Ever witness the shopper with eyes glaring at the label on the can of snap peas in the aisle next to you? Chances are, they’re analyzing the nutritional label in an effort to decipher its underlying code. Are the peas organic? NON-GMO Project Verified? cGMP? NSF certified? For consumers, shopping has become an alphabet soup of options with regard to certifications. It can be difficult and tiring to understand which certifications really matter.

One may ask if certifications add value. And, the answer is most certainly yes.

Certifications can add credibility and legitimacy to a brand offering. For some, having an implied third party endorsement adds tremendous value.  So, what causes certification fatigue?

Certification fatigue is the result of an increasing use (and misuse) of terms and seals invented by marketers and brands. Common claims such as artificial ingredients, all natural, no high fructose corn syrup or clean label, to name a few, have made it difficult to discern what’s real from what’s trendy. Unlike more formalized certifications, such as USDA Organic, terms developed by marketers often go unchecked by an authorized body.

In an attempt to help brands avoid “certification fatigue”, BrandHive’s Jeff Hilton provided the following best practices in Certification and Claim Marketing to consumers:

  • Start by asking what matters most to the consumer. What assurances do they look for in your category?  Some certifications fall outside the realm of importance for specific brands.
  • Prioritize your claims and certifications according to consumer appeal.  Display them where the consumer is spending time and can study them and understand them.
  • Make the statements more transparent. Don’t say 100% sustainable- say “up cycled from the farming waste stream”.  Don’t say traceable- say controlled from seed to shelf on our own 300-acre farm.
  • Don’t hide behind your seals and certifications.  Certifications enhance your brand and add value, but they don’t define your brand. Define your key messages and use claims and certifications SELECTIVELY to enhance the storytelling, not replace it.

Certification fatigue is indeed real.  By implementing a few best practices, we can overcome the increasing misuse and provide consumers with the information that matters most.

Filed under Natural Branding.

BrandHive, a global healthy lifestyle branding agency providing high level strategic planning and branding expertise to consumer packaged goods and value-based ingredient companies for the past 23 years, was acquired by market research and data management company, Decision Sciences Research Associates, Inc. (DSRA). The purchase allows BrandHive to expand its capabilities portfolio to include specialized market research, survey research and data-driven services. The acquisition was finalized in May of 2019.

DSRA is a market research, technology and consulting firm with over 30 years of experience in both qualitative and quantitative research design, development, fielding, and analysis. Led by a strong and tenured management team, DSRA currently provides research and consulting services to several top CPG and luxury brands, including Clorox, Honda, Burt’s Bees, and Air Canada.

“DSRA’s expertise in market research perfectly complements BrandHive’s strategic branding expertise, providing our clients with turnkey research capabilities,” said Jeff Hilton, Co-Founder of BrandHive. “BrandHive has been on a steady growth trajectory creating extraordinary value for our clients as a full-service branding agency. The DSRA partnership allows us to provide additional value to our clients with programs to enhance customer loyalty and business revenue at a time when data mining and management are emerging as key competitive advantages.”

BrandHive will retain its identity, along with its current staff. Hilton and BrandHive Co-Founder, Matt Aller, will also remain in active consulting roles.

“BrandHive is a tremendous adjunct for DSRA, providing highly experienced branding services to our clients,” said William Fisher, President and CEO of DSRA. “BrandHive’s long-standing reputation in the B2B and B2C natural products channels, along with DSRA’s analytical expertise, will allow us to create and implement data-driven branding initiatives to directly impact the revenue and profitability of our clients.”

DSRA is excited to add BrandHive to its strong portfolio of companies, including CX Solutions and Bass Reports. CX Solutions is a leading research consulting firm in the United States, focusing on Customer Experience, Training, Change Management, and Consulting. The DSRA family also includes Bass Reports, which specializes in working with companies to ensure their employees deliver superior satisfaction and service required to build customer loyalty.

“DSRA is really focused on achieving significant results for our clients through the application of real time data and solutions. This focus has been the most important contributor to DSRA’s success since our inception in 1982” comments Fisher.

For more information, please visit DSRA.com.

