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.

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 25-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: mailto:

Filed under Natural Products.

Gencor award

The big news at ExpoWest wasn’t just that Integrated Marketing Group (IMG) unveiled their new name BrandHive, but also that BrandHive clients took home two show awards. Gencor won “Most Innovative New Ingredient” for their product Libifem (a proprietary fenugreek extract clinically proven to promote a woman’s healthy libido, sexual vitality and desire). OmniActive won “Best of Show Marketing” for their inventive introduction to their new “Lutein for Every Eye” campaign, which included a flash mob and a book signing with Dr. Anschel.

Filed under Press Releases.

SALT LAKE CITY, March 8, 2013 – Sixteen years ago, Jeff Hilton and Matt Aller joined forces to create Integrated Marketing Group. The duo saw huge potential to provide branding and marketing services to healthy and natural consumer goods and ingredient companies. They were right.

In the years to follow, IMG grew into a leading, one-stop shop for strategic branding, media, public relations, and online services, providing assistance to the leading brands in the industry. Now, Hilton and Aller are ushering in a new era of even more comprehensive, collaborative marketing partnership.

Welcome to BrandHive
“The healthy lifestyles industry has evolved significantly, and we’ve long believed that having a strong team of senior professionals who work together in the same space and who leverage each other’s talents is the key to bottom-line results for our clients,” Hilton said. “Reinventing ourselves as BrandHive is a direct reflection of this agency’s renewed dedication to collaborating at the highest level for the best results.”

BrandHive officially launches today at the ExpoWest/Engredea show in Anaheim, CA, with a reception for invited guests at Morton’s.

The new name plays on the passion for excellence and focused precision exemplified by bees, the ultimate collaborators, said Aller. The agency’s new vision statement is “Creating Healthy Buzz,” and showcases BrandHive’s focus on generating awareness, attention, and results for natural product and ingredient companies in all categories.

“This industry has an energy to it that Jeff and I have watched evolve over the past 16 years,” Aller said. “Because we’ve been part of that growth, BrandHive clients will continue to benefit from our long-standing industry relationships and the decades of experience our team has in the dietary supplement, personal care, functional foods and healthy beverages sectors.”

Hilton and Aller always envisioned growing the agency as the industry matured, and recent additions to the BrandHive staff reflect that goal. Last year, Peggy Jackson was hired as business development director, bringing more than 15 years experience in healthy lifestyles experience with her. The agency has grown its PR, creative, and marketing departments, as well.

“Unlike other agencies that hire virtual staffers, BrandHive has built a team of 17 professionals who work face-to-face on a daily basis in its Salt Lake City office. This encourages spontaneity in generating ideas and better integration of media, public relations, creative design, web development, and advertising,” Hilton said.

“At any given time, BrandHive team members are brainstorming ideas, evaluating research data, discussing industry trends, and debating novel creative concepts,” he said. “All that buzz inside our office translates into a symbiosis that will get people talking and help drive business success for our clients.”

The BrandHive team
• Jeff Hilton, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer
• Matt Aller, Co-Founder and Creative Director
• Melanee Brown, Business Manager
• Teresa Aller, Office Coordinator
• Peggy Jackson, Business Development Director
• Erika Lowstedt-Granath, Senior Art Director
• James Fagedes, Interactive Art Director
• Sharon Benedict, Senior Copywriter
• Nate Peterson, Art Director
• Giles Wallace, Art Director
• Gail Frankoski, Marketing Director
• Meet Nagar, Marketing Coordinator
• Lisa Openshaw, Media Buyer
• Dave Clifton, Public Relations Director
• Kathleen Murphy, Senior Public Relations Counsel
• Ida Baghoomian, Senior Public Relations Counsel
• Courtney Morton, Senior Public Relations Counsel
• Gary Gonzalez, Public Relations Coordinator

About BrandHive
BrandHive is branding the natural, organic world. Like any good hive, we’re collaborative and work closely with our client partners to achieve remarkable results for natural brands. BrandHive can help you strategically position your brand within the healthy lifestyles industry. BrandHive clients benefit from our long-standing relationships and decades of experience crafting messages that engage natural businesses and consumers. We specialize in finished goods and raw materials for dietary supplements, personal care, healthy foods and healthy beverages. For more information, visit us at