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Consumer Brand Marketing Concept – Justin’s Nut Butter

My girlfriend just got an internship at Justin’s Nut Butter, a local gourmet nut better company. The company is an awesome success story; a local guy who started making peanut butter for himself, found his roommates stealing his snack and thought he was on to something. He went and proved it at the local farmers market and then due to the organic aspect of it he got into the local Whole Foods. That spread to the regional Whole Foods and now he is nationwide in WF, Target, and many other outlets. They have in essence doubled in revenue every year they have been around and are pushing the industry to be greener with the packaging and manufacturing.

They are most famous for single-serving squeeze packs of their concoctions. I say concoction because they make very delicious mixes of nut butters like honey peanut butter, chocolate hazelnut butter, and maple almond butter among other flavors. They also recently started making peanut butter cups which are like Reeses, but don’t suck.

As usual my mind looks at the company and starts turning with crazy ideas for marketing their product and expanding their product line. I believe that marketing needs to be built into the product and I think Justin’s gets this, their squeeze packs are baked in marketing – just ask anyone that’s taken one on a hike with an apple.

Squeeze Bottle

The squeeze packs are a damn near genius idea, but this one comes to me from my uncle who loves peanut butter and apples after he goes on a long bike ride. The problem is that he rides his bike to work and rather than have a large amount of single-serve packs sitting at his desk, he would prefer to have a whole bottle there, squeezable so he doesn’t need a knife, and to keep it green the thing could obviously be recyclable. The tip could be the flat opening tip like you find on mayo so that it could easily be spread on bread without a knife – what’s greener than using no utensils or dishes?

Justin’s Jams

In college I was an economics major but have since honed my marketing skills and make my living doing that. One thing I have no forgotten about my economics classes is the concept of complements. Compliments with an “i” is something you tell a girl to get lucky, complements with an “e” is something that goes well together. In every economics class this is described by using the peanut butter and jelly example. Justin’s Jams is my concept for a line of gourmet jams to complement Justin’s Nut Butter. Jalapeno jams are pretty popular these days and I can’t help but love alliteration, Justin’s Jalapeno Jam. My personal favorite is Raspberry and according to CSU raspberries can be grown in Colorado year round, let’s keep it local!

Justin’s Jams obviously would promote a concert series at Red Rocks providing the perfect opportunity for a pun on the “Jam” part of the name and some experiential marketing, this seems like a great way to get more locals aware of the product and with the squeeze packs giving out samples is next to nothing.   

Justin’s Green Gourmet Nut Butter Truck 

Food trucks are all the rage these days and for good reason – you can get awesome food, made quickly, for usually pretty cheap (low overhead), and sometimes it is brought right to where you are. They are also nice in that they provide a break from the monotony that is lunch when you eat that the same 4 places that are close to your work. Justin’s has a great product that lends itself to being used in cooking as well as snacks. A food truck that had entrees featuring their nut butters as well as simple snack items would likely bring in profits if not break even and get the marketing message out there. Want people to buy more nut butters? Tell them good ways to use it, use the food truck to distribute recipes and snack ideas. You can keep some recipes secret for the truck to use and give out others – when you retire a dish in the truck, give away the recipe so that the customers can make it after that. Oh and throw some solar panels on that truck – keep it green, always.


This one is a bit of a cheat for me since this is what I am used to doing for a living but even with national distribution in multiple groceries there will still be people who can’t get your product. Sure, there’s Amazon, REI, and other people selling squeeze packs online but what about the rest of your products? What about the people who want to be loyal to a cool small company and not REI? Also, when you sell it yourself online you get to control the experience – from a great online ordering experience to cool packaging with little surprises that will have the customers talking to their friends about your brand – the online sales channel is one that is is ripe for a cool brand like Justin’s. Aside from opening an entirely new channel for sales you can make higher margins without the retailer taking a chunk off the top.