Jeff Hilton, BrandHive’s Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, has been invited to present two sessions at this year’s Vitafoods Europe which takes place May 7-9, 2019 at Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland.  Jeff’s sessions will span two Education Program Summits, including Sustainability and Traceability: Making it Work for You and Closer to Your Digital Consumers: Insights and Marketing Strategies. Both programs will address challenges, opportunities and market innovation within the global food industry.

Jeff’’s first session, How to successfully build an authentic and sustainable brand, will take place at 10:30-11:10 AM on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 within the Sustainability & Traceability track. The session will address sustainability, transparency and clean label trends and how they create opportunities for brands. Jeff will also share strategies around developing authenticity and shared values through consumer content and engagement.

Jeff’s second session, Navigating the digital marketing landscape, will take place at 10:30-11:10 AM on Thursday, May 9, 2019 within the Digital Consumer Marketing track. The session will evaluate how the omnichannel has impacted consumer messaging and audience targetiing. The session will also explore the benefits of adopting a digital first communications strategy and how this strategy can help brands compete.

Both sessions will be chaired by Charlotte Bastiaanse, Associate Editor of Vtafoods Insights (UK). For more information, please visit vitafoods.eu.com.

Jeff Hilton will be presenting at Vitafoods Europe in May as part of an educational summit, “Closer to your digital consumers: insights and marketing strategies”. The summit will address the valuable role of a digital marketing strategy in reaching today’s consumers.

Jeff’s session will focus on specific strategies brands can leverage to navigate the new Digital World. Here’s a brief synopsis from his presentation:

Times they are ‘a changing. Monthly. Daily. Sometimes hourly. Marketing theory and best practices are evolving at an exciting (or alarming) rate depending on your perspective. The Digital Age is in full swing. And, it’s not too late to get digitally savvy. Here are a few tips on what brands can do to more successfully make the move to a digital-forward marketing effort?

Here are some suggestions to consider:

• Embrace the OmniChannel. Research and anecdotal evidence shows that consumers are increasingly shopping horizontally across distribution channels (rather than vertically in a particular channel) depending upon what they need, when they need it and where they are. Brands need to be present wherever the customer is. And that means an online digitally fluid presence is essential.

• Make sure your digital footprint is responsive. By that I mean compatible with different browsers for easy viewing on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile. If your Web site or newsletter or eBlast is not easily consumed across devices, you lose 50% of your audience right off the bat. Can you afford that?

• Adopt a digital-first philosophy. It all starts with your Website. Now more than ever, that is the digital home base for your brand. It needs to be compelling, it needs to be interactive, and it needs to entertain as well as educate. Visitors to your site should be able to get every thing they need there to learn about, locate and purchase your brand. A smart Website is the foundation for your digital footprint.

• Get social. Social media is not a nice to have, it’s a have to have. Whether B2B or B2C, a robust social platform presence is mandatory to reach today’s socially connected consumer. And don’t forget to integrate your social platforms with your Web site for easy access.

• Plan To fail. The nice thing about digital communication is that it can be changed or deleted with a keyboard stroke. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches, test pricing levels, test different features and benefits. It’s fast, easy and smart. And you can track the metrics for better decision-making.

• Use video. Every brand, including B2B customer-facing brands, needs video assets in today’s marketplace. Videos get greater attention, engagement, and retention of the information shared is higher than any other medium

It’s not too late to get started on a digital marketing plan for your brand. Make it a priority and get started.

Questions? You can reach Jeff at Jeff@brandhive.com.

Jeff Hilton, BrandHive’s Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, has been invited to join Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Science’s (SCNM) Advisory Council. The Council consists of a select group of leaders within the Natural Products Industry appointed by the President/CEO of SCNM.

Founded in 1993, SCNM is the leading medical school in the natural health sector. With a vision to promote change to transform healthcare, the school is recognized for its innovative research and naturopathic curriculum.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve on the Southwest College Advisory Council,” said Jeff Hilton. “The Council will provide input and industry perspective for the College in a number of areas. Education in the natural products sector is Job One and I am hopeful that I can contribute to moving the ball forward”.

For more information on SCNM or its leadership programs, please visit scnm.edu.

BrandHive, a global healthy lifestyle branding agency providing high level strategic planning and branding expertise to consumer packaged goods and value-based ingredient companies, was retained by Spinato’s, a Phoenix-based specialty frozen pizza brand, to create a new website and execute their public relations and social/influencer outreach programs.

