Winning Today vs. Winning Tomorrow: Where will Your Growth Come From?

Winning Today vs. Winning Tomorrow: Where will Your Growth Come From?

Winning Today vs. Winning Tomorrow: Where will Your Growth Come From?

Growth Catalyst super-charges brand growth phase

Introduction, Growth, Maturity and Decline – these 4 stages represent the expected fate of a brand. The only question for most is: When will each stage kick in? For brands in the growth phase, the work is centered on fueling and executing a proven strategy to win consumers and customers. Once the initial strategy runs its course, brands need a clear catalyst for continued growth, or they face maturity and decline. For some brands, growth is short and sweet, measured in years. Enduring brands find consumer catalysts that extend the growth phase for decades or more. All brands must recognize that winning today and winning tomorrow may be totally different and proactively plan to sustain growth well before stagnation and maturity set in.

Enabling continued growth and redefining the secret sauce employed to win consumers is a fundamental issue for both new and established brands. Our innovative Growth Catalyst Model provides a consumer-first approach to identify and prioritize which beliefs and behaviors will unlock significant growth. Pairing this deep insight with industry expertise supplies the strategic pathway to translate proprietary understanding into meaningful growth.

The Growth Catalyst process involves codifying the drivers of brand usage among current consumers AND developing a deep understanding of barriers to 1) increasing usage, and 2) recruiting new consumers to the brand. We’ve found that barriers are specific to products, occasions, and consumer cohorts, and not all barriers are created equal. Barriers differ greatly in terms of the effort required to change the behavior, and in the growth available from overcoming the barrier. The Growth Catalyst process prioritizes which opportunities to focus on by ranking barriers based on ease of driving behavior change paired with the overall opportunity to drive sales. Top opportunities are then evaluated and prioritized based on the overall level of risk and investment required.
The Growth Catalyst Model is a consumer-driven way to sustain long term brand growth through consumer and consumption growth. Are you ready to chart your long-term growth goals? We welcome conversation at info@seuratgroup.com
2022 Challenger Brand Paper: Gen Z Disruptors

2022 Challenger Brand Paper: Gen Z Disruptors

2022 Challenger Brand Paper: Gen Z Disruptors

While youth have always been at the forefront of defining and shaping trends in society, members of Gen Z are particularly unique in their influence. Gen Z is the most diverse (racially, ethnically, orientation & otherwise) generation in our country’s history, and they’re experiencing the world in one of its most tumultuous forms. Gen Z knows a world of tech reliance, political & social tension, and the stark realities of living in a global pandemic, all shaping the way they influence us today.

Gen Z raises the bar – they are steadfast in their values and expect more from all facets of their world, making what they expect from brands no different. They look for brands to not only reflect their values in mission, but also seamlessly be a part of places they frequent most – different interfaces across the digital sphere. This generation was uniquely digitally reliant & native even prior to the pandemic, and COVID-19’s impact on our whole society’s digital fluency has only solidified & strengthened Gen Z’s positioning as leaders in this realm. For Gen Z, integrated shopping (& brand marketing) across in-store and digital touchpoints has become table stakes, and their dexterity in the digital landscape has given any brand who can harness this authority, authentically, unprecedented power with this consumer & generations beyond. Furthermore, the spending power of Gen Z is second only to Millennials, closing in on $150B despite these shoppers being 24 and under.

Brands that can be part of Gen Z’s lifestyle command significant value across categories, evident by recent acquisitions of challenger brands that target younger consumers by category-leading strategics (e.g., Youth to the People (L’Oreal)).

This year’s Challenger Brand paper introduces 3 key strategies on how to win with the Gen Z consumer and identifies brands who have successfully adopted these strategies.

Challenger Brands that have successfully employed these tactics to become Gen Z Disruptors:

1. Starface: Starface makes skincare fun & is most popular for their star shaped pimple patches. They celebrate youth, make treating acne ‘cute’ & whimsical vs. stigmatized & shameful, and provide an avenue for self-expression. Search #Starface on IG and see teens & adults proudly dawning pimple patches in selfies, even Hailey Bieber.

