Aligning product, brand and strategy to find, reach and win your fans

 

Seth Hillstrom:

Product, brand, or strategy?  

Founders, marketers: which do you think is most important in bringing the right “total package” to market? 

For today’s edition of the eBev Global Interview Series, we’re chatting with industry expert Todd Gibson of Yerbae | Enhanced Sparkling Water about just that. Todd, thanks so much for joining us today! 

Todd Gibson:

Seth, Thanks for having me today!

Seth:

Todd, when I take in the whole package that is Yerbaé…The label, the can, the messaging, the story, and of course what’s in the bottle, it becomes clear that your team’s vision extended well beyond being the next energy drink. Can you tell us a little about that vision and what motivated you to pursue it?

Todd:

Seth, our product is truly more than just energy. I was a heavy Energy drink consumer, Karrie Gibson (Co-Founder) was also and energy drink consumer. We wanted to find a beverage that was functional without all the artificial and excessive sugars. After trying hundreds of functional beverages at our local natural food store with no success. We decided we would make our beverage and it would be light and refreshing but would have actual functional benefits for our bodies. We ❤ Yerba Mate and we steep/brew at home but we did not love the earthy taste and feel. We also love sparkling water and for us sparkling water was empty, just missing something. So we set out on our adventure to create the first Yerba Mate enhanced sparkling water! Bringing both Yerba Mate and Sparkling water into one completely refreshing drinkable and functional platform.

Seth:

well it seems that you and KARRIE GIBSON had quite a vision. And I’ve heard that Karrie even did the artwork for the label? Impressive!

Todd:

Thanks Seth! Karrie Gibson (Co-Founder) has that very special eye for the details and creativity and has done such an incredible job on messaging with the can and in our marketing materials! She is incredible!😁

Seth:

Let’s start with what’s in the bottle. You have 10 flavors, and it seems like ingredient efficacy and transparency is a sincere focus (and for anyone who doubts it: http://yerbae.com/inside-the-cans/). Can you tell us why you chose Yerba Mate, and what you’re hoping to accomplish with your unique blend of ingredients? Is there a credo your team lives by when it comes to the product?

Todd:

Our ingredients are incredible! 7 total ingredients all NONGMO and you can read and pronounce each of the ingredients. The consumers have shared that they love our ingredient panel! Yerba Mate, As I Mentioned before we would steep in our home. We love the euphoria effect we feel from Yerba Mate. It is also little known fact that Yerba Mate contains 196 different compounds of Antioxidants, Polyphenols, Vitamins and Minerals. It is truly a healthier alternative to the current marketplace. Our credo is simple, Deliver a functional healthy alternative to the health and wellness seekers! 💪

Seth:

All of this said, here at Beverage Marketing Association we’re just as interested in what story you’re telling, who you’re telling it to, and how. So who’s your tribe, what’re you sharing, and how are you reaching them?

Todd:

Yerba Mate education is what we focus on with our brand, clean healthy energy alternative that is also light and refreshing! As Yerba Mate is not well know across the country yet. Our team is in the marketplace everyday educating 🧠the consumers, retailers and distributors on the benefits of Yerba Mate. We also have a fantastic social presence on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter. In our opinion it is so important to have a product that truly delivers on the healthy alternatives to the current clutter that is out there in the marketplace. Our packaging is something you will be proud to have in your hand. The designs of our package are almost an accessory to your personality👜🕶. Our tribes are the health seeker that just want more! From Yoga mom to the construction worker that is looking to make the change from the high sugary or artificial sweeteners to something just healthier and delivers every time.

Ted Wright; CEO of Fizz:

“Brand” is the result of “Product” + “Strategy”

Todd:

Agreed!

Seth:

Agreed. So it raises the question of why it is that new brands sometimes achieve a massive retail footprint when the product (or what’s in the bottle) is crap and eventually goes away? I’d never call anyone out, but I can think of some great examples of independent beverages that followed that path.

And on the other hand – the question of why it can be so hard for a great product with a beautiful brand aesthetic to win any shelf space at all?

Todd:

What I have experienced is some brands buy their space, some brands have historical relationships with retailers and or some big bottler or manufacture behind them and gives credibility with the local retailers and fast tracks them to the shelves.

Seth:

I look at initiatives like Yerbaé Moments, and it’s pretty clear to me that your brand is about unlocking potential, bringing people together, and sharing experiences. What’s the plan for growing your fan base and footprint? Are operational issues at play in your commercial strategy (like production/distribution facility locations), or are you focused on going wherever your consumers are?

Todd:

Our product is growing fast! The consumers and retailers recognize the need to fill this gap between sparkling water and energy. Our team is out in the market connecting to 4,000-6,000 consumer per club per weekend at Costco and we are typically sampling in 4 -6 clubs per weekend executing Costco road shows. We are also very proud to be on shelf and sampling at Sprouts Farmers Market, Safeway West coast divisions, HEB in Texas, Raley’s and many other great retailers! Our online sales are growing fast as well. Consumers continue purchasing more month over month online we are seeing significant increases! As for Bottlers and Distributors we use some of the best distributors and bottlers in the marketplace currently.

Seth:

I often like to conclude conversations with founders and innovative thinkers such as yourself by looking ahead. What forces, trends, and/or even technologies do you see being most impactful to the marketplace for healthy, functional drinks over the next 5 years?

Todd:

From my opinion, we will see the industry continue to evolve on where the consumer buys the products they consume. Convenience is not the convenience store anymore. It is online -Social will continue to evolve as one social media platform becomes less relevant other will enhance the consumer experience. Beverage and food companies will need to be nimble on adjusting to the trends.

Distribution will play a main roll in the future. More retailers are leaning up supply chain to be competitive with online retailers and that means that many of them are choosing alternative routes to get their inventory other than the traditional 3 tier system.

Seth:

From my chair at BMA, everything you’re saying is, in fact, a certainty.

Todd, thanks so much for sharing these insights with us today! We’re so excited to see what’s next for Yerbaé – and for everyone who wants to try it and dig into these strategies in person, we’re thrilled to announce that Todd and Karrie will be speaking at eBev this fall! http://ebevseries.com

Todd:

Thanks Seth! Great to be here with you and your viewers!

 

For questions or comments please visit: 

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6395262696094212096/

Leave A Comment