Your success as a brand depends on every competitive advantage you have in your category. That begins with every competitive edge you have as a leader. The simple easy to adopt strategy to give you a distinct and sustainable competitive advantage

Your success as a brand depends on every competitive advantage you have in your category. That begins with every competitive edge you have as a leader. The simple easy to adopt strategy to give you a distinct and sustainable competitive advantage.



Hello and thank you for joining us today.  This is the Brand Secrets and Strategies Podcast #169

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.


Do you want to know what the secret is to gaining a significant competitive advantage? It’s something simple that anyone can do. That’s what this episode is about. Stay tuned! 

The key difference between brands that grow and thrive and those the struggle can usually be boiled down to something that is really simple. Something that anyone can master. It does not require any special software or training. It’s focus! 

This might sound overly simplified but it’s not. As a founder or entrepreneur you constantly have people begging for your time and attention. That in addition to the constant distractions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to remain laser focused. This is further complicated when you feel overwhelmed and when you are stressed - especially with emerging brands.  

You may feel like you are alone in this but I assure you are not. I work with a brands of all sizes from pre-revenue to multi-billion dollar brands and I hear this a lot. Even the big brands struggle with this. The primary difference for big brands is that they sometimes have small army’s dedicated solving problems - all working on a common objective. 

One strategy to handle this is to delicate. The challenge here is that some essentially advocate their rights or responsibility causing additional complications and issues. This is why I am a firm believer that every brand needs to own their strategies in-house and hot farm them out. I believe that you need to keep your hand firmly on the rudder of your ship and never effectively hand the keys of your brand to someone else. 

This does not mean that you refuse help, on the contrary.  This simply requires that you have a fundamental understanding of all the key important things you need to be focused on so that you can more effectively oversee the people that you intrust to help you. In my opinion, this is the best solution to help you grow and scale longterm. In fact, this can give you a sustainable competitive advantage - especially when it comes to making decisions on-the-go and reacting to incremental opportunities that others overlook. 

In podcast episode 164, Dustin and his wife Christina had only two weeks to prepare for their appearance on shark tank. The worked miracles to ensure that their website, sales funnels, and retailers could handle the increased sales. This is largely because they knew what needed to be dome and they were able to muscle the additional resources and help to make it happen.   

The best part about this solution is that in learning more about the different tasks that need to be performed you can gain additional insights on how things work. Those additional insights can help you more effectively manage those things that are most important to growing in scaling your business. This intern will make make you a better manager and a better leader. Here's why this matters. 

Before I go any further, 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.

On these shorter episodes there is a YouTube component where I might share visuals to help illustrate what I’m talking about so you’ll want to check them out. Don’t forget to subscribe and hit the like bell to be the first to get access to more brand-building content as soon as it becomes available.  

Now back to today’s story. 

One of the best examples of why this matters is being able to understand and interpret the insight from your reports. One of the things I find that most people struggle with is being able to identify actionable insights from the reports they use to understand key trends in the category and how their products are selling at retail. This is the focus of all my content, the podcast, the YouTube channel, and my on demand courses.

What I'm getting at specifically is that savvy retailers already know how your brand is performing on their shelves. They don't need another templated or canned topline report telling them what they already know. They need insights, actionable insights that other brands are not giving them.

Being able to read the reports yourself is critically important as an entrepreneur, owner, founder, or sales manager. This is perhaps the biggest gap I see in the industry. Most brands tend to use canned topline reports to assess their brands performance, to forecast future sales, manage their trade management ROI, and much more. The problem with this is that templated it or canned topline reports frequently mask or overlook the key insights that you need to be paying attention to. I have yet to see a canned topline report that accurately identifies who real shoppers buy your products. I cover this and why this matters on other podcast episodes.  

You should never try to compete on velocity alone. This is a huge mistake that I see most every brand making. What’s worse is this is what you’re taught by the industry. The simple truth is that brands with deep pockets can buy velocity. They can't artificially make their brand look really good on a ranking report while they pull profitable dollars out of the category. You need to know the difference between sales that are achieved through deep discounts and the impact of profitable sales on category growth. 

As a small brand there are other things that you should be paying attention too, for example contribution. How much contribution or profit does your brand contribute to the category and the retailer? Natural organic brands contribute more profit to category growth than their mainstream counterparts. This is especially true when you focus on the overall Market Basket - what consumers buy when your brand is in their shopping cart.

The thing that makes natural natural is that there are so many great resources available to help you learn how to read reports on your own, for example this podcast, YouTube channel, and my online courses.

You've probably heard me say that a talented category manager is worth their weight in gold. It's true! Throughout my career I've been able to return an exceptionally high ROI for many of the projects that I've contributed to. Understanding how to read and interpret data is at the core of everything I do and teach. This will help you maximize each and every selling  opportunity. These skills can be the difference between how long your brand will be around, a year, a decade, or longer.

For example, when you see a sales increase in one brand the first question you need to ask is why that happened. In other words where did those sales come from or which brand was cannibalized as a result. By understanding the impact of a promotion or a price reduction you can better understand the influence and the impact but has on your brand. Specifically, why did the shopper choose that brand over your brand? What motivated the shopper to make that decision? What influenced them? Is this something that they decided at shelf or did they plan on buying the discounted product anyhow?

The better able you are to read reports and identify key actionable insights the better your decision making will be as you're developing your growth strategy. More importantly, this will enable you to more effectively train and guide your internal and external sales team. 

Think about all the other things that you need to do as an entrepreneur for example sourcing ingredients for your product, finding the right people to support your brand, knowing which retail stores to launch in and in what order, and how to maximize an effective digital campaign to drive sales online and in traditional retail, and much much more.

Your success in any of these areas demands that you know what questions to ask and who can give you the best answers. When you know enough to ask the right questions you get better results. This is the key to effectively managing all the distractions so that you can remain laser focused on what matters most - getting your brand onto more store shelves and into the hands of more shoppers.

Commit to being a life long learner. Commit to doing more to grow and scale your brand that your competitors. Most pay lip service to this simple strategy. If you adopt and commit to it you will quickly outpace your competitors. This can give you a significant and sustainable competitive advantage. 

Thank you for listening. all include today's show notes on the podcast web page. Today's free downloadable guide is my How to get your brand on more store shelves. This simple guide will give you insights on how to get your products onto more store shelves and in into the hands more shoppers. You can get it on the show notes and on the podcast webpage and you can get there by going to Thank you for listening and look forwards to seeing you in the next episode.    

Now here’s the Question of the day. What do you do to differentiate your brand in a crowed category? Leave your answer below. I read them all.  

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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