2. Parade: Inclusive underwear brand Parade brings “unreal comfort” in “expressive basics” to all, promoting sustainable fabrics (with popping colors!) and social good. Parade is a timely entrant to the market, explicitly looking to compete and push out the category incumbents promoting a certain ‘look’ and size as the desired standard vs. loving each individual as they are.

3. Liquid death: Founded by a former punk & heavy-metal band member, Liquid Death brings interesting and provocative marketing to an age-old category – water. Liquid Death’s canned water offer leverages TikTok, partnerships with Gen Z influencers like YouTube’s Cody Ko, and even a joint Netflix campaign to get word out on their visually edgy, sustainable business model focused on plastic reduction & 10% profit give back.

4. Necessaire: Personal care company Necessaire knows what they bring to the table: spa-like aesthetics, subtle, but luxurious products in smell & texture, and a clean, responsible footprint (climate & plastic neutral, clean / vegan formulas, donations per sale). Put this all in a targeted social media strategy that creates buzz & desire to associate oneself with the brand, and Necessaire has taken the ‘Instagram brand’ trope & flipped it on its head.

5. Colourpop: Incubated by the same company that launched Kylie Cosmetics & KKW Beauty, Colourpop consistently outpaces its ‘celebrity-founded /backed’ social competition on digital engagement. Why? Colourpop democratizes beauty in a way that high spend luxury brands don’t, and bets on the social sphere in a way that makes Gen Z gravitate to this ‘new wave’, ‘fast beauty’ brand.

6. Simulate/NUGGS: Plant-based chicken nuggets done right. Take a resonant value equation (plant-based, high taste) & pair it with a social savvy-ness & edge unique in the F&B space and get Simulate – a tech forward ‘chicken’ nuggets brand (NUGGS) looking to go viral and eliminate factory farming. With packaging emulating more ‘fashionable coffee-table book’ than frozen food box, and product pictures that could be out of a Vogue editorial, look to Stimulate to standout as the brand continues to expand from DTC to brick & mortar.

7. Alani Nu: Disrupting traditional energy drinks & historical male-centric targeting, Alani Nu’s brand positioning invites all consumers into the space with cleaner, less harsh options in both ‘vibe’ and nutrition (no sugar, added vitamins). Their most recent partnership with Addison Rae exemplifies the brand’s direction: bubbly Gen Zers who want more energy in a fashionable, permissible & cool way, removing any stigma traditionally associated with the space. Founded in 2018, the brand has reached nearly 800k IG followers in just a few years.

8. BEHAVE: Woman-launched in 2020, BEHAVE is one of the newest entrants to the candy category looking to tackle traditional sentiments towards ‘bad’ foods head on – each package of better-for-you gummies (just 3g of sugar, with 6g of protein) has an all caps BEHAVE crossed out, a nod to more positive attitudes surrounding sweet indulgences. BEHAVE brings competition to the otherwise un-challenged BFY gummy space dominated by Smart Sweets. Bolder messaging & a more accepting POV makes this F&B brand one to watch.
By employing these 3 strategies above, category-leading, established brands can authentically connect with this cohort, too. Recent examples of stalwart brands that have expanded their consumption target to appeal to Gen Z include:
Making a concerted effort to win with Gen Z will expand a brand’s market, growth, and enduring value. We’ve identified three strategies that challenger brands have successfully employed that can translate to companies – large & small – to reach audiences of all ages. As always, we want to hear from you! If you’d like more information on any of our challenger brand studies, or want to share a brand of your own, please reach out at info@seuratgroup.com.
Building a Repeatable Growth Model

Building a Repeatable Growth Model

Building a Repeatable Growth Model

The Repeatable Growth Model

A fundamental need for brands is articulating what they stand for that uniquely delights consumers and differentiates from competitors. As consumer behaviors and values evolve, and competition is constantly in flux, we believe it is important to revisit this foundation often. Standing apart means that brands must be instantly recognizable and top-of-mind with consumers, which is a challenge as consumers make less exploratory and more hurried trips through stores and commerce sites. To maximize the impact of potential connect points with consumers, brands must have a deep understanding and clear articulation of their unique right to win.

