Jeff Hilton, BrandHive’s co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, will co-present with Imbibe’s Executive Vice President, Andy Dratt, at this year’s Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo. The event will take place on July 16-19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois and will bring together brand owners and supply partners to explore insights into branding, new technology, and trends related to packaging.

Hilton and Dratt’s session, “Quenching the Marketplace Thirst for Innovative Packaging,” will offer real-world case studies on how brands and packaging manufacturers are shifting their attention to the power of creative design and innovative beverage delivery forms as a way to command consumer attention and educate product benefit. The speakers will present examples of how packaging can make or break a new brand on both the physical or virtual shelf and how brand manufacturers can best address consumer’s interest in value, convenience, and traceability.

Hilton and Dratt’s session will take place on Tuesday, July 19th at 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Food Expo Forum. As one of the largest gatherings of food science and technology professionals, IFT is an important community event. For more information on the conference, please click here.

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I remember back in the 1990’s sitting in meetings at Nature’s Way talking about the potential of the functional food and beverage sector, which at that point was in its infancy. Now, over two decades later, we are in the ramp up to significant expansion of the category with new products entering the market on an almost daily basis. A simple walk down the beverage aisle of Whole Foods provides an excellent example of the proliferation that has occurred. The sheer volume of functional beverage entries is both staggering and intimidating. Even more sobering, probably 50 percent of those brands won’t be on the shelf one year from now. The beverage isle is a brutal retail battleground where brands either thrive or die. Functional food brands have not yet proliferated to the extent that functional beverages have, but based upon a review of marketplace activity and trends, many more functional food product introductions are on the horizon. And the key driver here is the consumer, believe it or not. In survey after survey, consumers have stated that they prefer their health and wellness to result primarily from what they eat and drink on an ongoing daily basis, so it is not a huge leap to expect expanded growth for these once vertically niched market segments.

This article seeks to identify, review and discuss some significant and relevant ingredient and formulation trends in these growing categories.
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Jeff Hilton, co-founder and partner at BrandHive, will discuss the evolution of CPG branding at the World Tea Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center next week. Retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, grocers and other industry representatives will attend the expo. Hilton’s presentation will take place on the final day of the event as part of the expo’s core conference seminars.

Hilton’s session, The Evolution of Branding, takes a closer look at how the traditional branding paradigm has shifted control from marketers to consumers. In an environment where consumers have become “publishers” and content creators, Hilton provides guidance around how to manage that opportunity in successfully marketing functional teas and other beverages.

“The traditional To Do’s of marketing have drastically changed,” said Hilton. “Opportunities made available through channels including video, digital content and social media have allowed consumers to customize brand offerings to their tastes and timeline. This has resulted in a new marketing approach characterized by Concept, Content, Connection, Community, and Continuity.”

The World Tea Expo cites growth in tea consumption at well over 80 billion servings in 2015. As the third largest importer of tea in the world, the United States is primed for tremendous market growth. This year’s World Tea Expo will mark the 15th anniversary of the event.

Hilton’s session is scheduled for Friday, June 17th at 8:00-9:30 am. For more information on Hilton’s session or the conference, please visit: http://worldteaexpo.com.

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BrandHive, a leading healthy lifestyle-branding agency, recently finished production of their latest video project for Buzz Away Extreme from Quantum Health. At just under two and a half minutes long, the story for the video educates viewers about certain implications associated with mosquito bites and the safe and proven solution delivered with Buzz Away Extreme. Andy Yorkin, Account Director overseeing strategy for Quantum Health, believes the timing of the video release is perfect: “The video is very timely considering the Zika virus outbreak coupled with a growing interest amongst today’s consumers to find more natural alternatives to chemical-based products.”

 

With close client collaboration, BrandHive developed several concepts to tell the Buzz Away Extreme story. After careful consideration of current events, the concept was chosen that tells a narrative of the safe and natural insect repellant to defend against mosquitos, ticks, flies, gnats and no-see-ums along with the associated health concerns. With BBQ and picnic season upon us, the timing couldn’t be better.

 

Since 1981, Quantum Health, based in Eugene, OR, has been producing and marketing the safest and effective natural products to address everyday health concerns including cold sores, immune support and bug bite protection. Today the company offers more than 60 scientifically formulated products at leading retailers throughout the United States and Canada, including Buzz Away Extreme® DEET-free mosquito and tick repellent and Lip Clear® Lysine + Coldstick and cold sore treatment products. All products are manufactured under strict quality control standards.  www.quantumhealth.com

As a preview to VitaFoods Europe, I want to share a few thoughts on building consumer awareness for branded ingredients.

