Packaging is required to sell your brand. Wouldn’t it be great if your packaging could work as hard as you to increase sales and profits? Creative strategies that any brand can leverage to connect more with shoppers that retailers will love! 

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Hello and thank you for joining us today. This is the Brand Secrets and Strategies Podcast #171

Welcome to the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast where the focus is on empowering brands and raising the bar.

I’m your host Dan Lohman. This weekly show is dedicated to getting your brand on the shelf and keeping it there.

Get ready to learn actionable insights and strategic solutions to grow your brand and save you valuable time and money.


Confused about compostable packing? Wish you knew how to turn it into a profit center for your brand. If so then stay tuned!

Welcome, you've created a product that's going to revolutionize the category and disrupt the way people think about healthy eating. You put all your love, sweat, and energy Into creating a product that's going to change the world but then you're forced to put it into a package that doesn't align with your product. You're forced to choose packaging that doesn't align with your mission and everything your brand stands for. You're forced to use packaging that will live in a landfill for many generations. If only there was a better alternative. Well there is and that's the focus of today's show.

Compossible packaging is one of the most confusing topics in this industry. I attend a lot of trade shows and industry events. This is the biggest pain point brands share with me. Would you like to un-complicate composable packaging? Would you like top know how you can leverage it to sustainably grow your brand? That’s what today’s show is about. Today you’ll get your most pressing compostable packaging questions answered by the leading industry expert.

Composable packaging is something that is very near and dear to my heart because I too want to reduce the impact of waste on our planet. More importantly, my mission is to teach natural brands creative strategies to help get your product on more store shelves and into the hands of more shoppers. Packaging is the most overlooked asset you have when it comes to your go-to-market strategy. Kelly has been a huge help making this complex topic simple and easy to understand.

Let's face it retail is expensive, it's pay to play. Small disruptive brands are at a significant competitive disadvantage. Over 80% of natural brands fail within the first year - I'm committed to change it. This requires that you adopt strategies that differentiate your brand and give you a significant competitive advantage. This requires that you stay away from the cookie-cutter strategies your competitors rely on.

Everything is negotiable, especially in this industry. What retailers want more than anything are loyal committed shoppers that return time and time again, more customers in their stores, a competitive advantage in their market, and a reasonable profit. Any brand that can help retailers achieve this can leverage it to get better shelf placement, more promotional support, and better merchandising. Retailers what and need your help to stand out in their market.

Savvy retailers already know how well your brand is performing on their shelves. What they need are insights, actionable insights, that they don't get from your competitors. This begins with your packaging.

As always, I want to thank you for listening. This show is about you and it's for you. In appreciation for your time, there’s a free downloadable guide for you at the end of every episode. I always include one, easy to download, quick to digest strategy that you can instantly adopt and make your own. One you can use to grow sustainable sales and compete more effectively with.

Don't forget to go back and listen to previous episodes where I may answer some of your most pressing questions - the things that keep you up at night. If you liked this episode, share with your friends and subscribe so you’ll be the first to get new brand-building content as soon as it becomes available.

Remember the goal here is to get your products onto more store shelves and into the hands of more shoppers - including online.

Your packaging makes a statement about your brand. In some cases, your packaging is your brand. it should work as hard as you do to attract shoppers and drive profitable sales in the category. This is focus of all my content which includes several collaborations with my good friend Kelly Williams of Natures Flex on my podcasts, mini-courses, and YouTube videos. I’ll be certain to put a link to those resources on the podcast webpage and in the show notes. You’ll want to check them out.

As you listen to the different podcast episodes you routinely hear me talk about how the customer that your brand drives into a retail store is far more important to the retailer than the ingredients in your product. This is not to make light of your product, the simple reality is that retailers are in business to make a profit and they rely heavily on the customer that your brand drives into their store. Keep this in mind as you develop your go to market strategy and as you work to partner with retailers. Put a different way, the more you can help them achieve what they want, the more they'll help you achieve what you want which includes incremental opportunities to grow and scale your brand. That's the focus of this podcast and all my content.

So how does this work? As I mentioned, retail is pay to play. The industry teaches you that you need to focus on your sales velocity alone when assessing the performance of your brand. Not only is that not true but it can be very misleading. Let me explain.

Big brands with deep pockets can buy velocity in the form of deep discounts, low prices, and lots of promotions. As a small brand, that is out of your reach as it should be. You should never try to compete on price or use the same strategies big brands rely on. The harsh reality is that big brands are struggling to grow sales while at the same time small brands are responsible for all the sustainable growth across every category and every channel. This is something that I proved and the feature article I wrote for the 2016 Category Management Handbook. I'll put a link to it in the show notes and on the podcast webpage.