At the Seurat Group, we’ve found that brands can increase mental availability and unlock growth by building a Repeatable Growth Model – a framework that captures each brand’s core competencies and codifies how the brand captures, retains, and ultimately delights its consumers. Through the lens of the Repeatable Growth Model, brands can articulate their unique “edge” and develop strategies that improve trial, loyalty and ultimately organic brand advocacy.

Below, we lay out the components of the Repeatable Growth Model.

How It Works

A Repeatable Growth Model is a brand’s unique perpetual motion machine. A successful model leverages deep insight to identify key behavioral triggers and associated activation to draw consumers in, drive repeat purchase, and ultimately gain loyalty.

Example: Fairlife ultra-filtered milk

 

Trial by Design

Consumers notice the brand on shelf for its eye-catching product design in a sea of traditional milk gallons.

Loyalty by Nutrition

After trying the product, consumers are drawn to incorporate it into their daily routine for its elevated nutrition, which features higher protein and lower sugar than regular milk.

Advocacy by Uncompromising Taste

Finally, loyal consumers become authentic ambassadors for the brand, advocating it to friends and family because it offers the great taste of regular milk in a lactose-free form that removes the digestive pitfalls of dairy.

Expansion

Fairlife replicated this formula by expanding into coffee creamer and ice cream, two categories with opportunity to maintain the positive taste and texture of traditional dairy while improving on the nutrition and digestive ease of existing options.

How to Develop and Leverage the Model for Growth

Stay close to your consumer. Consumer anthropology and deep discovery are invaluable tools for a brand to reveal and articulate its “secret sauce” among consumers. It is helpful to validate the impact through additional quantitative research.

Map today and tomorrow. A model based on current consumer experiences with your brand can lay out where the brand wins today and provide opportunities to amplify what’s working, but it is also critical to recognize emerging areas your brand needs to win tomorrow. Identify and conduct research among your leading-edge consumers to identify how your brand’s model should evolve to meet tomorrow’s needs.

Understand what “breaks” the model. Equally valuable to understanding the drivers of trial and loyalty is understanding the opposite: what discourages your target consumer from trying or returning to your brand? Listening to lapsed or occasional users can identify opportunities to strengthen the model, building on strengths or addressing weaknesses to convert these consumers into loyalists.

Conclusion

Brands that have charted their Repeatable Growth Model win because they have a litmus test for their consumer strategies going forward, allowing them to communicate and innovate against the key differentiating elements of their offer. We welcome a discussion about what your brand’s Repeatable Growth Model could be!

To discuss any of these ideas further, please contact us at info@seuratgroup.com.

2021: Planning for Post-Pandemic Growth

2021: Planning for Post-Pandemic Growth

2021: Planning for Post-Pandemic Growth

From Passive to Purposeful Growth
2020 was a record year for many in the CPG industry as many categories passively benefitted from favorable growth drivers shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these drivers – the dollar shift from foodservice back to grocery, the uptick in at-home cooking and baking, the increase in disinfecting and cleaning behavior at home and on the go – represented the largest sources of industry revenue and consumption growth. Leading brands in these spaces benefitted tremendously from this.

In 2021, these brands have the opportunity to make the increased consumer engagement and spending “stick” – that is, to delight and capture new-found consumer loyalty through this year’s demand plan choices and investments.

Proactive planning to align with large growth drivers is critical because while brands may continue to ride the wave of growth fueled by pandemic-influenced behavioral changes from last year, the shift is already part of the new baseline this year. These changes could also revert faster than anticipated, requiring companies to be out ahead of changes in consumer behavior. Brands must purposefully find the next wave(s) – or risk being left behind.