This is the view from the top of Mt. Audubon, 13223 feet high. It was a pretty difficult 8 mile hike, 2800 ft in elevation gain, but the view was definitely worth it.

The app is 360 Panorama made by the Boulder company Occipital and it seriously rocks. You can see all my panoramas as I make more here


Ever since I was young your word is the word that always won. 
Worry and wake the ones you love. 
A phone call I’d rather not receive. 
Please use my body while I sleep. 
My lungs are fresh and yours to keep, 
Kept clean and they will let you breathe. 

Is this the way a toy feels when its batteries run dry? 
I am the watch you always wear but you forget to wind. 

Nobody plans to be half a world away at times like these, 
so I sat alone and waited out the night. 
The best part of what has happened was the part I must have missed. 
So I’m asking you to shine it on and stick around. 
I’m not writing my goodbyes. 

I submit no excuse. 
If this is what I have to do I owe you every day I wake. 
If I could I would shrink myself and sink through your skin to your blood cells 
and remove whatever makes you hurt but I am too weak to be your cure. 

Is this the way a toy feels when its batteries run dry? 
I am the watch you always wear but you forget to wind. 

Nobody plans to be half a world away at times like these, 
so I sat alone and waited out the night. 
The best part of what has happened was the part I must have missed. 
So I’m asking you to shine it on and stick around. 
I’m not writing my goodbyes. 

I’m not letting you check out. 
You will beat this starting now and you will always be around. 
I’m there to monitor your breathing 
I will watch you while you’re sleeping. 
I will keep you safe and sound. 
Does anybody remember back when you were very young.
Did you ever think that you would be this blessed?

Nobody plans to be half a world away at times like these, 
so I sat alone and waited out the night. 
The best part of what has happened was the part I must have missed. 
So I’m asking you to shine it on and stick around. 
I’m not writing my goodbyes.

HBR Covers Social Media, The Results: Companies Still Don’t Get It

In a great whitepaper released by the Harvard Business Review there are some staggering facts about social media adoption in the 2100 companies they surveyed.

  • Three-quarters (75%) of the companies in the survey said they did not know where their most valuable customers were talking about them.
  • Nearly one-third (31%) do not measure effectiveness of social media.
  • Less than one-quarter (23%) are using social media analytic tools.
  • A fraction (7%) of participating companies are able to integrate social media into their marketing activities

Only a small group — 12 percent — of the companies in the survey said they felt they were currently effective users of social media. These were the companies most likely to deploy multiple channels, use metrics, have a  strategy for social media use, and integrate their social media into their overall marketing operations. 

Let’s dig into those sentences a little closer. First up, of the 2100 companies surveyed about 250 said they were doing social media effectively. Without knowing the companies surveyed this is tough to analyze although I’m shocked they found 250 companies that think they are doing social media right, I can only think of a few companies that are really doing it at the same level they do their other marketing activities at. The second sentence is the key here, essentially these companies are giving social media the considerations they give to TV, display, and other forms of marketing, why though is this worth a HBR whitepaper? Is it not understood that for something to be effective it needs to be well thought out, integrated into the operations, measured, and refined just like any other marketing activity?

…the majority of these companies also said they were still struggling with how to best use the different channels, gauge their effectiveness, and integrate social media into their strategies. Two-thirds of users have no formalized social media strategy in place. Sixty-one percent reported a significant learning curve before they can truly utilize social media. Many companies reported they are still searching to find the best way to demonstrate the impact of social media and the contribution to the bottom line.

The majority of the companies are struggling with social media entirely, is what this starts out saying and then gets into the specifics of their issues. The reality is these companies are struggling with shifting their marketing paradigm from an antiquated “shout marketing” strategy to understanding that conversations are the basis of social media success.

I understand that previously marketing was “let me tell you how much you need what I have” and any backlash was kept within small spheres, but now everyone has a social media soapbox to stand on, the key is to monitor and respond appropriately.

