Business

19366389_1191439684298560_4373227877585476462_n

Growing Pains & Gains: Making Progress on Fuegorita

Creating a consumer brand from the ground up has been one of the most challenging (and exciting) endeavors of my marketing career. Finally, the opportunity to practice what I preach, for the cobbler’s children to get some shoes, and so on.

No one said getting a food product to market was easy. Most of the food consultants we’ve met say it’s at minimum a $300K endeavor to get onto store shelves. Even then, we’ll be on the hook for the inventory until the time it crosses the scanner. It will take years, not months to get into market. We think the trouble is worth it…here’s why.

First, and most importantly, Fuegorita is a good product. For those who like crushed red pepper but find it’s never quite spicy enough, we’ve solved that problem! Our secret formula is the perfect blend of heat and flavor and can be used for cooking and on top of prepared foods. Furthermore, there’s currently there is no branded dry pepper product in a sea of hot sauce brands. If you want crushed red pepper at a restaurant what brand do you call for? Answer: Fuegorita!

For all intents and purposes, Fuegorita is still at the starting line. It’s only available online, but we have loyal customers and we’re making solid progress across the board. In lieu of doing farmers markets, and to further connect this project to my marketing endeavors, we have decided to promote at technology events around LA and have been featured at Youngry, 805 Startups and a pop-up shop at West Elm in Santa Monica. We have also employed the services of UCM Innovative PR, the student run agency at my alma mater, University of Central Missouri

This year we received our registered trademark, secured our bar codes and have updated our packaging accordingly. We invested in new inventory, solidified our supply chain relationships and have a solid handle on the volume of orders that will be required for us to grow into larger co-packing relationships. We now have prototype bottles for pizza restaurants and are enlisting them in store promotions and feedback on how best to merchandise at pizza shops and other restaurants. Finally, we will be introducing our second product before year’s end, demonstrating to retailers that we’re not a one-trick pony — in fact, we have an entire product line planned to make the foods you love hotter.

All that’s left now is distribution and marketing — you know, the easy stuff! 😉

0
2011_typographic_wallpaper_rgb_by_yurik86-d304sqq

2011 year-end update

Readers, Followers, Friends & Colleagues,

A year after launching Winders Consulting Group, the new year is a perfect time to reflect on progress and, more importantly, to thank the clients who made 2011 a banner year. My typical engagements have been as “CMO-for-hire” for marketing technology and Internet companies looking to increase awareness and sales through more effective market positioning strategies and creative, cost-effective and accountable marketing and communication programs.

One personal highlight has been the opportunity to stretch beyond my expertise in digital marketing technology to gain valuable experience in cause marketing, clean tech and social media. The diversity of my work has also afforded me the rare opportunity to experience firsthand several different business models, systems, processes, styles and philosophies, and to both affect and learn from how founders and CEOs deal with a wide range of challenges.

Below is a summary of my recent projects, including links to my volunteer work with Room to Read and the Digital Family Reunion, an annual holiday event I co-host for the technology community in Los Angeles. I plan to feature more tech startups and great marketing campaigns on “Winders on the Web” in the coming months, so please let me know if there are companies you think I should profile.

It would be great to connect and explore how we can collaborate in 2012. Until then, happy new year!

Thank you to these great companies who I have had the sincere pleasure to advise, collaborate with and learn from throughout 2011:

CanaryVoice applications turn collections of voice messages to into digital greetings that can be shared online to celebrate occasions, express opinions and preserve treasured memories.

Causecast delivers technology to engage employees and activate consumers with timely and relevant CSR information and nonprofit donation and volunteer opportunities.

Fanzila is a social media management platform for Facebook and the web, with applications, analytics and CRM features that engage consumers and create valuable marketing opportunities for small businesses and brands.

Rocket Fuel makes digital advertising work better for brands by combining the best of DSPs and networks with advanced response prediction technology.

Fraser Communications is a full-service advertising agency providing integrated solutions for the healthcare, environmental, nutrition, banking and automotive industries.

Digital Family Reunion is an annual holiday networking event for LA’s diverse technology community.

Room to Read partners with local communities throughout the developing world to provide quality educational opportunities by establishing libraries, creating local language children’s literature, constructing schools, and providing education to girls.

0

Bocce Gets Hip in West LA

bocceblitz1Who knew Beach Bocce was so cool? Apparently it’s the new thing to do in Los Angeles these days, and will catch a big wave on October 2 as Bocce Blitzkrieg comes to the Santa Monica Pier for a great cause. I’ve been volunteering with communication efforts for the Room to Read chapter in LA. If you’re interested, this will be a fun way to learn more about RTR and meet a diverse group of individuals who support its global mission to support literacy and equality in education in the developing world. I’ve posted the press release below for LA chapter members (or anyone else) to help spread the word.  

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Allison Wilson 213-925-9633

Event Contact: Dominic Bernacchi, 310-664-4530

BOCCE BLITZKRIEG STORMS SANTA MONICA PIER WITH LOS ANGELES’ FIRST BEACH BOCCE BALL TOURNAMENT TO BENEFIT ROOM TO READ

Registration is now open, with all ages and skill levels invited to experience bocce while making a direct impact on literacy in the developing world.

Santa Monica, Calif. (September 16, 2010) – Los Angeles’ first-ever Beach Bocce Ball Tournament will hit the sand on Saturday, October 2, with all proceeds to benefit Room to Read and its fight for global literacy and gender equality in education.

 when Los Angeles’ first-ever Beach Bocce Ball Tournament comes to the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday, October 2. All proceeds will benefit Room to Read and its fight for global literacy and gender equality in education.  The all-day event is open to the public and will begin at 9 a.m. in the sand near the northern corner of Santa Monica Pier parking lot. Registration is now open, with entry categories for men, women and couples teams. Registration is $70 for teams of two.  The tournament will feature early round robin play funneling into brackets that will result in one team reigning as Beach Bocce Champions in each division. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to each and every bocce master.

