In one of the recent episodes of the Startup 107 podcast I had Jim Simon on the podcast, Jim is the founder of Jimmybars, I was curious about his take on branding and marketing in the CPG industry, Here is how the conversation went
How to approach Marketing in the CPG industry ?
Jim: I think, take the personality of its founder. If the founder is a woman and she is a chef and she has a particular take on how to eat, focus on that. If a founder is a person who is an NCAA ten-time champion in weightlifting and he or she is passionate about weightlifting, passionate about high protein focus there. I think it’s just focusing on whoever you are, whoever the founder is should be the focus of the marketing.
A lot of companies have done it really well. Sometimes you can always tell with a brand that’s disingenuous where the founder might be 200 pounds overweight. But he’s always talking about dieting, that’s sort of disingenuous. But you have to live the brand. You have to be the brand. And if you’re looking at it as a music metaphor, look at Nirvana 30 years ago. And what they always said about Kurt Kobain, He was his fan. The reason why his music resonated is that he was the guy in the stand screaming. He looked acted exactly like all his fans. And it just worked.
Other brands have done the same. Like Amy’s and Annie’s, two brands I really respect. They live it and other clothing brands, too. Take the example of Richard Branson. When people think of Virgin and they think of wild, crazy, fun, adventurous. That’s him. He’s my favorite entrepreneur. You think of Elon Musk. You think of really smart, quirky, interesting, big thinking. That’s him. That’s his brand. And so you got to be your brand and you got to live it and don’t lie. And as far as the packaging goes, don’t underestimate whatsoever. How important packaging is? It’s got to be pretty. It’s got to pop. And don’t be like everyone else
How to approach branding in the CPG industry
Jim: We took a different approach, and that is starting with our rappers. I always looked at the rappers of some of our competitors. And again, without calling out names, I don’t want to diss anybody, but if you look at most of the wrappers at bars, it’ll say whatever the bar name is, and it’ll have a great looking picture of pumpkin pie or chocolate mousse cake or cookies and cream with an Oreo dunked in milk. And it looks amazing. From the wrapper on, it doesn’t look like that. There aren’t cookies in it. It doesn’t smell like that, and it doesn’t taste like that.
So from day one, I said, I want to kind of be the honest guy. So we made our wrappers. We used light blue, which is my favorite color and which for the past 100 years, light blue and blue have always been thought of as an appetite suppressant in the world of food and has been a no, no. So right off the bat, we said, Screw it. Let’s do something different and shake it up a little bit. We went blue. Now people refer to it as Jimmy Bar Blue.
It’s a pretty light blue color. It sticks out from everyone else. And then we didn’t do the whole fake cookie thing. What we have now on our Sam’s Club box is a picture of our real bar, which I paid way too much for to take a picture of the best photographer in Chicago with all our strawberries and blueberries and peanuts and real stuff that’s in the real bar without the nonsense of having a picture of a strawberry shortcake or a strawberry cheesecake, which it doesn’t look like it tastes like.
So we kind of took a more realistic approach. We also use humor. So if you look at a lot of our ads, we’re constantly at least trying to be funny. We think we’re funny. We’re probably not that funny, but, yeah, sports, nutrition, and bars take themselves really seriously. Even the names take themselves really seriously. We don’t. Our name is Jimmy Barr. My company was named by my then eight-year-old niece. We don’t take ourselves that seriously. We take the product seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously.