The Brand Chefs’ Product Packaging

tbc_showcase_home2When small businesses want to compete with the “big boys” in their industries, being equipped with the right tools, knowledge, and skills is vital. The makeup of this arsenal has changed over the last few decades, however, and brands must be agile and future focused to remain competitive in such a crowded marketplace. Product packaging plays an integral role in raising brand awareness and boosting smaller companies to the forefront of their industry. Still, many entrepreneurs still view their product’s package as an afterthought, and it’s this mindset that can stifle or kill a brand before it even gets on its feet.

Patrick Mallek, creative veteran of the advertising industry and award-winning animator, knows a thing or two about boosting a brand’s reputation and credibility through the outlet of awe-inspiring design.

Patrick MallekMallek began his career at the cusp of the digital revolution, quickly becoming an eager user of computer animation tools back in the ‘90s. After studying fine arts, he realized that the digital landscape could drastically expand his creative vision and take his entrepreneurial spirit to new heights. A huge expansion of animation styles not only revolutionized children’s cartoons, it also brought a tremendous about of opportunity to American illustrators and graphic designers like Mallek. He realized he had a knack for working in time rather than space, and with the ability to have a variety of animation tools and equipment right on his desktop, he made the foray into helping leading brands revamp their products and get creative with inspiring product packaging designs.

Mallek is part of the Brand Chefs team at Mighty Fudge Studios, which he co-founded, and creates animated shorts and imaginative designs that represent a wide range of companies and industries.

He has worked with Harmons Grocery to develop a premium private-label program for its fresh products. Product packaging design was a key component in helping Harmons build its brand and communicate its “Secret Ingredient” to customers. “Advertising we turn on and off,” Mallek explains. “Packaging is always in front of you. It lives in your home, in your car, it’s that logo staring back at you every day.” This is what builds brand recognition and loyalty, which – when executed creatively – can give a major boost to both large corporations and mom-and-pop shops.

The Brand Chefs have also provided creative solutions for Walmart’s Marketside line, allowing the company to manage many suppliers and package formats and launch hundreds of SKUs across a wide number of stores in less than a year. Mallek says even small players like his creative business can serve large, established brands by giving them a price, sticking to it, and delivering on promises — then there won’t be any issues. With the adoption of augmented reality, mobile apps, animation, and interactive packaging, Mallek and his team have helped launch brands into the future and give them a truly innovative competitive edge that sends them leaps and bounds ahead of old-school businesses still relying on traditional advertising techniques and ways of thinking.

Taking the Pet Industry by Storm: Scoochie Pets

Pet brands across the world are gearing up for this year’s Global Pet Expo, the industry’s largest annual trade show. To get their products noticed, participating brands have to develop careful strategies that educate pet shop retailers and customers about the qualities that make their premium pet food and products better than the rest. In an age where consumers seek out foodstuffs that are made with wholesome, natural, and gourmet ingredients, it’s imperative that companies succeed in informing customers how their goods can assist in making their lives better. Including high-end ingredients and packaging often requires a higher price point, and the challenge for today’s brands is convincing shoppers that their items are worth the cost.

Gary Jacobs, a longtime pet industry veteran, joins host David Marinac on Ditch The Box to share his insider tips on running a premium pet food company and building a loyal following of repeat customers.

His number one piece of advice for any brand in the pet market is to focus on the quality of the functionality of the product first. Some companies think the key to winning customers lies solely in clever marketing tactics, but the product has to perform up to par or people will dismiss it. You may fool somebody once, he says, but once they catch on they’ll devote their loyalty – and money – to brands selling premium products that actually work. “There’s lots of great products on the market,” he explains. “You have to differentiate yourself from there.”

Scoochie Pets

When Jacobs founded Scoochie Pet Products, he made a point to boost repeat sales and build a brand based on great products and customer loyalty. Companies like Scoochie have to work to convince shoppers to buy their product the first time, impress them with its flavor, appearance, quality, and functionality, then people will begin actively seeking out labels with that brand’s logo and graphics because they associate the company with great items. People are willing to pay more for products from Scoochie, he says, because they’re willing to shell out the money required to keep their animals happy. When times are tough, people want to take better care of their pets. Consumers truly view their cats and dogs as family members, and they seek out pet industry products that make it easier for them to serve their furry friends specialty diets that keep them healthy.

