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Creative packaging that catches the eye is part of the beverage tidal wave

The days of calorie-packed soda are over, as America reaches for functional beverages that heal,sooth or energize instead. BrandHive co-founder, Jeff Hilton, will lead the charge toward effective drinks today when he speaks at the Healthy Beverage Expo in Las Vegas.

We anticipate Hilton’s presentation to be “standing room only” as buyers, distributors and retailers gather to learn more about the innovative delivery formats, trending functional ingredients and condition-specific health benefits that are emerging in the healthy beverage market.

“It’s true that the food portion of the natural health industry is taking off,” said Jeff Hilton, partner and co-founder of BrandHive. “But, the fuel for the rocket is beverages. This aspect of the industry has grown, and we suspect this is only the beginning of the craze.”

Borba packaging exampleThe most popular beverage categories include super fruits, beauty-from-within products, drinks powered by vitality-enhancing ingredients, functional teas and enhanced waters. Marketing has evolved primarily through packaging, designs like cans, bottled drinks and powdered single-serving mixes catch the eye on store shelves. These innovations are helping natural health companies meet growing customer demand.

Hilton often emphasizes that the most successful brands are memorable and different, and boast scientific proof of their effectiveness.

“BrandHive intends to stay on top of the food and drink tidal wave,” continued Hilton. “Our job is to provide strong marketing to this industry as the millennial generation emerges as a critical market. Companies that provide choice, give back and connect socially will do well as this generation comes of age.”

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SALT LAKE CITY, June 4, 2013 — Jeff Hilton, BrandHive co-founder and partner, will speak at the Healthy Beverage Expo in Las Vegas on marketing and packaging trends in the healthy and functional beverage industries.

Hilton will present “Functional Revolution: Marketing Trends in the Healthy and Functional Beverage Category” on Saturday, June 8, at 11 a.m. PDT at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Attendees will learn new and innovative delivery formats, popular and trending functional ingredients, and condition-specific health benefits most common and emerging in the marketplace.

“It’s imperative to understand how healthy and functional beverages can best appeal to both Millennials and Boomers, distinct groups with totally unique attitudes toward health and wellness,” Hilton said. “And remember, healthy beverages are leading the functional revolution with consumers – even more so than foods.”

Hilton’s session will help beverage manufacturers pinpoint key raw ingredients that are dominating formulation trends and assist them in determining the right functional health benefits; and decisions which can make the difference between product success or failure.

The Health Beverage Expo is dedicated to supporting and fueling the healthy drink segment of the beverage market. Buyers, distributors, and retailers can preview and compare an extensive range of beverages, explore newly launched products, source vendors, participate in exclusive taste-test competitions, hear from top imbibe experts, establish key relationships, and evaluate opportunities to capitalize on this fast-growing segment.

Attendance for Jeff’s session is near capacity, contact customer service representatives for more information about the session and conference (www.healthybeverageexpo.com).

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Consumer ad developed by BrandHive for Albion Minerals

1.    The primary role of a consumer campaign is to increase awareness

When a B2B company markets to consumers, the role of a campaign is to increase awareness, not to close the deal. Campaigns can increase consumer awareness of a finished or ingredient brand by using visuals and messages that:

  • Surprise
  • Evoke positive emotions
  • Create comfort with the brand
  • Lead thinking to a desired conclusion
  • Form associations that make the brand memorable
  • Satisfy the critical filter of resistance with clinical research
  • Facilitate engagement and familiarity

Please note, these same elements are also effective when marketing to manufacturers. High dollar sales are not spontaneous decisions, and manufacturers want to spend time getting to know a brand through its advertising in much the same way consumers do.

2.    Marketing to consumers requires vertical strategies

Unless you want to spend a lot of money to reach consumers through horizontal channels, consider targeting vertical media channels even for consumers.

When marketing ingredients to consumers, brands used to formulate their messages and broadcast them through mass media in order to generate broad exposure. Unfortunately, the proliferation of brand messages has become so overwhelming that consumers have evolved highly effective strategies for tuning them out. As a result, B2B brands today need to use targeted vertical media channels and aim to convert a specific type of customer defined both demographically and psychographically.

Vertical channels attract consumers interested enough in health topics to become educated on ingredients and condition-specific solutions. When these customers are educated on the advantages of a particular product, they are converted into brand “advocates.”

Once converted, brand advocates share brand images and messages across their social platforms, which is how vertical messages spread “virally” into the horizontal exposure brand managers want.