The key findings in the article identified that organic, gluten-free, plant-based, Non-GMO, etc was responsible for the sustainable growth across every category and in the absence of those products everything would be flat or declining.

Let me use organic to highlight this. Total all outlet dairy sales were up 1.5% while organic sales were up 12.1%. Organic dairy represented only 9.8% of the multibillion dollar category. when organic dairy was removed, total dairy sales were only a .5%. The same is true across every category.

The point is this, the customer that understands and appreciates the value of your product is the customer that's going to do more to drive profitable sales at retail. In addition to that the customer that buys organic, in this example, will also buy organic across other categories thus that customer is more valuable to the retailer at checkout this is called their Market Basket.

So how does this apply to your packaging? Shoppers today want to feel good about the products they purchase and a big part of that is your packaging. Shoppers today want products that do not contribute to the landfill. The challenges that there is a lot of confusion around composability and what that means. The harsh reality is that most single use packaging ends up in the landfill even though its composable. This is extremely disheartening especially to natural brands.

Consider this. If a shopper has a choice between two similar products they will choose the product that best aligns with what matters to them. This includes your packaging. If your product has backyard compostable packaging and your competitors does not, they might be more inclined to buy yours. They might be more inclined to buy the product that is committed to reduce their impact on landfills.

A big reason for this is at the industry doesn't really have a good strategy at this point to handle composable packaging - it's simply not cost effective. While I could go on and on about this I highly recommend that you check out some of the content that I created with my good friend Kelly Williams that highlights this and why it matters. In the mini courses and on the YouTube channel you can see the slides that Kelly uses to illustrate why this matters and what you need to be thinking about as you develop your packaging strategy. I'll put links to those in the podcast and YouTube videos in the show notes and on the podcast webpage.

Another thing Kelly talks about a lot are creative strategies that you can use to leverage your packaging as a profit center. Imagine having packaging work as hard as you do to sell your brand, wouldn't that be great?

There are a lot of creative ways to do this but before we explore that, at the heart of this technology is the ability to personalize each package. Yes, you heard me right. You can personalize each package.

One of the key sales drivers for customers is personalization. Customers want products that speak to their individual needs. Customers want what they want when they want it and brands that can deliver on that are the brands that are going to have a distinct competitive advantage in the future.

When you have the ability to customize the packaging you can also have links back to your website help educate customers about your brand, your brand mission, and encourage them to participate in your brand community. You can also leverage your packaging strategy to reward loyal shoppers thus improving your trade promotion ROI - what you spend to grow your brand. This is a topic I'll go into great depth in in future podcast episodes.

Another creative strategy is that you could create custom packaging for a specific event or even a specific event at a specific retailer. You could Co-promote your product with another brand or even leverage your packaging for special incentive programs that build brand or mission awareness and grow sales.

I remember when I worked for Kimberly Clark that we had a NASCAR that we would paint the retailers logo on for different events in different cities. This was extremely popular, especially in the South. These promotions were extremely successful and the cobranding with the retailer did a lot to drive incremental sales to the brand as well as the retailer. It was a win-win for both of us. Imagine being able to do something similar in your local community with your local retailer.

You truly are limited by your imagination when it comes to unique and disruptive strategies to leverage your packaging to help drive traffic to your brand and to your retail partners. It all begins with giving shoppers what they want making it easy for them to get excited about your brand and what you stand for.

I’ll include links to all packaging related content on the podcast webpage and in the show notes.

Today’s free guide is How To Get On More Store Shelves. This sill give you several key strategies you can use to get your brand on more store shelves and into the hands of more shoppers.

You can get it by going to

Here’s the question of the day. How do you leverage your packaging to build brand awareness and drive sales? What strategies would you use if you could customize and personalize your packaging. Leave your comments below. I read every one.

Thanks you for listening and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

Thanks again for joining us today. Make sure to stop over at for the show notes along with more great brand building articles and resources. Check out my free course Turnkey Sales Story Strategies, your roadmap to success. You can find that on my website or at Please subscribe to the podcast, leave a review, and recommend it to your friends and colleagues.

Sign up today on my website so you don’t miss out on actionable insights and strategic solutions to grow your brand and save you valuable time and money.

I appreciate all the positive feedback. Keep your suggestions coming.

Until next time, this is Dan Lohman with Brand Secrets and Strategies where the focus is on empowering brands and raising the bar.

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