The Opportunity

Thought leaders and others in the manufacturing and supply chain sectors of the healthy, natural, organic space are beginning to reach consensus that the best way forward to future growth and market success is founded in a partnership strategy or approach. By that, I mean that true innovation in today’s market space requires R&D focus and capabilities that many smaller entrepreneurial companies do not have at the ready. Likewise, there are a host of ingredient suppliers who either serve as brokers/marketers or simply do not have an R&D pipeline for new product discoveries or technological innovations. So the increasingly logical approach is to share that overall responsibility and combine resources to discover, foster and cultivate new ingredients and technologies with implications for improved human health. This increased collaboration allows brand owners and branded raw material suppliers to mix and match their IP to create something greater than the individual contributions might suggest. Now more than ever, successful product introductions, particularly in niche markets, come from a vibrant combination of expertise where players are less silo-driven and more collaborative. In short, you can play in my sandbox, and I will play in yours. Nowhere is this opportunity more pressing than in building consumer demand and awareness for new products and the ingredients, features and benefits driving them. That is very much a shared responsibility with shared accountability in today’s marketplace and brand owners expect legitimate suppliers to actively play a role in consumer education and building demand at the consumer level. Long gone are the days of selling raw ingredients at $X per kilo and good luck with that. The supplier of the near future must approach brand owners with a much more comprehensive approach which addresses consumer positioning, value proposition, and proposed messaging to support ingredient claims. In addition, growing suppliers are also now expected to participate in consumer education and outreach.

The Challenge
Consumer outreach is not cheap. We all know that. It also requires detailed planning and execution and is often beyond the wheelhouse for many ingredient suppliers who focus on B2B communications. So the hurdle is related to both financial concerns and lack of expertise. Yet the expectation lingers, and smart and savvy suppliers are seeking a way forward.

An Approach
May I suggest that the correct path of thinking for a raw ingredient supplier is to outline a program of cost-effective, guerilla-style tactics that can assist in the brand-building process at a reasonable budget. The primary goal here should be to 1) educate consumers about the branded ingredient and 2) send them back to your brand partners to purchase at retail or online.

Tools for consideration include:

– Social media: Choose 2-3 platforms and establish a presence for your branded ingredient. Create a content calendar and post regularly. Feature your brand partners in posts and send consumers back to your Web site or a landing page where participating brand partners are highlighted with live links to their web sites. You can outsource this function for a few thousand dollars a month. You should also allocate some money to purchase social media advertising, boost posts, etc.

– Event sampling: Pick a few key markets for your brand partner and arrange to sample your ingredient (with a card attached leading the individual to a local retailer where the product is sold). Getting included in goody bags for half marathons, yoga retreats is relatively inexpensive and often the sponsoring organization is looking for samples and will gladly include you at no charge.

– Blogger outreach: There are literally thousands of blogs in the “blogosphere” to choose from. Many of them are focused on health and wellness issues or specific disease conditions like obesity, heart health and diabetes. Reach out to prominent bloggers with an offer to supply them with free product samples to try provided they will post in their blog about the experience. You can also encourage them to plan a giveaway or blog promotion built around your ingredient and it’s benefits. Many bloggers will provide coverage for free if they like the product, and those who charge for a review are usually quite reasonable.

There are other ideas but these will give you a starting point. Give up the idea that you need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on print, online and broadcast advertising which you can’t afford, and start thinking about small ways that you can help get the word out through more localized, guerilla tactics. Reaching the consumer is s joint effort between brand owners and suppliers. Suppliers don’t need to do all the heavy lifting, but they need to actively help share the load.

BrandHive’s, Jeff Hilton, has been invited to participate in an additional panel session at this month’s Vitafoods Europe, on May 10-12, 2016 at Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland. The panel will explore the future for the Sports Nutrition market and the steps required for manufacturers and suppliers to drive quality, safety and consumer trust within the industry

PARTICIPANTS: Shane Starling, Senior Editor, Food Ingredients EMEA/APAC (Chair), Jeff Hilton, Chief Marketing Office and Co-Founder of BrandHive, David Trosin, Director of Business Development, Dietary Supplements, NSF International, USA, Dr Adam Carey, Chair, European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA), UK
PANEL SESSION: Raising the Bar: Driving quality, safety and consumer trust in sports nutrition
TIME: May 10, 2016, 11:00-11:40 AM
PLACE: Centre Stage

Hilton’s other sessions at Vitafoods include:

• “What the personalised healthcare consumer trend means for manufacturers and suppliers?” – Tuesday, May 10th, at 16:40 – 17:00 at the Life Stages Theatre.