A scan of the landscape of categories and growth drivers reveals five growth drivers where we believe consumer behavior will evolve this year, and where brands should purposefully connect with consumers to capture new consumption and revenue growth. While other trends that gained traction pre-COVID will continue to emerge, such as convenience and sustainability, we focus here on the drivers that will have outsize impact after COVID-19 and therefore require brands to think differently. We recommend looking at your business through the lens of these drivers to inform this year’s annual planning cycle as outlined in the scorecard for evaluating growth strategy shifts below.

Growth Drivers

1. Togetherness

The Driver: As in-person socialization becomes possible again, consumers will place renewed value on enjoying life’s experiences together with friends and loved ones, with a desire to make these small, everyday moments of connection even more meaningful.

How to Win: Brands and retailers should partner to provide relevant solutions tailored to these new occasions, supported by communication and influence points that highlight the role of their solutions in bringing people together.

Example: The outdoor grilling occasion is positioned to expand beyond holidays and weekends into a dinner with friends and family meal replacement. With the briquet or gas grill as the centering staple, there is room for many categories to participate in creating lasting memories with family and friends through the grilling occasion.

2. Wellness

The Driver: With health and wellness top of mind for consumers, wellness has shifted away from rigid routines and toward a fluid and personalized approach. Across food, fitness and health categories, consumers are experimenting to find what works best for their bodies and lifestyles, creating a spectrum of different wellness needs. For some consumers, the priority on wellness simply means swapping in “one step healthier” alternatives, while others on the leading-edge have tapped into personalized products to optimize physical and mental health.

 

How to Win: Map and size where your brand plays within this wellness curve. Track your consumer target’s evolving values and behaviors to earn their loyalty as their wellness routine evolves.

Example: The sugar-free cookie segment has emerged on the “one step better” side of the spectrum, driving growth through brands that offer a tasty yet health-conscious option within a typically indulgent category.

3. Search for Value

The Driver: Consumers continue to tighten their budgets and increase their personal savings rate to prepare for financial uncertainty, forcing trade-offs in spending across the store. As a result, consumers will seek value even in traditionally ‘premium’ categories.

How to Win: Look for the space within your category where value presents dimensions that are important to a sizable segment of consumers and evaluate the potential for your brand to stretch into these spaces while maintaining premium equity.

Example: The cleaning and disinfecting category delivers across the value spectrum, with leading brands such as Clorox offering high-value propositions through their core bleach products while also stretching into premium offerings through value-added forms like sprays, wipes, tablets and tools.

4. Indulgence

The Driver: Hand in hand with the rise of personalized wellness, indulgence will become increasingly acceptable as consumers prioritize balance and happiness over strict regimens and endless sacrifice. Rather than viewing indulgence as a negative “cheat” or guilt trip to be avoided, consumers will invest in the foods, beverages, and activities that make them happy, especially those that can be shared with family and friends.

How to Win: Identify the indulgent moments to delight within your category and cater communication to emphasize permissibility.

Example: In the ready-to-drink space, new functional beverages are combining health attributes with indulgent characteristics. For example, OLIPOP’s sparkling tonic offers digestive health benefits while still allowing consumers to enjoy the indulgent taste of their favorite sodas, like root beer and cola.

5. Personal Protection

The Driver: Self-care has shifted into the consumer’s hands. Rather than simply depending on health care systems, consumers are prioritizing personal ways to maintain safety in their environments and building new routines around cleaning and disinfection that will endure beyond the current pandemic.

How to Win: Offer solutions that build peace of mind for consumers seeking protection across all facets of their lives, whether in the home or in shared spaces like public transportation and workspaces. Stand out with a creative route to market (e.g., placement in airplanes, gyms, public transit).

Example: As disinfecting behavior becomes fluid across in- and out-of-home, there is opportunity for brands to connect to the holistic need for personal safety. For example, disinfecting brands like Lysol have partnered with the hospitality and transportation industries to establish new safety protocols and place branded solutions within reach in shared spaces like lobbies and airplane seats.