3.    Once you engage consumers, they want a say

What’s the hidden cost for targeting consumers in your marketing? Control of the brand. Today, brand advocates want to engage with the brands they champion. They want to have a say in future offerings and line extensions. They want to be heard on branded websites and blogs. When planning to target consumers, plan early to manage their “feedback loops.”

Campaigns that integrate these 3 points can generate the kind of consumer awareness that a brands retail partners will love.

 

 

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Jeff and gail

Jeff Hilton and Gail Frankoski represent BrandHive at VitaFoods 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Every year, BrandHive works with international clients to prepare for VitaFoods, an international event that recognizes excellence in research and development, marketing, and technology within the nutraceutical and function food category. This year was no exception. Here’s a few things that kept BrandHive staff and clients busy during the 4-day event.

One long-standing client, Epax, was shortlisted for the “Outstanding Application in Health Management” award and hosted a presentation titled “Forever Young: Effects of marine omega-3 fatty acids on telomeres” given by Morten Bryhn, M.D., Ph.D.

Another BrandHive client, OmniActive, hosted an elegant dinner at La Perle du Sac, and launched a new vision-health ingredient called “Vision Blend.”

A third BrandHive client, Gencor, was shortlisted for “Most Innovative Ingredient” award and spread the word to those attending about its revolutionary female sexual health product, Libifem.

Other BrandHive clients, like LeSaffre (makers of Red Star Nutritional Yeast) and UAS Labs (The Probiotic Company) were also in attendance.

And, we don’t want to forget that BrandHive’s very own Jeff Hilton presided over the Gala award ceremony. Nice job Jeff.

Start planning now to put VitaFoods on your 2014 calendar and hear about topics as relevant as:

  • The rise of preventative, personalized nutrition
  • The ongoing popularity of high-protein products
  • Copy recommendations to avoid product rejections based on unaccepted claims

See you next year!

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 After marathon II

Gary here. At the hive, wellness is never far from our minds. That said, my recent experience running a half marathon with my brother was probably motivated more by a healthy sibling rivalry than anything else.

Rewind a few months to last Christmas. Neither my brother or I are “runners” per se, but sports have always been a big part of our lives. As collegiate soccer players, we both considered ourselves to be in pretty good shape, so when he threw out the idea of running a half marathon, I signed us up.

Four months later I was standing with my brother on the starting line, surrounded by 5,000 other runners who all seem a bit more prepared than I felt. I was sure they all:

  • Had their own running shoes.
  • Didn’t play a soccer game the night before.
  • Were happy to be there.

At this point, I started thinking about how far 13.1 miles really is. Needless to say, the few runs I had gone on weren’t quite that far. And then there was the rain. Yep, it rained hard. The entire race.

Running

Rain aside, one hour, thirty minutes and twenty three seconds after the starting gun went off, I managed to haul my cold, wet and tired body over the finish line. My brother was about 30 seconds ahead of me. Much to our surprise we ended up placing 2nd and 3rd for our age group (19-24). Not too bad for a couple of soccer-kicking wanna-be runners.

When it’s all said and done, the race was a great exercise (pun intended) for getting out of my comfort zone. The jury is still out on whether this was a one time thing, but who knows? I do know that when someone asks me when I was the most miserable in 2013, I now have an answer. And if there is a next time, this 23-year-old is going to do a little more training.

Medels

 

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Modern doc

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, all the way back to 1990. Step into the office of Marcus Welby, MD, the quintessential American health care practitioner.

Note that Dr. Welby is an MD, expert in disease management. Confident in his knowledge of surgery and pharmaceuticals, he disparages the use of most vitamins and supplements. Ask about holistic therapies or botanicals or integrative medicine, and he quickly dismisses them as quackery or witchcraft.

Fast-forward to the present. Today, more than 13% of American health care practitioners dispense supplements. Nearly 90% take supplements themselves. Almost eight in ten recommend them to their patients.

Of course, all of this activity generates a lot of money. The health care practitioner channel is one of the fastest growing in the industry, racking up more than $2.5 billion in annual sales, according to National Business Journal estimates. For the last two decades, sales growth has been averaging a steady 8-10% annually. Across all market segments, practitioner sales comprise more than 10 percent of all supplement sales.

Why all the change? How did such a quirky, fringe industry quickly become so mainstream? There are several key factors:

  • Growth of consumer desire for natural options
  • Growing concerns around pharmaceuticals and surgery
  • Increased professionalism within the supplement industry, including greater reliance on science and clinical data
  • Practitioner need for increased revenue, due to declining insurance reimbursements

Perhaps most important of all, today practitioners realize that their patients are going to take supplements no matter what, so they might as well recommend professional-level products that offer the highest quality, efficacy and safety.

