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Lessons in brand building from 3 of Faire’s fastest-growing wholesalers

April 11, 2024 | Published by Faire

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A brand’s memorable look and story can be hugely powerful—for instance, we all know Nike’s instantly recognizable swoosh and Apple’s minimalistic fruit. But for smaller or newer brands, carving out a niche and building a cohesive narrative for their company can feel a little daunting. This article will help you get clear on your mission and learn how to set yourself apart from the crowd. 

To get expert advice straight from the source, we asked our three fastest-growing wholesalers for their most actionable advice:

  • LesserEvil, maker of clean, healthy, and environmentally friendly snacks
  • Cure Hydration, purveyor of premium electrolyte drink mixes
  • Bite, producer of clean, plastic- and cruelty-free personal-care products

Leaders from each joined us at the recent Expo West trade show to discuss brand building and how cementing their who, what, and why has been pivotal to their growth. 

💡 What do we mean when we say “brand building”? 

Caitlin Mack, director of brand and digital marketing at LesserEvil, sums it up perfectly: “It’s about finding your thing and what’s going to make you stand out.” What makes your company different from a competitor? Why would someone choose your product over another? The answers to these questions can help define the value you bring to a marketplace.

Identify your ideal customer and home in

“You don’t have to be everything to everyone,” says Mack. Instead of trying to cast a wide net, home in on a specific audience that really gets you and who you can build a deep relationship with. 

Visibility is key when growing a brand. The more people who see you, the higher the chances are of reaching potential customers. Where does your audience spend time? What are their hobbies? “There are a lot of great consumer-visibility options and benefits of being in places you wouldn’t necessarily think about,” says Mack. 

In addition to promoting its products on Faire, LesserEvil also partners with local coffee shops, where patrons might be enticed to buy a new snack. “It’s a really fun way to program awareness and continue to grow the brand,” says Mack. 

On social media, working with influencers in your niche gives you access to a pre-built trusting audience—regardless of how many followers you have. “If you’re starting from zero, influencers are the way to go,” says Lindsay McCormick, founder and CEO of Bite. “Don’t worry about not having 100,000 followers. You just need 200 followers that like your brand, so don’t be intimidated by the big numbers.” 

Figure out what makes your company unique

Standing out in a sea of competitors is tough, which is why you should focus on what makes your company special. What are you offering that no one else is? What problem are you solving?

For LesserEvil, it was all about finding the middle ground between health and nostalgia. “There’s a trend of using a familiar format in a more useful way,” says Mack. For example, taking highly processed foods like pizza or bagels and creating a version that’s healthier and cleaner for the environment. Millennials and Gen Zers grew up with these comfort foods and are hungry for a better option. 

Live your values out loud

Practicing what you preach establishes trust and credibility. Make sure your customers know what your brand is all about. “Our main thing is sustainability first,” says McCormick. “I think a lot of marketing assumes customers aren’t smart, and we did the exact opposite. The customer cares, so make sure you explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and the passion will come through.” 

She adds that no brand should be afraid of clearly explaining why their product is different or better. Aligning your brand with your mission means you’ll resonate with customers who care about what you’re doing—and, ultimately, this will lead to more sales and a loyal fan base. 

The customer cares, so make sure you explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and the passion will come through.

Lindsay McCormick, founder and CEO, Bite

“We’re a certified B-Corp,” says McCormick. “We give back a portion of profits. We do beach cleanups, and we put a lot of power behind educating on the importance of our daily habits.” 

Lauren Picasso, founder and CEO of Cure Hydration, promotes a similar line of thinking. “Our formula is based on the science of the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution, which has dozens of clinical studies to prove its efficacy. We also work closely with our medical advisory board to develop our unique product formulations,” she says. “It’s always been a really important part of our brand to demonstrate the best product ingredients.”

Make a product you’re proud to promote 

Prioritize quality and customer satisfaction to build a brand shoppers love. “You can have the most sustainable product in the world, but if it doesn’t taste good or doesn’t work, no one’s going to buy it or support it,” says McCormick. Dig into data and trends to find what consumers are looking for and use that to influence your product development. 

“There’s a lot more demand for clean ingredients,” says Picasso, which has fueled the brand’s mission to use only natural ingredients. 

We’re finding there’s a need to make products that are familiar and consumers know and love in a way that’s a lot healthier for them.

Caitlin Mack, director of brand and digital marketing, LesserEvil

It’s a similar story for LesserEvil: “We’re finding that there’s a need to make products that are familiar and consumers know and love in a way that’s a lot healthier for them,” says Mack. 

McCormick suggests something she calls “vendor counseling.” She speaks to local zero-waste shops to ask what they like and dislike about certain products and how Bite can make its version better. By getting real feedback from an informed audience, she can keep iterating on her products and making them more and more satisfying to use over time. 

Balance pricing against value 

Price is a priority for consumers, but top brands know how to strategically balance their pricing with the value they offer. “We’re always looking for what’s best for the consumers,” says Mack. “But we keep price top of mind because we want to make sure that if we’re adding all these benefits, it’s not costing the consumer.” 

Consider what the price you set for your products says about your brand values, the audience you’re trying to attract, and your bottom line. For Cure, an accessible price point has always been key. “Despite having premium branding and clean ingredients, we’re priced very competitively,” says Picasso.

Cure is also one of the only hydration brands that’s FSA eligible, which makes the product accessible since consumers can buy it tax-free. “We want everyone to be able to purchase the product. It’s about inclusive wellness.” 

Final thoughts 

Your brand can become a powerful tool that communicates your company’s story and sets you apart from the competition. By prioritizing quality and customer satisfaction, sharing your values, and defining what makes your company special, you can start building a memorable and dependable brand. 

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