Beach Bocce has been gaining in popularity in recent years, and can be enjoyed by competitors of all ages and all walks of life. The game is an adapted form of the traditional Italian ball game, played on the sand.

There will be just as much action off the sand, with games of skill open to everyone including Blindfolded Bocce, The Awesomely Accurate and the infamous Ball Handling competition. The Beach Bocce Blitzkrieg will also include special appearances by KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox and The Bocce King, “Giuseppe Napoli” as well as some of LA’s finest food trucks and an oasis from the heat of the competition provided in the Bud Light Beer Garden.

To register or make a donation to Room to Read in the name of Bocce Blitzkrieg, please visit http://www.bocceblitzkrieg.com.

###

About Room to Read

Room to Read is an innovative nonprofit leader dedicated to promoting and enabling global education. Founded in 2000, the organization is based on the belief that education is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty in the developing world. Since then, the organization has supported over three million children by providing better access to higher-quality educational opportunities. Room to Read has catalyzed the construction of more than 700 schools, established 7,000 bilingual libraries with 5 million books, and continues to support the education of nearly 7,000 girls. Room to Read is providing opportunities that change children’s lives and communities throughout Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia. By 2010, Room to Read hopes to improve literacy for 5 million children by establishing over 10,000 libraries and distributing close to 9 million children’s books. For more information visit our website at www.roomtoread.org.

About Room to Read Los Angeles Chapter

Room to Read chapters are comprised of dedicated individuals who have made a long-term volunteer commitment to promoting Room to Read within their networks and communities. Since 2006, the chapters have collectively helped source over one third of Room to Read’s operating budget and they have an equally ambitious goal for 2009. Currently Room to Read has 39 chapters in the U.S., Asia, Europe and Australia. Room to Read’s Los Angeles Chapter was launched in 2008 and to date has raised more than $250,000 toward Room to Read’s goal of reaching 5 million children by 2010.

0

10 things I wish I’d learned in college

UCMORecently I spoke to a group of undergrads in the communications school at my alma mater, the University of Central Missouri — something I always imagined doing but wasn’t sure how or when it would happen. As it turns out I was speaking at the Integrated Marketing Summit in Kansas City two days before UCM homecoming. I didn’t know what to expect when I reached out with an offer to share some insights from my career with the students, but the idea was warmly received by Tricial Hansen-Horn, public relations professor in the UCM Dept. of Communication.

My comments centered around things I’ve learned throughout my career that I would have like to have known sooner or felt would be relevant and helpful to these young people who are about to walk out of the halls of UCM and into the “real world” as I did nearly 20 years ago. 

Key points of my talk included:

  1. Learning to cut bait sooner and the art of saying “no” (including a rare public display of my “no card”)
  2. The art of “pitching,” the perception of public relations and the radical shifts in PR over the past 10 years
  3. The difference between product and service businesses and the importance of scale
  4. Partnerships and the value of imbalanced ownership 49/51%
  5. The importance of salesmanship and how to ask for (and get) what you want
  6. The importance of relationships and distinctions between friends and contacts
  7. Knowing what you want and creating a mission statement for your life 
  8. Why knowing yourself and your core values matters most
  9. The importance of learning to think critically
  10. Life is short, so thrive

While my talk was in the spirit of “giving back,” I did so knowing the fulfillment I would receive from doing it, something made even more meaningful by the feedback I’ve recived from both students and faculty who have followed up with me since then. The process was also cause for an introspective look at my career accomplishments, not judging good or bad, but rather taking a moment to reflect on several years of hard work and the value of those experiences. In sharing them I hope to have inspired a few of the students who turned out to hear me speak that rainy morning in October and that you too will consider doing the same and seeing what it does for you.

View my photos from UCM homecoming

0

The Economics of Online Entertainment

make_money_on_computerI’ve been thinking a lot about the economics of online entertainment lately, in part based on a June 15, 2009 LA Times article entitled ‘Hollywood hits the stop button on high-profile Web video efforts.” Despite many failed attempts at monetizing online entertainment content, ranging from DEN, Icebox and POP.com in the late 90s to Stage 9 Digital and 60Frames in recent months, I’m not convinced there isn’t a profitable model for making the studio model of the future a reality.

Whatever the successful combination, it is certain to be as complex and dynamic as the changing media landscape itself. It will include both traditional and yet untested advertising and sponsorship models, but it won’t be fully reliant on them either. It will include brave new brand extensions and cross-platform integration and ways to interact with audiences that result in them eagerly spending their hard earned money on e-commerce and subscriptions and engaging with sponsors.

It will also include strategies with no intent of directly driving revenue, but still being accountable to some other practical revenue stream — offline purchases, participation in events, engagement in online communities, etc. Or for large media carriers to support membership/subscription-based services and any myriad of other business objectives.

Making quality online entertainment content is hard, but building an audience for it from scratch is even harder. This reality has been part of what makes it difficult to monetize the emerging category of web video content with any scale. The model that works will include an innovative way for content producers to attract and retain large new audiences in a way that presents clear value for each of the key stakeholders: content creators, distributors  and consumers.

Many more layers of this oninion to be peeled in the weeks ahead I’m sure.

Speaking of identifying good online entertainment content, as a fan of Weeds, I was interested to learn from Tubefilter about University of Andy, a series of short videos in which Andy Botwin (played by Justin Kirk) lectures on various life skills that are not likely to be offered at the local community college, but are guaranteed to make you laugh.

0