The pet industry has evolved quickly over the last five years, Jacobs explains, and the brands that have succeeded make an effort to follow trends in the market. Sometimes companies can create a new trend, but other times they have to run with existing trends and work to keep up with and stay ahead of them. Natural products are one of the most influential trends in the industry today, which Jacobs says helped Scoochie rethink its product line and incorporate more healthful ingredients. Recalls from overseas have also influenced the market – the rawhide business dropped approximately 80 percent, forcing brands to eliminate or change up the types of animal products they’re selling to dog owners. Quality products, along with a solid interest and investment in sales, has helped brands successfully connect with customers and convince them to purchase healthier products that are better for their pets.

On the program, Jacobs discusses his history training 13 race horses in Kentucky and how it helped him build connections with people who love animals. His background being immersed in farm life has given him a unique understanding of animals and the type of products and care they require. Race horses are big business, he says, and he learned many lessons along the way that launched him into a career in the pet products industry. From pet toys to dog and cat food, Jacobs has a wealth of knowledge and 30 years of experience delivering quality items to the pet industry and pet owners around the world.

Handi Foods Handles the Food Industry

Running a successful company encompasses a multitude of strategies, skills, and actions all aimed at achieving important goals and milestones.

Assembling a great team that is collectively committed to working toward the same achievements is crucial. While working to establish a cohesive, communicative company internally is important, paying careful attention to the customer’s needs and desires is just as vital. The ability to evolve and adapt with changing demands and trends is a true hallmark of a business that has the ability to fill a need in the market and create a legacy.

On the most recent episode of Ditch The Box, Jerry Chizick shares indispensable business advice from his 26+ years in the food industry.

Before becoming VP of Handi Foods LTD, Chizick worked in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and toiletries fields, along with exploring his talents as a musician. “Variety is the spice of life,” Chizick says, and exploring, learning, and innovating can help build strong leaders both inside and outside of business. When he joined Handi Foods, the company was primarily distributing pita bread and wasn’t quite differentiating itself or doing anything truly unique. Chizick knew the brand had to grow and innovate, and this was accomplished by diversifying, leading trends in the food industry, and developing a motivated team that stuck with the company and always had its best interests in mind.

Handi Foods

Staying ahead of the food industry market, he explains, can be achieved by committing to the points above. Selling on price will keep food companies in the dark, so focusing on the evolution of the company – what stage it’s currently at and how far it can go – will lead brands into new and better directions. If you’ve got what the consumer wants, he says, you’ll grow. Whether it’s the end user, a restaurateur, or retailer, businesses selling consumer goods always have to be able to reach their buyers and evaluate how well each of their products meet consumer demand in their particular category.

Listening to customers has been crucial for all of the Branded Pita products Chizick and his team produces and distributes.

Handi tackles private labeling and co-packing, and it has set forth to supply the most delicious and high-quality products in the food industry. This has been achieved, he says, by closely evaluating ingredients lists and labels and really thinking about how they are perceived by consumers. “If they sound like a bunch of chemicals… that’s what they are,” he says. “Labels shouldn’t look like dictionaries.” If a brand adds something to a product’s label, they have to be absolutely sure it’s going to deliver on the promises it states. With so many consumers concerned about the nutrients and ingredients they put into their bodies, transparency in the food industry has become more important than ever.

Chizick also discusses how and why he founded Amazing Grains to supply the healthiest food on the planet, and how he has accomplished his primary objectives by working with co-packers, retailers, and foodservice operators. Creating products for diverse age groups can only be achieved through the lessons he has learned over his years in the food industry: listening to customers, delivering on your promises, building a great team, and evolving and innovating to create a unique product that fulfills a need in its particular market.



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