In 1971, Chicago residents and entrepreneurs Ken and Elaine Spinato purchased land in Arizona with recognition that their new soon-to-be residence lacked authentic Chicago-style pizza. After finally moving in 1974 to escape harsh Chicago winters, Ken and Elaine established the first restaurant in their new home. The family spent the next 35 years refining and perfecting the recipes, which have made Spinato’s pizzas famous. Customers became increasingly interested in their pizza recipes, regularly requesting take-home options. In an exciting evolution, Spinato’s business expanded to retail.

While the Spinato’s legacy has hinged on it’s family roots, retail demand has increased for the fresh ingredients and authentic family recipes that inspire Spinato’s growing line of frozen gluten free Pizza’s, including their highly anticipated plant-based pizzas, and pasta sauces. Spinato’s retail products are distributed in 750 stores nationwide with plans for expanded distribution to over 1000 additional storefronts this year.

“Spinato’s is a family-owned business that has operated successfully for over 40 years,” said Spinato’s Vice President, Anthony Spinato. “We’ve reached a vital point in the development of our retail business. For this reason, we sought to collaborate with an organization with both communications expertise and knowledge of the industry. We’re truly looking forward to working with BrandHive to support our continued momentum.” 

BrandHive was retained by Spinato’s to capitalize on this rapid growth, focusing on synergistic creative development of its core consumer outreach.

“Spinato’s is at a pivotal stage,” said Jeff Hilton, BrandHive’s co-founder and chief marketing officer. “The company’s retail success dovetails nicely with the growing demand for healthier frozen meal alternatives. Spinato’s has the innovative products; now we can make a connection with consumers to engage, educate and motivate. The company’s website, social channels, etc. are key omnichannel touch points for food and beverage brands to connect with consumers in a powerful and compelling way. We’re truly excited to work with these bright entrepreneurs.”

Some of BrandHive’s other retail clients include Coffee Blocks, Glutenfreeda, Quantum Health, Lifestix, and Lehi Roller Mills. For more information, visit brandhive.com.

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 brandhive.com.

About Spinato’s
Spinato’s was born from the passion for fresh, flavorful and authentic Italian recipes. Founders Ken and Elaine Spinato responded to the increasing demand from restaurant patrons for the recipes of its famous Spinato’s pizzeria by introducing frozen Gluten Free Pizzas, tomato sauces and dressings at retail. Found in 750 retail stores, Spinato’s is quickly becoming a favorite among the specialty pizza products coast to coast. Spinato’s offers its signature pizza sauces, dressings, and pizzas at spinatosfinefoods.com.


BrandHive to Present Marketing Insights at Future of Nutrition Summit and Health Ingredients Europe

BrandHive, a leading global healthy lifestyle branding agency, announced that its co-founder and CMO, Jeff Hilton, will present consumer marketing insights and custom content at the Future of Nutrition Summit and Health Ingredients Europe Conferences in Frankfurt, Germany, November 26-29, 2018. Jeff’s sessions at this year’s conference are detailed below:

Future of Nutrition Summit

Jeff will be presenting on the topic of personalized nutrition at the Future of Nutrition Summit (Stream A). The track, Personalized Nutrition for the Future Consumer, will be moderated by Mariëtte Abrahams, Director, Mariette Abrahams Consulting. Jeff’s session, titled “Mapping the evolving relationship between industry and consumers”, will explore how personalized nutrition is providing both opportunities and challenges for brand owners, as well as suppliers.
Date: November 26, 2018
Time: 17:00–17:25
Location: Sofitel Frankfurt Opera Hotel

HI Europe Conference

Session One: How to Build an Authentic Brand

Jeff will be presenting a session within the Industry Insights track on “How to Build an Authentic Brand”. The session will address how manufacturers can address consumer’s evolving needs regarding cleaner, more transparent labeling.
Date: November 28, 2018
Time: 12:00 – 12:45  
Location: Industry Insights Theatre (Messe Frankfurt)

Session Two: Tackling Misinformation Around F&B: How to Ensure Objective Analysis Wins

Jeff will be a participant on a panel focused on food category evolution. The session is titled “Tackling misinformation around F&B: how to ensure objective analysis wins” and will take place prior to the screening of the documentary FOOD EVOLUTION, funded by the Institute of Food Technology on misinformation in discussions about food. The moderator will be Bertrand Emond, Chair, IFT – British Section.
Date: November 29, 2018
Time: 10:00 – 11:30
Location: Discovery Theatre (Messe Frankfurt)

HI Europe is one of the largest trade events in Europe for functional food, health ingredients and finished products. For more information, please visit: https://www.figlobal.com/hieurope/.

