In a time when we are all just trying to get by, there are many people doing so much more. It’s incredible, really, how much we can achieve with the right amount of passion and positivity—and the world of natural products has a lot of both. And it’s that unconditional love for humanity that has consistently inspired throughout my 12 years at New Hope Network and in the natural products industry. Isn't that what the world needs now?
This industry is about the retailers on the front lines of the pandemic, those ensuring we have healthy food to eat and supplements to keep us resilient. And the brands that continue to innovate, not for the sake of novelty but to address real problems with products that deliver nutrition—and joy (cooking from scratch to feed my mind and body is one of the things that has gotten me through the past year). It’s also about the service providers that I'm learning so much from, with their deep knowledge and support of mission-driven companies with the very tactical know-how needed to run a successful business through a pandemic. When all of these things come together, that’s when surviving becomes thriving.
We created our first virtual event of 2021, Spark Brand Success, as a way to help companies fit all of these pieces together (and who hasn’t been enjoying a good puzzle these days, am I right?). During the event, brands can learn from their peers who will share business wins and blunders and from the service providers who are here to help with the doing—from marketing agencies to certifying bodies to technology providers. Plus, we’ve dedicated a portion of the agenda to helping brands connect with young, diverse talent to ensure this industry leads in innovation and inclusion, as well as a diversity and inclusion town hall so that as we grow our businesses, we have the real conversations that drive real change. During Spark Brand Success, brands can identify their needs and create their journeys, hopefully finding some co-pilots along the way.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s that we can’t do it alone. Personally, I have leaned on my five-year-old niece for a youthful wisdom and unwavering optimism and my parents with their steadfast commitment to a pleasant year-long quarantine after 45 years of marriage. At New Hope Network, it has been my coworkers’ determination and creativity, industry veterans’ expertise and the vigor of passionate brands that dove into our platforms and have been willing to find new ways to stay connected.
Connection, inspiration and community are important to all of us, and there will be a range of ways that we hope you’ll find that throughout the year via Natural Products Expo Virtual, starting with Spark Brand Success next week. Check out the agenda to see what make sense for you. In the meantime, here are a few of the things I am most excited about.
The State of Natural & Organic on March 2 will highlight the trends and insights that will prepare brands for the year ahead. Discover what's next in product innovation and the conversations driving change in the industry with experts from Whipstitch Capital, SPINS and New Hope Network.
Living in a Virtual World: How to Write New Rules for Sales, Marketing & Sampling is full of inspiration and best practices for telling your story and getting in front of consumers and retailers during COVID-19.
For a more hands on approach, attend one of the free workshops covering topics from supporting a responsible seafood industry to freshening up your marketing strategy.
RSVP for one here:
- Smoketown Workshop: Smoketown Workshop: Brand Therapy for Mission-Driven, Early-Stage Business Growth
- SRW Branding Workshop: 4 New Marketing Best Practices That Are Here to Stay
- Marine Stewardship Council Workshop: Healthy People, Healthy Oceans: Meeting the Demand for Certified Sustainable Products
- Natrellis/Sonoco Workshop: Developing Truly Sustainable Food Packaging
- Epson Workshop: Printing Quality Labels In-House for Cost-Saving, Efficiency, Prototyping and Compliance
We are also using this as an opportunity to bring the community together around the most important topics we face as a society. Join our Town Hall: How Are We Doing? A Discussion of Natural Products Industry Diversity and Inclusion Efforts hosted by Emerald-Jane Hunter and Ryan Pintado-Vertner. And for businesses focused on diversity recruiting, join us for Hiring Practices, New Perspectives & Resources to Find Diverse Talent: Networking Event.
We’ll have a range of other networking opportunities from casual morning meetups to fast-paced speed dating to help you make the right connections. However you choose to participate, we look forward to learning about what fuels your brand—and how we can help.
Jessica Rubino is the Executive Director of Content for New Hope Network.