To be sure, the channel’s growth has generated loads of capital and excitement. But caveat emptor: This is not a dabbler’s market.  While it holds tremendous potential, it is fraught with complex economic and political dynamics.

So what should industry players know before delving into the murky world of health care practitioner marketing?

  • Speak to practitioners in their own language. As Erik Goldman, the editor of Holistic Primary Care, likes to say, “A massage therapist, a doctor of oriental medicine and a cardiologist are very different breeds, with very different needs.” In order to communicate effectively, take time to understand the unique cultures, preferences, educations and sensibilities of your audiences.
  • Ensure your products are proven by science and supported by data. This is important for all healthcare practitioners, not just allopaths. Unlike decades past, today all types of healthcare practitioners, including naturopaths and homeopaths, are routinely demanding randomized, placebo-controlled human clinical trials and other quality data. It’s not an option – invest in it.
  • Convey complex data simply.  Successful supplement brands are proven by science and supported by data – sometimes tons of it. It’s essential to have professionals on your team who are adept at understanding clinical trials, reviewing market trends, and boiling down consumer research.
  • Ensure your messages convey the safety and efficacy of your products, while staying within the boundaries of the law. That requires expertise in structure-function claims, regulations such as DSHEA, and understanding of the complex and ever-changing issues that comprise the alphabet soup of the FDA, FTC, cGMPs, etc. Not everyone has this expertise. Get someone on your team who does.
  • Provide tools for time-pressed physicians. Abstracts, executive summaries, links, webinars, slideshows, blogs, and in-person training can help health care practitioners quickly grasp your technical messages, and effectively pass them along them to their patients.
  • When promoting your products, target carefully. Large media list aggregators like to boast of their ability to “attract thousands of eyeballs.” But a careful look at their lists may uncover mismatched and outdated information. Rather than taking a gamble on purchased lists, rely on experts who have long-standing relationships and real, live contacts in the industry.

To generate healthy buzz (and protect your bottom line while you’re doing it), you need a marketing partner who understands the issues, values, challenges and concerns of health care practitioners, natural businesses and health-minded consumers. At BrandHive, we have 15-plus years doing just that. BrandHive clients benefit from our long-standing relationships and experience crafting engaging messages that hit targets. Contact us if we can help you: www.brandhive.com.

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Matt Aller, Giles Wallace and photographer Jess Leondard.

 

Giles Wallace here. I teamed up with BrandHive Creative Director, Matt Aller, and a small cadre of friends to scale the Colorado Plateau on an 8-day backpacking trip.

 

no_name_canyon

 

Getting in was supposed to be easy–a short boat taxi from Antelope Marina on Lake Powell. But the water was low so we ended up going up and over the steep terrain that identifies this beautiful part of the Navajo Indian Reservation.

 

matt_n_giles

 

As with most trips to the desert, water was immediately in our thoughts. The desert air mixes with over-worked lungs and could dry out even a camel. Unable to spot the promised potholes, we found a stock trail used by the Navajo centuries ago. The stock trails led us to water (and yes, we did drink) and other wonderful discoveries.

 

Drinking water from sandstone pothole

 

For days, we wandered beautiful slick rock domes and high benches over-looking remote slot canyons and low desolate plains. We passed hogans, stock trails, old herding corrals, a few lithics and, lo and behold, an intact pot. What a fantastic find and amazingly well-preserved piece of history. We took pictures and left the relic where we found it.

 

Black on white ceramic pot

 

Eventually, we worked our way to a deceptively deep and verdant canyon to explore upper slot narrows. In its depths, this (WET!) canyon rarely gets sun. It’s not long before we peel on our wet suits and jump in for a few short swims. The swims are interspersed with narrow slot hiking and down-climbing. Eventually we reach the shadowed depths and the deep, dark, cold water that pools there. Two-person assists and a length of sling see us through this section to a thankful exit and the last rays of a gratefully warm sun.

 

Swimming in slot narrows

 

Having survived the wet and cold, we enjoyed warming temperatures, wide-open, dry buttes and Carmel shelfs that make for easy hiking. Finally reaching the end, we worked our way back down to the lake to make our date with our water taxi. Our last night will be hard to forget. We took baths in the lake, listened to Jess play guitar (yes, he carted his guitar out and back again) and enjoyed an excellent final meal.
What’s next for BrandHive adventurers? Stay tuned!

