a while to sink in like, Well that's target. Oh, well, that's cool. I was just in the coffee aisle and saw whatever the, I don't even remember. I just remember their designs were cool and it like draw drew me in and I was like, Hey babe, you want to try this? Try this kind of she's like, no, I like my son. I don't mess with her coffee. So, but I was about to, because of the packaging.

David Lemley:

You know, another brand that I think it said another retailer that I think is kind of doing an amazing job and has produced one of the first, uh, billion dollar private labels is Kroger's simple truth brand. I think that system and the way they're managing it is, uh, Is evidence to me that this notion of emergent brands, it. Being emergent and being cool and being first did not necessarily make you best. It's the old zoon versus Sony Walkman versus Apple iPod thing all over again. Um, it's whoever has the most momentum behind them and the, the, the ability to think the smartest strategy over long-term is going to take everyone in market share because they, they go after mind share rather than transaction.

Andrew Rice:

Yeah. We talk a lot about that. Around here as well, relational versus transactional. Right. And everybody does it's. It's like one of the common themes anymore, but it. It's so true. And you've just, I realize that more and more and more every single day, whether we're talking about sales prospecting, or we're talking about marketing or packaging design or anything else or anything in between, I feel like because of the shift, because of the demographics, all of those things going into kind of where we are right now. Um, yeah, I agree. The market share is taken up by is starting to be taken up and swallowed up by those that understand relational versus transactional.

David Lemley:

So. Yeah. And I think that that's, that's really great. So relational versus transactional, but also like add this layer of weirdness and the advancement of, um, sterility and. Uh, hygiene and safety it's it has it's impacted package design. It's impacted the way people perceive a brand. It's pretty fascinating. We have a project we're working on right now, and we were recently exposed to a piece of data that blew my mind, which is while, uh, it talking about cohorts, uh, you know, you've got gen Z, you got millennials, you got gen X and boomers and the silent generation on that. The thing that was most fascinating to me is that it said the data shows that millennials give lip service to sustainability, but it's the first thing to fall away. If it's not convenient. And in the pandemic that there, I have two different data points to show something that the way to move forward proficiently through this as a brand is to go with sustainability light because while, uh, um, it's because of life stage for the millennial and where they are in their life and how they're adapting, they'll give great lip service to, uh, Sustainability play. But when push comes to shove, they would rather have the really cool looking pouch of food. That's not sustainable. That goes into the landfill when they're done and may take a thousand years to decompose versus a can, which isn't entirely renewable resource. So that's just an example. So that is being accelerated even more and things it's had this huge. Impact on concepts like artismal and, uh, handmade or handcrafted people want to know what the machine is and see the safety seal much more so than they want to see that, uh, picture of the person who handmade it in their, in their garage or rented a, uh, you know, a common space and brought their family and to make it it's, it's a whole new world.

Andrew Rice:

Well, David, I think we could probably talk for hours and hours and hours and, and hopefully we get a chance to do that in person after all this is, uh, is over. You're definitely one of the guests with something very near and dear to my heart as well on the, from the brand space. So like I said, we could talk forever. I'm sure we could. Um, but we got to wrap it up. Maybe we'll do this again.

David Lemley:

Yeah, I'm game. This was fun, Andrew. Thanks for having me.

Andrew Rice:

Yes. It's been awesome having you, David. Uh, thank you so much for coming on. So, uh, you know, David and crew retailvoodoo.com is where you can find information about them, their story, everything they can help your brand do. Uh, they've got brand slam. Going on it's it's the webinar we talked about. Um, that information is also found on their website. And I know that I've seen a lot of posts on LinkedIn as well. Uh, correct.

David Lemley:

Yeah, absolutely.

Andrew Rice:

Okay. Cool. So, yep. So find them on LinkedIn retailvoodoo.com. David. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on and we'll do it again.

David Lemley:

Sounds great. Thanks Andrew. Have a great day.