• “Addressing opportunities in the expanding active nutrition marketplace” – Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 12:45-13:05 at the Vitafoods Centre Stage.

• “Leap-frogging: How branded ingredient suppliers can build consumer awareness on a limited budget” – Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 09:30 – 09:55 as part of the paid Conference Proceedings.

For more information on these sessions, please visit http://www.brandhive.com/buzz/2016/04/brandhives-hilton-to-lead-diverse-discussions-at-vitafoods-europe/.

Vitafoods Europe is the leading exhibition for the nutraceutical, functional food and drink dietary supplements industries. The event is expected to attract 900 global suppliers showcasing thousands of innovative products while providing strategic direction and expertise for operating a strategic business. For more information, please visit http://www.vitafoods.eu.com/.

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We’re proud to celebrate 20 years in business! Thank you for your support of BrandHive. We’re sharing our celebratory video from this year’s Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. Enjoy!

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BrandHive, a full service, strategic branding, PR and social media agency dedicated to “creating healthy buzz”, today announces the selection of Ms. Shilpa Gauba as its Social Media and Blogger Outreach strategist.

Shilpa has over 12 years of corporate marketing experience along with ten years in developing and executing integrated online and social media marketing initiatives. Considered a guru in her industry, Shilpa has successfully managed social media, blogger and SEM initiatives for a variety of corporate clients in the fields of nutraceuticals, entertainment, telecom, food and beverage, and healthcare technology research. Shilpa is also the author of a book on multicultural marketing called “Be Heard”.

“As our agency continues to grow and our portfolio of services expands, we are extremely pleased to welcome Shilpa to the BrandHive team,” said Jeff Hilton, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “She brings a depth of knowledge and experience that will help elevate our clients’ corporate and brand messaging, extend the audience reach of targeted initiatives, and reinforce BrandHive’s reputation for delivering outstanding results.”

Shilpa earned her MBA (focusing on advertising and public relations) in India and achieved a Master Certification in Integrated Online and Social Media Marketing from the University of San Francisco. She is an experienced software engineer and is certified in inbound marketing, making her uniquely qualified to oversee both the technology and the communication side of digital marketing programs and campaign. Shilpa recently served as a speaker and judge at the DECA National Conference. She supports the prevention and cure of cancer in children.

At BrandHive, Shilpa will be responsible for integrated online, social media and blogger outreach programs.

Forget everything you know. I often feel like that is the new imperative for marketers in the modern world. It also feels on occasion like we in this profession are being collectively schooled in a new way to communicate and be relevant to our audience. And so be it. Smart communicators operate in today’s complex marketplace under an entirely new set of assumptions about messaging, audience and media channels. Learning the new rules of engagement is paramount in order to successfully, meaningfully and profitably connect with our current, former and future customers.

And as seems requisite in these articles to shape the content into bite sized bits of information for consumption and sharing, I will of course comply by discussing what I like to call the Five C’s of Modern Marketing.

But first, a premise to consider. I am old enough to remember well the days when marketers had all (or most) of the control. Brand managers decided what the message would be, how it would be creatively communicated, the medium, the timing, who it would reach and how often. More or less. But the tables have certainly turned. In 2015, we as marketers assemble a patchwork of interrelated strategies and tactics designed to reach our audience, but they wield the big stick now. They decide, for the most part, what they see or hear, when they see or hear it, how it is presented and if it is presented at all. They can save it for later, share it, customize it, or frankly just ignore it.

Under this new paradigm, today’s marketers must be more strategic than ever before to find, attract, engage and convert.

Concept. Powerful brands tell a story. And yes, I know you have heard that before. Good branding is effective storytelling. The challenge is crafting a brand story that can be communicated in a wide range of formats, from broadcast and print to skyscraper banners and landing pages. And that takes practice. The better you know your story, the more flexible you can be in telling it well through a dizzying range of media delivery formats. But suffice it to say, it all starts with the brand story concept. Every brand has a story. Either you can create it, or your customers will do it for you. And you may not like what they come up with.

