Surviving in today’s crowded marketplace can be tricky. Having the right strategic partner can be the secret to success.

January 26, 2024

6 Min Read
Is your brand ready for long-term growth?

These days, most brands sell their products online, giving them direct access to their existing and prospective customers. Yet, in the competitive $259 billion natural products industry, distinguishing a brand and achieving online and in-store recognition presents a unique and complex challenge. Natural Products Expo West alone has more than 65,000 attendees and 3,000 exhibitors. In today’s marketplace, the right strategic brand partnerships are critical to helping your brand stand out in the crowd.

Launching a successful Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) product requires more than just a good idea or an innovative product—it takes careful planning and execution. While it’s easy to buy into the myth that 95% of all new products fail, the truth is that any missteps can critically affect a product launch and a brand's longevity. Having a partner who understands the full process can make a huge difference to a brand’s success. This isn’t just any old broker or distributor—this is a partner who can walk lockstep as a brand advisor from incubation to sales management and price-setting, to retail and e-commerce activation, all the while helping with marketing and performance insights.

C.A. Fortune is a partner like this, one that’s been actively navigating the CPG marketplace since its inception in 1983. As a full-service, privately held consumer brands agency with a national reach, C.A. Fortune offers comprehensive solutions across all channels and categories. "We equip brands to navigate the marketplace successfully by offering an all-encompassing service. The intention was not simply to construct another traditional broker model but to truly establish a sales and marketing agency equipped with what I refer to as a vertically integrated suite of solutions tailored for consumer brands," states Ali Shouman, Chief Commercial Officer at C.A. Fortune.

 

This vertically integrated model sets C.A. Fortune apart from conventional brokerage firms. At any growth phase, the agency delivers the essential tools, resources and human expertise needed to transform what would be a traditional broker relationship into a strategic partnership. C.A. Fortune’s comprehensive solutions ensure its partners stand out at key consumer events such as Natural Products Expo West.

Navigating change

Today’s consumer is changing and evolving, but so is the retail marketplace. Brands need to intimately understand their demographics and category, and specifically, how the two work together at retail. Getting these insights right is a crucial part of understanding the marketplace and a brand’s place within it.

"Our commitment transcends mere data collection. We immerse ourselves in understanding shopper trends and category insights, regardless of whether it's an emerging brand or an established multi-billion-dollar entity," Shouman explains. “We regularly host webinars open to all, not just our partners, to delve into market trends and what's effective in retail. This initiative, known as 'State of the Industry,' is about sharing knowledge and showcasing our approach and the potential benefits of partnering with us."

 

A brand’s product launch journey alone can be daunting. Working with partners who understand this process is important. Even more critical is having a strategic partnership that understands where a product launch fits in the bigger picture of brand vision, sales strategy and long-term growth. Having a partner that helps with some of the day-to-day operations can free up time for brand leadership to focus on long-term goals.

"Within our ecosystem, brands find a seamless suite of services that cater to all their needs, negating the necessity to look elsewhere. Our sales agency teams, alongside account management, operations, distributor management, sales support, e-commerce and marketing all contribute to a brand’s success in the tangible world of brick-and-mortar retail,” says Shouman.

In aligning services with a larger strategic framework, Shouman emphasizes the unique value C.A. Fortune brings to the table. "It's not merely about the array of services we provide; it's about the deep-rooted expertise that comes with them. When brands partner with us, they engage with a team of seasoned professionals with industry experience. These experts are proficient in guiding brands towards beneficial partnerships and can discern which opportunities may not suit a brand's immediate strategy.”

This dual focus on comprehensive service delivery and knowledgeable guidance is the bedrock of C.A. Fortune's approach, ensuring partnerships are established and carefully cultivated to promote sustained success.

Is your brand poised for long-term growth?

The longevity of a brand in the market is contingent upon a robust go-to-market strategy. Brands may experience initial success through short-term sales strategies, but the transition to long-term growth is often where challenges arise. Marketing, whether through packaging or social media, plays an important role in a brand’s long-term success, but can often overwhelm a company. C.A. Fortune’s access to insights and holistic approach not only sets it apart, these tools can help guide brands through the complexities of standing out in the modern retail landscape.

"We conduct what I would describe as everything from traditional brand strategy to activities like packaging design and content creation, as well as managing social media and paid media on the more traditional side of the business, extending beyond our e-commerce, digital and paid media services," Shouman explains.

Keeping up with current trends and sustaining this competition means knowing how and when to abandon or at least tweak traditional methods. "I believe it's fundamentally about connecting with the consumer in every possible space they may encounter your product. Our competitors have largely built their businesses on a traditional model, focusing exclusively on brick-and-mortar and how things used to be. In contrast, we consider the entire consumer journey, both online and offline, to ensure that our brands stand out in a crowded marketplace."

 

It all comes down to dollars and cents.

Still, even when the product is spot on, you only get so many chances to catch consumers' attention. Navigating the intricate balance between cost-effectiveness and consumer appeal is a delicate art, and setting an optimal pricing strategy from the start is indispensable.

"Certainly, pre-COVID, and going back 10-15, even 20 years, consumers have engaged with brands through multiple touchpoints—on screens, in physical stores, via alternative channels, at live events or during experiential marketing efforts like food truck activations outside Whole Foods. Our agency was designed to support brands at any stage of their lifecycle, integrating services like pricing strategies that evolve with them, ensuring financial viability and market competitiveness," explains Shouman.

Central to C.A. Fortune's philosophy is its meticulous selection process for its brand portfolio. The agency partners with brands across various stages of their lifecycle and across a wide array of categories. However, this is not done indiscriminately. C.A. Fortune prides itself on curating a brand portfolio that aligns with its mission and vision, selecting to represent clients whose products and ethos resonate with their commitment to success. This discerning approach underscores the agency's belief in the potential of its clients and its commitment to not just represent, but to champion brands it truly believes in.

This tailored strategy emphasizes that C.A. Fortune is not a "one-size-fits-all" broker. Instead, it adopts a custom-made approach for each client it supports, highlighting its commitment to adaptability, strategic partnership, and a deep understanding of the complexities within the CPG sector. Through this model, C.A. Fortune is not just an agency but a vital partner for brands looking to make a significant impact in the marketplace.

Looking to what it means to be a successful CPG brand today and into the future, Shouman adds, “Growth is not a simple goal but a continuous journey of adaptation and innovation. It’s about tailored growth strategies based on comprehensive services and an understanding that the touchpoints between a brand and its customers are as diverse and dynamic as the market itself.”

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