BrandHive, a leading healthy lifestyle branding agency, today announced that its co-founder and chief marketing officer, Jeff Hilton, will be a featured speaker at the SupplySide Workshop “Blurring Lines of Supplements, Foods, Pharma and More”. The workshop will take place on Friday, November 9th from 2-4:00 PM on the Lower Level, North Convention Center.

Jeff’s session will be moderated by Informa’s Health and Nutrition Senior Editor, Todd Runestad. The session will cover varying perspectives related to health products in supplement, food and pharmaceutical categories. Jeff will be joined on the panel by fellow experts Jeffrey Hendricks (M&M Labs/Alaska Springs Pharmaceutical), Sean Murphy (Hempo Business Journal), and Greg Stephens (Windrose Partners). The following topics will be discussed:

• Actionable steps suppliers and manufacturers can take to partner in the development, formulation, and delivery of efficacious supplement ingredients across product categories.
• Case study: Can cannabis really succeed as a food, drug, supplement and street medicine?
• What are the challenges in developing and marketing medical foods?

SupplySide West attendees and exhibitors are welcome to attend the workshop. To register, visit: here

First time SupplySide West attendees will also be able to meet Jeff at a reception on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 from 5 to 7 pm. The reception will take place at the Mandalay Bay Rx Boiler Room.
For more information on Supplyside West, visit west.supplysideshow.com.

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 invited as a featured speaker as part of Nutrition Capital Network’s (NCN) Webinar Series. The free webinar event, “What’s behind the Omnichannel marketing shift?” will take place on Tuesday, October 30th at 11:00 AM PT/2:00 PM ET.

NCN is an organization that connects investors with high-potential start up and early stage companies in the healthy products industry. As part of their mission, NCN presents educational opportunities for companies both seeking and looking to make investments.

Jeff’s webinar will precede NCN’s annual meetings in Las Vegas and San Francisco. Attendees will gain an in-depth understanding of how to build a cohesive and effective strategy to execute a consumer-centric, OmniChannel marketing effort. To register, visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1575773180004571137. Registration is free of charge.

BrandHive, a global healthy lifestyle branding agency providing high level strategic planning and branding expertise to consumer packaged goods and value-based ingredient companies, announced that its co-founder and CMO, Jeff Hilton, will chair and present consumer marketing strategy content at the Vitafoods Asia exhibition on September 11-12, 2017 at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre at Marina Bay, Singapore. 

Hilton will chair the following sessions within the “Consumer Insights and Marketing Strategies Forum” track as part of the Vitafoods Education Program Theater on September 11, 2018:

Session One: Changing consumer behavior: Understanding the opportunities that come with consumers becoming increasingly aware of health and nutrition
Speaker: Anika Nafis, Mintel’s Trend and Innovation Consultant
Time: 3:10-3:50 PM

Session Two: Comparative consumer analysis in Asia: Aging in Japan, changing in India
Speaker: Rieko Shofu, Sensing Saia Limited’s President and CEO
Time: 3:50-4:30 PM

Session Three: The machine taught me the narrative: Using machine learning to research the narratives that matter to brands, categories and businesses
Speaker: Dave McCaughan, Al Agency Thailand’s Chief Strategy Officer
Time: 4:30-5:10 PM

Jeff will also present on “How to Successfully Market your Science to a Consumer Audience”. Delegates will leave the session with a cohesive understanding of the benefits of making science more accessible to consumers, and how to effectively present technical in a way that is accessible, compelling and most of all memorable. The presentation will take place on September 11th at 5:10-5:45 PM in the Education Program Theater.

Vitafoods Asia is the only event in the region dedicated exclusively to ingredients and raw materials for nutraceuticals, functional food and drinks, and dietary supplements. It attracts over 170 international exhibiting companies and 3,000+ visitors from across the Asia Pacific region. For more information, please click here.