Content. The most compelling stories are true stories. And so every solid brand story must have some underlying truth to be effective. That’s where consumer research and scientific validation plus R&D come into play. Or whatever form of support you have generated to substantiate your story and give it legs in the marketplace. Fabricating an interesting storyline is the easy part. Building a portfolio of supporting facts and data behind it is much more difficult.

Connection. When you think about all of the imagery and sound thrown at the average person on an average day, surprisingly little of it seems to “stick”. Why is that? My personal belief is that marketers tend to forget that there are two parts to every sale: the rational sale, and the emotional sale. Features and benefits are fine and good, and a solid value proposition should incorporate the most unique points of difference for your brand. But if there is no emotional connection created between your brand and your customer, precious little interaction or engagement is likely to occur. Particularly when it comes to the coveted Millennial generation, the ability to engage with a brand is a prerequisite to purchase. Savvy marketers encourage that type of emotional connection at every point of contact.

Community. With the advent of social media, the dynamics of personal connection and engagement with customers have evolved exponentially. The challenge these days is determining how to connect, with whom, in what ways, using what vehicles? One thing for certain is that key to online engagement is User Generated Content. Prospects and customers want to hear what their peers think of your brand. Not what you think of it. The more you can facilitate sharing and exchange on your Website, blog, or social outposts, the more brand ambassadors you can create and empower. One more thought regarding social media strategy; focus on generating an objectives-driven plan, not just a hodgepodge assembly of tactics.

Continuity. In a few short words, always seek to speak with one voice. The more diverse and segmented the consumer and media landscape become, the easier it is to silo content to the point where the key brand messages are lost. Always return home to the brand story to make certain that your key selling proposition is not getting lost in the shuffle. Message continuity and frequency are all important. And when I say message, I am referring to both words and graphic elements.

You’re not alone. We are all navigating this new media landscape together. Looking for better ideas and approaches. So when you find something that works, please share it. As they say, a rising tide floats all boats.

Article Source:
Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications
Written by Jeff Hilton, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Brandhive
Edited by Gary Gonzalez, Medill IMC Class of 2015
Published 10/25/2015

BrandHive, a leading healthy lifestyle branding agency providing high level strategic planning and branding expertise to consumer packaged goods and value-based ingredient companies, today announced that its co-founder and partner, Jeff Hilton, was selected by the Vitafoods Executive Advisory Board to lead three educational events at the global nutraceutical event, Vitafoods Europe, on May 10-12, 2016 at Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland.

Hilton’s first session, “What the personalised healthcare consumer trend means for manufacturers and suppliers?” will address how category, channel and technology convergence in the marketplace has changed the playing field for manufacturers and suppliers. Hilton will discuss why consumers are seeking more integrated health solutions and how supply channel partners can capitalize on that demand. The presentation will take place on Tuesday, May 10th, at 16:40 – 17:00 at the Life Stages Theatre.

Hilton’s second session, “Addressing opportunities in the expanding active nutrition marketplace,” will examine how the sports nutrition sector is expanding into active nutrition with tremendous implications for product and consumer segmentation. Hilton will also address how to launch a successful active nutrition product. The presentation will take place on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 12:45-13:05 at the Vitafoods Centre Stage.

In the third session, “Leap-frogging: How branded ingredient suppliers can build consumer awareness on a limited budget”, Hilton will discuss cost effective ways to establish a consumer presence for a branded ingredient to assist manufacturing brand partners in educating consumers about ingredient features and benefits, as well as stimulating demand for the finished products that contain the ingredient. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 09:30 – 09:55 as part of the paid Conference Proceedings.

“There are significant, relevant trends shifting the marketplace for manufacturers and suppliers involved in the functional foods, nutraceutical and personal care industries,” said Hilton. “I’m looking forward to joining other industry and academic experts to present strategic insights which I believe will impact the success and profitability of today’s brands. I’d also like to congratulate the Informa team on their 20th anniversary! BrandHive reaches its 20-year milestone this month as well. We’re proud to be in such great company in celebrating and acknowledging the success and growth of the health and wellness industry.”
Vitafoods Europe is the leading exhibition for the nutraceutical, functional food and drink dietary supplements industries. The event is expected to attract 900 global suppliers showcasing thousands of innovative products while providing strategic direction and expertise for operating a strategic business. For more information, please visit http://www.vitafoods.eu.com/.