 

Open desert
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The healthcare practitioner channel is evolving and brands need to change their marketing strategies to appeal to this expanding market. With an average 8% growth per year, and 94% of HCPs discussing supplement use with their patients, the healthcare practitioner channel presents unique opportunities to promote supplement brands. The following post recaps Jeff Hilton’s advice to marketers and practitioners on branding and promoting a practitioner-only product line during his recent presentation at the Healthcare Practitioner Marketing Forum, April 5th in Long Beach, CA. 

Channel Overview

By product class, the HCP market is represented by the following 5 divisions:

  1. Specialty (30%)
  2. Vitamins (25%) 
  3. Herbs/Botanicals (24%)
  4. Sports Nutrition (11%)
  5. Minerals (6%)

Shifting Consumer Landscape

With the self-care movement gaining momentum, consumers are demanding more integrated therapies and becoming more knowledgable, sophisticated, resourceful and skeptical. They are also seeking more control and selecting care physicians who can address their health problems through an integrated approach.

Marketing Paradigm Shift (the 5 C’s of marketing) 

Marketing needs to adopt the 5 C’s in order to appeal to these consumers.

Concept: Brand story should depict how brand delivers custom solutions to consumer problems and education on HCP products. 

Concept

Content: Brands need to be supported by clinical data, including human clinical trials, qualitative consumer studies, lab tests, and market trend research.

Content

Connection: Brands must be relevant and connect with today’s consumer at both rational and emotional points.

3rdC

Community: Successful brands create communities of followers and advocates and make it easy for those followers to spread the word through their social networks with eblasts, podcasts, and posts that can be Liked and Shared.

Community

Continuity: Brands today must integrate their efforts at all points of customer contact and make sure all channels are promoting the same key messages.

Continuity

One way practitioners are meeting the needs of today’s changing landscape is through the Assess & Address model of customer care.

Assess & Address

An Assess & Address approach combines the two primary functions of care (assessing the problem underlying a patient’ condition and addressing that problem or imbalance through targeted therapies and nutritional products). The term Assess & Address is trademarked by NeuroScience, Inc. and represents their approach to HCP marketing.

A&A

For more on marketing that incorporates the 5 C’s and the Assess & Address model of customer care, contact Jeff Hilton at BrandHive.

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SALT LAKE CITY, April 2013 — Albion Human Nutrition, the premier manufacturer of “Six Stage” chelated minerals, has hired BrandHive as its integrated marketing and public relations agency.

BrandHive, formerly Integrated Marketing Group, is promoting Albion’s long-standing position as the leader of patented organic minerals for use in dietary supplements, beverages, and food products. The agency will use a strategic mix of both industry and consumer communication programs to further solidify Albion’s market position.

“Albion has been in business since 1956, and we’ve worked hard to create products that are more bioavailable, effective, and easily tolerated for the greatest health benefits,” said Jim Hyde, Albion Human Nutrition CEO. “We’re the industry leader and partnering with BrandHive allows us to leverage that position for growth and awareness.”

Working with Albion creates a unique challenge for BrandHive in that consumer knowledge about the benefits of chelated minerals is low, but with more than 150 international patents and 125+ peer-reviewed, published studies on Albion products, the agency is well positioned to take Albion to the next level,” said Jeff Hilton, BrandHive co-founder and chief marketing officer.

“It’s rare to work with a company that has such a depth of scientific research and decades of expertise in one area,” Hilton said. “Albion Human Nutrition is a client we believe will not only strengthen its industry standing, but put even more distance between it and its closest rivals.”

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For 57 years, Albion Minerals has taken on the serious journey of “building a better mineral”.  A manufacturer with its base in Clearfield, Utah, Albion has established a strong foothold in the nutritional supplement industry with their patented mineral bisglycinate chelates (pronounced as “key-lates”). These chelates mimic the mineral chelates that naturally form during the digestion process in our bodies, making them less subject to competition from other processes and more readily absorbed and utilized by the body. I’ve always assumed that the multi-vitamins or supplements I’ve been taking for years have been doing their job.  I’ve since learned that tannins, fibers, phytates, polyphenols, and even other minerals can block or decrease the absorption of these supplements if they’re not in the optimal chelated form.

Albion has actively sought the science behind minerals forms since its inception and that interest has yet to peak. Albion just opened its own cell lab, which will allow them to readily construct highly controlled models of biological systems. This helps them reduce, and in some cases, eliminate the need for animal or human trials.  They currently own 140 patents that line the hallways of their main office building as a reminder that they’re a company that has run the course of proven science.  These patents, in addition to the 190 plus scientific studies, substantiate Albion’s leading role in human mineral nutrition.

How a body uses and absorbs minerals is a focal point of why Albion exists. And, they have a big story to tell.

See for yourself: