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Category Archives: Branding

Keep your branding simple

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Keep it simple branding

The coffee house sketch that sparked the Bearded Brothers brand.

I can’t tell you how important it is to have great branding, and one of the keys to great branding is to keep it simple. In a sea of consumer packaged goods that are screaming for your attention, simplicity is often the best way to grab somebody’s attention. When every other package on the shelf is LOUD, when ever color demands your attention, taking lo-fi approach is quite possibly your best option. This was the idea that sparked the Bearded Brothers branding. Keep it simple, “the more simplistic the better” were the words a mentor scribbled on a Moleskine journal page! We maintain the same philosophy when creating products too. Keep it simple!

If you found this post insightful or plan on launching your own food business in 2015 you may want to sign up for my Food Launcher email list, and be the first to know when my new site launches (March 2015). Food Launcher will focus on inspiring food entrepreneurs and providing valuable information to help you get your product to market.

Food Launcher Coming in March 2015

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It’s a new year, which means new goals, new projects, and new adventures. I feel 2015 is going to shape up to be an awesome year for me. I have decided to take on a big personal project, a side business if you will. The project is going to be called Food Launcher. Food Launcher is going to be a website/blog dedicated to helping startup food businesses get their project off the ground.

I haven’t decided for certain what all the site will have, but rest assured the site will be full of useful content for aspiring food entrepreneurs, such as blog posts, interviews, podcasts, and even a valuable ebook. This project is starting out of my own desire to help other aspiring food businesses launch and get their product to market. I remember vividly still all the frustrations and struggles I faced when starting Bearded Brothers. My goal is that Food Launcher will make it MUCH easier for new food businesses to launch.

So with that said, please sign up for my email list and you will be the first to know when Food Launcher goes live!

Follow the 10% rule for creating products and services

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If you are looking to start a business there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. You just have to make it better. 10% better to be exact. Why not develop something completely new that nobody has ever seen before? Because, the market is not proven, and there is a huge consumer education factor you would have to over come.

New products hit the market every day, and most of them are just an improvement on an existing product. Take the Pebble Watch for example; they took your everyday watch and mixed it with smart phone capabilities. Even iPhone wasn’t that revolutionary, but it was exactly a product I wished existed. When iPhone first came out I carried to work every day: a PDA, a cell phone, and an iPod. Apple simply combined the three devices into one. Thank you, Apple!

When I launched Bearded Brothers, A Wholesome Snackfood Company that makes organic energy bars; I wasn’t looking to re-invent the energy bar. I simply sought to improve on what I saw was missing from bars on the market: great taste, raw, unprocessed, gluten & soy free, and organic. We even eventually switched our wrapper to a compostable one.

The 10% rule even applies to those offering a service or software product. Take career coaches for example. They are a dime a dozen. What is going to set you apart from the next guy is the value you offer. Many times it will come down to personal preference, but as long as you are offering something that somebody will see as more valuable you are setting yourself up for a win.

Creating and launching new products doesn’t have to be that difficult. You don’t have to spend years doing research and development, especially in markets that are already proven. Just follow the 10% rule, make a product that is at least 10% better than the competition and you stand a good chance at competing with the big guys in competitive markets.

My three favorite Austin based companies

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Kammok LogoIf you are looking to start a business, Austin is a great place to launch from. The city is full of entrepreneurs. Even though a lot of those new businesses are tech related, there are also several amazing consumer packaged good companies started out of Austin, including my own company, Bearded Brothers.

Tech companies are a dime a dozen, but entrepreneurs producing tangible products are far fewer, so if you plan on starting a business for the world’s next greatest widget then Austin, Texas is a great place to launch from. They city is full of like minded entrepreneurs, which makes for a great pool of friends to draw from for support and encouragement.

Since starting Bearded Brothers I have meet the owners of several other companies. All of them have interesting and inspiring stories. Below is a list of my three favorite Austin based companies in the consumer packaged goods market.

Kammok
Kammok makes the most comfortable and easy to use hammock you will ever lay in. Prior to meeting these guys and trying out their product I could care less about hammocks, but now I love my Kammok.

Kammok is a 1% For The Planet member, and they donate their 1% of total sales to CTC International, as well as helping children receive life saving treatments through Malaria No More. Their mission is to Equip and Inspire for Life Changing Adventure.

SPIbelt
The world’s first, and best Small Personal Item Belt. Developed by Austin local Kim Overton to solve the problem of not having a good place to store keys while running. After her, “there has to be a better way” epiphany, she created the first SPIbelt: a small no bounce waist belt to hold small personal items such as keys and cell phones.

Her company has strong local roots. In the early days of her company she provided jobs to people in the local community that allowed them to work from home producing the belts. Kim has since moved her production process to a warehouse close to downtown, but still provides jobs for people in the local community.

Chameleon Cold-Brew
This is hands down the best cold brew coffee on the super market shelves. Started by the owners of Bennu Coffee as a side project, this small company is taking off like wild fire, and now has its product on the shelves of Target in the Southwest Region. While Chameleon is still fairly small, they are available across the nation in select stores.

I have had the pleasure to meet both of the owners, and both are very generous and always willing to talk business and offer advice. Chameleon and Bearded Brothers actually recently attended Expo West in Anaheim California and were just two both spaces down from each other!


There are many other amazing companies in Austin, making it an excellent place to start a business. The community here is very supportive of local products, making it easier to get your business off the ground by getting support from the people you live closest to.

Although you will find the cost of living in Austin quite a bit higher than a lot of places, the trade off is worth it for the community of like-minded entrepreneurs you will have access to. If you are thinking of starting a consumer packaged goods business, Austin is the place!

Tips for building brand recognition without spending much money – Part 4 of 4

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Momentum builds

When you first start your business the small things you do will seem frivolous, it will seem like you aren’t getting any traction, but brand awareness takes time. A person might not necessarily try your product the first time they see it, but if they see it repeatedly, they will become more likely to try your product.

We are now at the point where we a lot of people say, “Oh I have seen these before, I have been wanting to try them.” We hear it at demos, and we see it in conversations on Twitter. Repeated brand exposure is the key to building momentum, and you don’t need millions of dollars to spend on TV commercials to accomplish that.

Good ol’ grass roots marketing is far more powerful than you think. It just takes a bit longer to achieve national exposure, than blasting a commercial over multiple television networks, but even in today’s age with Tivo, commercials are getting overlooked. Plus, word of mouth, personal recommendations are going to have far more value than a print ad or television spot.

Build and army (Social Media, continued)

Over time we have built relationships with individuals through social media; many of them athletes, some health nuts, and a few musicians. In exchange for them getting free product from us, they shout from the rooftops how much they love our stuff. Through that messaging we have gained lots of loyal supporters that not only purchase our product from us, but also help us spread the word of how much they love Bearded Brothers bars.

Bearded Brothers has an army of sorts, defending and touting our name on social networks like Twitter and Instagram. It’s one of many ways people discover our products: various health and fitness related blogs is another. We achieve this in two ways. The pro-active way of achieving this is recruiting brand “ambassadors” that we send free product to in exchange for mentions on social medial, and in personal life. These are not paid sponsorships, they are real people that love our product, and would likely still be doing the same thing, even if we didn’t send them free stuff.

The second way to build an army is passively…let the recruits come to you. Just being present on social media networks gives people the opportunity to toot their praises to the masses about your product or service, especially if you are active and engaging on those networks. It’s also important that every single person that sends you a praise gets replied to (same is true with criticisms). This lets them know you are listening and that you care.


Once the train starts picking up steam, it’s hard to stop. There have been days recently I actually worry about how much momentum we are picking up. Just yesterday I opened up Instagram to see Bearded Brothers tagged in an image taken out of a page of Details magazine that featured our tasty Mighty Maca Chocolate bar. It just goes to show that consistent hard work will pay of exponentially.

Speaking of Twitter and Instagram, you can follow myself, and Bearded Brothers on the following accounts:
Twitter: @calebsimpson
Instagram: @calebsimpson
Twitter: @BeardedBros
Instagram: @BeardedBros

Part 1 of 4 (Social Media, Facebook)
Part 2 of 4 (Tell your story)
Part 3 of 4 (Think like a drug dealer)