Summary
It is imperative to wire your business plans from consumer growth drivers and place time, focus and money on the activities that will yield the greatest growth and return. We wish you success in the new year and hope this scorecard provides inspiration on new, purposeful avenues for growth.
Scorecard for Your Brand

Objective: Purposefully shift to where consumer behavior will trend in your spaces to participate in growth in 2021

2020 Challenger Brand Study: Challenging in an Omni-World

2020 Challenger Brand Study: Challenging in an Omni-World

2020 Challenger Brand Study: Challenging in an Omni-World

Challenging in an Omni-World

As digital lexicon now dominates brand and business planning, our purpose with this year’s Study is to remind our community why it is more vital than ever to start with the consumer and use channels as consumer touchpoints to forge deeper loyalty to your brand’s experience.

While Direct to Consumer provides an advantageous incubation opportunity for brands to build consumer intimacy and garner a loyal base with lower upfront investment, today’s reality is that there are a multitude of consumer touchpoints available and these channels alone may not provide the reach to delight your consumers where they prefer to discover, learn, shop and buy. Embracing an omnichannel orientation is more important than ever to build durable brands this decade.

COVID-19 has taken an already-discerning consumer marketplace and amplified the challenge of capturing consumer spend. Brands constantly need to interrupt, remind, suggest, and prove why they should be picked up, put in baskets (virtual and IRL), and invested in by shoppers wherever they are. This requires successful challenger brands to be even more poignant, connective, and shrewd to win shoppers’ dollars and command both share of mind and share of physical space at shelf. It also calls for more widespread distribution across the omnichannel landscape. Diversified channel strategies not only fortify consumer relationships, but they allow brands to endure the unpredictable ebbs and flows of societal and market changes. Successful challengers use these various channels and subsequently tailored offers to remain competitive for shoppers’ minds and wallets.

For this year’s Challenger Brand study, we have selected ten brands that transcended their incubator origins and designed unique omni-channel touchpoints to accelerate consumer acquisition and loyalty, and disrupt established categories.

Top 10 Challenger Brands

OLIPOP

A healthy alternative to soda, OLIPOP calls itself a ‘delicious fizzy tonic.’ Its products consist of soda-like flavors packed with digestive health benefits – prebiotics, plant fiber, botanicals and more. OLIPOP’s online DTC business features a discounted subscription and facilitates fast transactions with easy cancellation and texting features. Consumers can find OLIPOP in curation outlets like Erewhon (where nearly 5K cans were sold in one month alone) and independent coffee shops. This year, OLIPOP has aggressively expanded at retail, with retail sales spiking 400% since mid-March, driven by distribution in Sprouts, Kroger, Whole Foods, Safeway, and Wegmans.

HU Kitchen

HU Kitchen’s journey to disruption in premium chocolate began in 2011 as a paleo/primal restaurant concept. When the founders struggled to find a delicious chocolate that met their restaurant’s strict health criteria, they decided to launch their own line of chocolate. By 2013, HU chocolate launched into Whole Foods, coinciding with their Union Square (NYC) restaurant launch. From 2016 to 2018, their retail penetration grew from 400 to 3,000 stores. Today, the brand applies a unique test-and-learn model with its in-house test kitchen and insights lab to cultivate a loyal following through both retail and DTC.

Hint

To combat her diet soda addiction, Kara Goldin habitually put fresh fruit into pitchers of water for herself and her family. This led to the birth of Hint in 2005. Fast forward to 2019, and Hint is the number one independently owned non-alcoholic beverage company in the U.S with $140 million in annual revenue. Goldin has prioritized an omnichannel approach to cultivate Hint’s rise to the top. While 60% of Hint’s sales comes from retailers like Whole Foods, Target, and Costco as well as Silicon Valley cafeterias, 40% still stems from the DTC arm of the business that makes it easy to customize soda packs with a 20% subscriber discount.

