Salty Distribution - A Recipe For Massive Growth
Updated: Sep 16, 2019
What do you get when you combine an ambitious branding maniac with an equally ambitious importer of health & wellness goods? A recipe for massive growth!
Warning: This story is a cautionary tale, as much as it is a success story.
In the summer of 2014, I received a call from a man with a thick accent stating he wanted marketing help, and that he had a store in a nearby shopping mall. After meeting him, we quickly hit it off, and from there it felt like a speed train journey through one of the greatest business adventures of my life. Turns out he imported and sold Himalayan salt products. I’m a health and wellness guy, so it seemed like a good fit. I thought, why not give it a try?
I always start with brand story and brand strategy
We immediately went to work redesigning their packaging, their logo and brand identity so it would resonate with a broad American audience. Then just as we were releasing this packaging, a buyer from Sam’s Club scouted our products, and gave us a meeting. Capitalizing on the good fortune, we finished the packaging designs, and took the first run of prints and samples to Sam’s HQ in Bentonville Arkansas. They excitedly took in our whole line, and that Christmas we broke Sam’s Club holiday sales records.
Packaging Matters a TON, Whether It’s Physical or Digital
I’m consistently amazed at how much money entrepreneurs will spend on various aspects of a business, but spend very little time crafting a brand story and packaging that actually fits their market. Make no mistake, packaging matters just as much, for digital brands, if not more.
90% of would-be customers will first discover your brand or product on the internet. This can be from your website, social media page, or even a negative customer review. Online reputation management is another story for another day, but this all plays into your brand story, so it’s very important you are the one telling the story, not 1-2 grumpy customers, leaving negative reviews.
Packaging Creates Perception & Perception Is Everything
Your product “packaging” must appear in a positive, approachable, and confidence inspiring light. In a retail store, this means your literal packaging, but online this means your landing pages, your product images, your videos and your descriptions. All of these must be thought through carefully, with an objective eye, placed squarely in your ideal customers shoes. Failing to do this step means months and years of effort without traction.
Do Your Research
I know the health and wellness market quite well, because I was a health conscious consumer, and I did my research, I didn’t guess, I didn’t go off of a hunch...I did my research. Most entrepreneurs don’t even know that there are low cost, highly accurate market research tools available online, so they set about to guessing and using the opinions of their friends and family.
Don’t let that be you. Spend ample time where your customers interact with your product, or products like the ones you want to sell. This will ensure you have an accurate “product to market fit,” and you don’t waste countless hours and thousands of dollars creating something no one needs, and no one is asking for.
Innovate, But Not Too Much
Don’t get me wrong you need to innovate, but if you are innovating way out in a white space, your product may be too ahead of its time, or too different for the market to know what to do with. This actually happens more than you think, but it’s not a reason to give up, it’s a reason to refine, evolve and adapt.
During my five year journey, with Salt Skill Himalayan Salt Co, we sold almost 1 million Himlayan salt lamps, we successfully launched 10 SKUs into the national marketplace and we achieved national placement on several thousand retail store shelves including Sam’s Club, Bed Bath & Beyond, GNC and others. While the fad has died down, the company remains in operation to this day.
Everyone ambitious entrepeneur dreams of a well funded, fast growth startup, but fast growth is very much a two edge sword. It contains a lot of risk, and a lot of work, that may, or may not pan out. It's not a matter of whether or not you should ride the wave, but it's more about how you ride the wave that counts. If you find yourself in a fast growth situation, get in touch.
"Kyle helped us establish a strong brand identity that was attractive to large buyers and retailers all over the USA, Canada and even the Philippines. With this, we were able to access thousands of retail doors and become one of the largest brands in our category." ~ Attai Shahzad - Founder Himalayan Salt Co.
Strong Brand Identity Is The Key to Sales Automation
These days, I spend my time helping businesses automate their sales processes, through good digital marketing. If you’ve watched any of my videos, you will understand that the first step to effective, massively profitable sales automation actually has nothing to do with sales automation. It has everything to do with getting your product to market fit correct, and then mastering your brand identity and story in image, text and video within that space.
Technology is powerful, but it is driven by humans, and humans are only motivated by one thing, and one thing only. The power of story. Logical people don’t even realize that they are hypnotized by logical stories, justifying their actions with stories like “I am saving money.” “I am saving time.” but make no mistake about it, every single buying decision is an emotional one, reinforced by internal and external stories and values. So the question I have for you is this. What story is your brand telling? Are you ready to launch a new product, or business? Get it right, straight out of the gate, save money, avoid unecessary trial and error, and get to your product-market fit faster with one of our business packages.
What are the takeaways from this success story?
Turn your idea into a true product-to-market fit with real world market research. This can be done quite easily with tools readily available on the internet today. Do not fall into romanticism about your product, or brand. If you like the sound of your own music that’s fine, just don’t be upset when you’re struggling and no one is buying.
Understand your brand strategy by understanding your customer. Get to know them deeply. Where do you interface with the customer daily? If you think you’re going to build a business, or product, or website, and people automatically flock to it and buy, you’re most likely mistaken. But if you tap into the right vein of attention, and show up consistently, whether that is in person, or online, you can build momentum quickly. Sometimes too quickly.
Where Is Your Customer Already Shopping, or looking for solutions? Regardless of the product, it helps to find them where they already are. Amazon is not a good answer because it is a ubiquitous buying platform, with no loyalty and ultra fierce competition. If you think you’re going to build lasting wealth and value on Amazon, you might want to reconsider. You must find where your customer is already shopping, or learning about new products. Google and Facebook are great places to start, but I always recommend you anchor your product into the real world as well, with good old fashioned facetime in whatever community seems most appropriate.
Identify Similar Products In Your Niche. This one is all about balance. Create a product too similar to other products in your niche and you will disappear. On the other side, if you create a product that is too different, customers won’t know how to approach your product.
If You’d Like Help
Entrepeneurs and leaders who want to minimize risk, and avoid common pit-falls, by launching, or growing the right way, please check out our business packages. We have affordable, results based programs for startups, small business and even enterprise solutions.
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We are a new breed of #lifestylebusiness and #lifestyleentrepreneurs we aim to use technology, branding and automation to not only make businesses bigger, but also to make your life better. Automation and technology can help you do more than ever, just make sure you don't use it to create bigger headaches. :) #KyleDMarketing