I recently found the Air Force Rules of Engagement for Bloggers and it is a great simple flow chart for managing responding to bloggers. It not only tells you when to respond but how to respond. How is something so simple so difficult for companies to understand?

According to the HBR whitepaper, “for many companies the most pressing challenges with social media are in understanding the potential to make a difference in their business, measuring its effectiveness, and aligning social media activities to an impact on company financials.”

You want to see the difference in your business? You want to see the impact on financials? Stop playing the chicken/egg game. People thought the same thing about all forms of marketing – why spend $1m on a TV spot unless I know I will see return, then someone had the audacity to take a risk and do it, now it’s standard. Take a (small) risk and give social media the same effort you give your other marketing and you will see the difference in your business, you will see the impact on your financials.

There are tons of gems in the whitepaper that I could go into but at the end of the day what needs to be understood is that social media is like all other forms of marketing, you have to approach it strategically and systematically. Create a plan, fold it into the rest of your operations, measure it and refine it. Sure the nuances are different than your other channels, but print advertising and TV spots are different in their execution – just not their approach.

You can find the whitepaper here. And the Air Force Rules Of Engagement for Blogging here.

My home. Always and forever.

This is my friend Kamtin aka The Chain Gang Of 1974. This is him performing on The Daily Habit on Fuse. I am so proud of Kamtin, his new record Wayward Fire is available as of yesterday. I highly recommend it.

For dinner I made macaroni and chesse… enough to feed an army. (Taken with instagram)

Derby day. (Taken with Instagram at West End Tavern)

A Slight Change In Daily Activities

Over the last 3 years I have had the privilege of working for a great company filled with great people. I started working at Giantnerd® when I was still in college, I graduated on a Saturday and started full-time on Monday. Over the last 3 years I have learned more than I would have at a less dedicated company in 10 years. There is something about the culture at Giantnerd® that inspires one to dive-in with their whole heart.

Giantnerd® is a promising company. More important than the praise for doing social media right, they truly believe in helping the customer. Every customer is taken care of, even if it means eating short term profits. Through years of experience the team at Giantnerd® is refining the process of getting butts on bikes, bodies in jackets, feet in shoes, and adventurers out on their expeditions. Little has been more satisfying than to see the gluttony of happy customers at Giantnerd®.

The reason for the nostalgia over my time at Giantnerd® is that I have come to a point in my professional life where it is time for me to move on. It is without question one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make as my heart will always be in Giantnerd®. I feel now is the right time for me to attempt to do something I can stamp my name on, to take hold of something and improve it and make it my own. Ecommerce will always fascinate me but for a moment I am going to try my hand at the digital media realm, with a splash of ecommerce.

My new job will be taking care of the marketing for a startup called Graphicly. Graphicly specializes in selling comics books through their application which can be run on iPhones, Android Devices, iPads, an Adobe Air app, Nook Color (as of today!) or through an HTML5 reader. I am really excited to connect comic book readers with amazing comics, and in each other, in a way that fits our 21st century lives.

Graphicly has a great idea, a great product, and lots of room for improvement in marketing. I am bursting with ideas and giddy to start implementing them. Comic books fans are a dedicated and obsessive demographic, bringing them to a platform like Graphicly holds as much potential as bringing a roadie to Giantnerd®. In many ways my job is changing very little, but in many ways it is a complete shift, one I am very excited about.

I will continue to encourage everyone to shop for their outdoor gear at Giantnerd®, there truly isn’t a better place to get your gear.

And now I encourage everyone, comic fan or future comic book fan, to download a Graphicly reader. There’s comics you can download for FREE and there’s over 3000 comics to read and growing. Part of the beauty of the multiple readers is that when at your computer you can read your comics in larger than books size through the desktop or HTML5 reader, and when you’re on the go, the same comic is available on your phone. One account connects them all.

Join me as I begin this journey into the world of comics, join Graphicly.

Lounging on a gloomy day.