JustFoodForDogs

As a dog parent himself, Shawn Buckley felt compelled to disrupt the $30 billion pet food market by offering human-grade dog food beyond a can or bag. He went to market with a bang as the first-ever public kitchen for dogs! The kitchen was not only an efficient production facility, but also a unique marketing tool that attracted a loyal pet owner following. After its success in the DTC landscape, JustFoodForDogs partnered with Petco in 2019 to open a 1,350-square-foot retail activation kitchen in Petco’s Union Square (NYC) store. By expanding to over 1,000 Petco stores and embracing DTC and Amazon, JustFoodForDogs has reached $80 million in revenue.

Mush

Debuting on Shark Tank in 2017, Mush is an all-natural ready-to-eat overnight oatmeal founded by San Diego natives Ashley Thompson and Kat Thomas. Thompson and Thomas created Mush out of frustration with the lack of healthy, easy to prepare breakfasts and snacks available in the marketplace. Prior to its appearance on Shark Tank, Mush sold through farmer’s markets. Since partnering with Mark Cuban, Mush has rapidly grown its retail penetration, expanding into over 3,500 stores, including Wegmans, Whole Foods, and Publix. In addition, Mush has bolstered its DTC arm by offering subscription discounts for its customizable “Everyday,” “Weekday,” and “Snacking” packs.

Public Goods

Public Goods, a membership-based online home goods store, was founded in 2016 to combat the paralysis of choice faced by consumers at retail today. Offering just one type of product per need, the site touts minimalism and pleasing aesthetics across its portfolio. In 2020, Public Goods announced a CVS retail partnership where consumers can forego the annual membership to access the brand’s products, albeit at higher prices. CEO Morgan Hirsh views this as a strategic move to expand reach among new consumers who primarily shop B&M, with the aim of introducing them to the brand, building their loyalty, and increasing Public Goods’ membership numbers.

BirchBox

Founded in 2010, Birchbox has pioneered subscription commerce, helping consumers conveniently tailor beauty products to their lifestyles. The service provides each consumer a personalized box of products featuring both prestige and niche brands to fit his or her beauty routines. Beyond its established DTC offering, Birchbox has invested heavily in its retail arm to secure selective partnerships. Birchbox placed beauty consultants in 3,000 Walgreens nationwide to educate beauty shoppers on the brand and fuel an increase in monthly subscribers from Walgreens. Birchbox also introduced its products at select Gap locations. Between these partnerships and its DTC stronghold, Birchbox amassed over 1 million subscribers.

Sumo Citrus

Available for just 4 months a year, the “dekopon” varietal of mandarins known as Sumo Citrus are a highly coveted seasonal fruit. Celebrated for its sweetness, distinctive top knot, and ease of peeling, the Sumo Citrus brand benefits from its digital presence and sense of exclusivity. Eager consumers can sign up to receive a notification when the varietal becomes available, and in season, consumers can purchase gift boxes of the fruit to be shipped nationwide. Sumo’s real brand value creation comes from its in-store staging. Leaders like Whole Foods, Wegmans, Target and Publix allocate large displays and signage to capitalize on the fruit’s seasonal excitement, demand, and premium ring.

Rothy’s

Rothy’s took the professional women’s apparel landscape by storm beginning in 2015, providing women with trendy flats that are washable, handmade, and made from recycled plastic bottles. Online drives the lion’s share of brand sales, but the brand has recently expanded with in-store locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. In 2018, Rothy’s debuted in the retail landscape by dropping an exclusive collection at Nordstrom. That same year, Rothy’s sold over one million pairs of shoes, contributing to a valuation of over $700 million and driving genuine sustainability impact that helps Rothy’s inspire continued shopper engagement both online and in-store.

Cocokind

Cult-favorite skincare brand Cocokind launched in 2014 with a mission: to make clean, efficacious skincare more accessible. The brand became an early hit with influencers and bloggers, with their hero Collective Sticks (like MYMatcha) being shared frequently on Instagram personal pages and routine videos. CEO Priscilla Tsai has personally taken charge of Cocokind’s social media, creating posts that relate to the skincare challenges of Cocokind customers. What started primarily online quickly expanded with retailers like Whole Foods, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target.