Focus on reviews. With the internet so accessible and relied upon, make sure that you go after the channels like Amazon to control your reviews. While you might be able to use Amazon as a sales channel, being able to own the product pages, reviews, and customer interactions is almost as important. Nearly 65% of people will check Amazon for reviews or price before buying in a brick and mortar store.
As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Daniel Doll, CEO of Bushwick Kitchen.
Bushwick Kitchen serves up finger-licking, flavor-addicting sauces and condiments for every kitchen creative and foodie looking to elevate their meals or share a unique culinary gift with friends and family. The bespoke line of honeys, maple syrups and sriracha provide a unique flare to kitchen staples by infusing them with hand-picked, flavor-packed ingredients like gochujang chili paste to revamp ordinary taste to make extraordinary pairings. CEO Daniel Doll oversees Bushwick Kitchen and all of its operations.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up I always dreamed of being a lawyer. Who would have thought that I would be creating sauces and condiments!? When I got to college at American University I decided that I would enroll in a few business classes in addition to my law classes and fell in love with the idea and path of small business. I ended up adding a Business Administration major and writing a business plan with a partner for my first consumer packaged goods brand as a project my senior year. Since then, I have been involved in consumer goods which provided a logical foray into Bushwick Kitchen.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think I need to write a book on all of the mistakes that I have made over the years- I don’t even know where to start. In my first CPG business, a soap company, we went through about 7 packaging iterations to land on where we are today. Thankfully that experience led us to recognize the excellent branding that Bushwick Kitchen had from the start, and know that we had something special from the beginning of working with the founding team.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I think the number one thing that makes use stick out is our approach to the categories that we play in. We want to change the way that consumers think about their product. Instead of using sauces and condiments to finish dishes, we want to empower our consumers to create brand new and innovative dishes and drinks AROUND the sauces and condiments. Changing that script breeds culinary exploration, and I think a strong foodie passion behind our brand.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! We are working on a couple of very exciting products. We recently launched a Curry Sriracha and a Super Spicy Gochujang Sriracha (a spicier version of our original). We are also launching some newly re-vamped gift sets, and some special limited released SKUs for Q4 ☺
Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
I think that in a lot of ways, both are related and complimentary. I view product marketing as a more tactical version of marketing that drive consumers towards a decision point (in our case believe that our product would be delicious enough to add to their regiment of sauces, or to gift to a friend or family member) and answers a specific need state online or at shelf. For example, if you are shopping for a new hot sauce you might care less about the brand of the sauce, and look for the reviews, photos of dishes, or check out the social for inspiration.
In a complimentary way, brand marketing strives more to envelope consumers into a specific ideology or positioning, trying to convert and retain consumers into YOUR sauce, versus the competitor they might have purchased the last time.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
In my opinion, there is certainly a place in the market for one of products without the support of a brand. However, when it comes to growth and scale, cementing a brand that people can be passionate about is so critical to long-term success and value creation.
At the end of the day, there is very little that truly different most products categories from other competitors in the category. An example I love is Yeti, the cooler company. The argument can be made that the world definitely didn’t need another cooler or tumbler. But Yeti brilliantly carved a premium niche in a stale category and they were the only brand positioned to fill that niche. To think that you would see trucks with Yeti stickers on them because they are that passionate about their…cooler? Such an amazing case-study into the power of building a rock-solid brand and cult-like following.
Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each. In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
- Start with design. It is the first impression that a customer will have of the brand
- Create a memorable look that someone can remember your brand by. It could be a design feature, a jingle, a mnemonic, etc.
- Build your cost in such a way that you can afford to heavily market or discount to launch the product. The individual strategies will vary by brand but give yourself the ability. If you don’t need to for your brand to be successful, you just make higher margins.
- Focus on reviews. With the internet so accessible and relied upon, make sure that you go after the channels like Amazon to control your reviews. While you might be able to use Amazon as a sales channel, being able to own the product pages, reviews, and customer interactions is almost as important. Nearly 65% of people will check Amazon for reviews or price before buying in a brick and mortar store.
- Momentum is everything, and it works both ways. Structure your marketing tactics so that the impact compounds. People love to support brands with positive momentum. Investors like to invest in companies with positive momentum. When you are in that wave, think creatively about other tactics you can use to continue the trend.
In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?
I think the success of each marketing campaign should be judged by the intent of that campaign. In most cases, sales growth is the number one metric. But I think there are a lot of example of campaigns that don’t look at sales as the primary motivator. It could be to get the attention of a competitor, build consumer aware ness of the brand, build trial- in all of those cases, sales might be an effect long-term, but is a bit distant from the marketing campaign to prove a direct sales related ROI.
What role does social media play in your branding efforts?
2020 is a banner year for exactly this. There were/are so many positions that brands needed to take a stance on in 2020 (COVID-19, BLM, Pride to name a few) and customers were looking to social media to see if the brand they trust share the same beliefs.
It is also an incredible way for us to educate consumers with the multitude of ways to use our products, and highlight chefs, culinary creatives, and bartenders that are using our products in new and different ways.
What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
Take time off. I am probably the worst one to follow my own advice, but I think it is crucial. Stepping away from anything- a task, business, marketing initiative- almost always results in a fresh perspective. You always hear about people dreaming up their best ideas on a napkin, in their dreams, or in the shower. There is a reason for that. Give yourself the space to step back, reflect, and move forward with innovation faster.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
There are so many important causes in the world today worthy of a lifetime of dedication and movements. I think for me, I would center my efforts around eliminating extreme poverty and hunger.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I am the worst at quotes, to be honest. Way back in the beginning of my entrepreneurial career, a gentleman named Harvey gave me and my business partner a framed piece of art with two words on it- “Not Yet.” It seems trivial, but you can apply that phrase to so many moments of your journey. “Should I give up on this business?” Not Yet. “Is the marketing message truly resonating with consumers?” Not Yet “Have I created every possible dish with my Sriracha?” Not Yet.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
There are so many people that I have admiration and respect for, for their ethics, business prowess and innovation. I would love to share a lunch with Scooter Braun, Ashton Kutcher, or
How can our readers follow you on social media?
We would love to have you join the family @bushwick_kitchen on IG or at bushwickkitchen.com. Thank you!