Taste Radio Podcast Interview
Package design is everything.
Nik Ingersöll spends a lot of time thinking about ugly bananas.
The Co-Founder & CMO of Barnana, one of the fastest growing food startups selling snacks made from imperfect and misshapen bananas. Ingersöll is responsible for the brand’s birth, branding and marketing strategy. In other words, he gets people stoked about snacks that are hard to describe and strange to look at. He has been recognized for many of his efforts for bold packaging and quirky guerilla marketing tactics, including a Barnana Car.
On this episode, Taste Radio interviews Ingersöll about how Barnana has won the hearts and minds of consumers. He has done this by using a unique style that is hell bent on grabbing their attention from the first time they come into contact with Barnana.
“[When] that consumer is going to see that product for the very first time, they’re going to see the front of the package,” he said. “And if you don’t capture that, nothing else matters. Because they’ll never pick it up, they’ll never put it in the cart.”
Ingersöll also talks about how Barnana determines what to include on front of packaging. He explained his perspective that brands have to take risks to move the market. He also talked about how he balances internal feedback about design from investors, board members and co-workers.
Spoiler alert, most of it doesn’t matter.
One Of The Biggest Mistakes That Food Entrepreneurs Make
My Interview on Entrepreneur Magazine Live
Clip of my discussion on @entrepreneur live about where I think the importance lays between a company’s mission vs. their products for food entrepreneurs.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see food entrepreneurs make are founders becoming super romantic about their mission of giving back, building wells, their specialized nutrients, etc. etc. and not focusing on taste. This is a critical mistake. Taste simply must come first.
Without focusing on the taste of your product, your mission will end in failure. Because if your product tastes like shit then no one will buy it. If no one buys it, then there is no mission because you’re out of business.
No matter how healthy your product is or how giving your mission is – it simply does not matter if no one eats what you make. I see this mistake repeated every year at #ExpoWest like clockwork.
Focus on taste first, then focus on your brand ‘s social story. That way both will succeed.
Mission is important. After all, Barnana is a B Corporation, upcycles bananas, builds water wells in the Amazon Rainforest, only makes organic products and has sustainability as a core tenant of ours.
However, if that is all that you are focused on you will go bankrupt.
The worst way to make your mission succeed in food is to focus on it too much.
The scale at which your sales can reach propels the mission to crazy heights.
My generation, the Millennial generation, of entrepreneurs are wooed by social causes.
This is amazing in many ways, but also creates the pitfall of only caring about that.
Happy creating! Let me know what you think in the comments below ??
The Founder Hour Podcast Interview
We chat with Nik Ingersöll, co-founder & CMO of Barnana, to hear his incredible story of growing up on a farm in rural Nebraska with no money to moving to California for college and eventually launching the line of organic healthy snacks that has everyone going bananas.
We also talk branding, fundraising, and scaling a successful product in today’s competitive CPG space!
Forbes : Barnana, How Three Friends Created A Multi-Million Dollar Business Upcycling Bananas.
I decided to take this Monday morning to brain vomit some random things I’ve learned over the last few years running my high growth snack startup? : Put in the hard work, acquire lots of skills, fail a bunch, take risks, don’t care about others’ perceptions, keep moving, do good things, make great products, never compromise on taste, keep your brand promise, don’t be scared, create meaningful jobs, make friends, over invest in design, brand rules all, be mindful of group think, manage escalation of commitment, grow as a human, keep your body healthy, treat your employees better than the market, take smart money from smart people, be ruthless on cash flow, be real, fuck the haters, hire culture=skill, get good at cap tables, employ tons of empathy, only work with A+ suppliers, own everything you do, learn what alignment is and optimize towards it over agreement, make friends, have fun, you’ll have high highs and low lows, pick your investors and advisors wisely, put in the hours, have relentless ownership over everything you do, brokers won’t deliver, you will need to make big sacrifices for your company to explode, PR is expensive, be generous, the higher you ascend the less people there are, give things away for free, amazon is powerful, brick and mortar retail is expensive, the cash turn around cycles suck, admire meritocracy, crush the competition, default aggressive, have a plan, lead, do something that adds to the overall human experience in a positive way & that’s all for today. @barnana
Going Bananas with Salomondrin
Salomondrin : A crew of fast car driving dudes that do fun things. After a ridiculous ride with these guys, I couldn’t help but post it up. We took a ride in our banana car around West Los Angeles and had some fun, check it out.
FOOD MARKETING NERDS PODCAST
TACTICAL GEMS & GUERILLA TIPS
BY NIK INGERSOLL AUG 28, 2017
GUERILLA MARKETING: DIGITAL & PHYSICAL
On this segment, we got a chance to talk about all sorts of tactics that I utilize from zero budget to hero budget. We got to cover some really tactical digital strategies, real-world guerilla marketing tactics that I have used to make a large brand splash and lots of things in between.
[tweetshare tweet=”Most think they are in the food business, but they are in the marketing business.” username=”ingersollnik”]
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFO?
You can check out more information on Barnana by going to barnana.com. If you want to find out more about me, you can go find that here: ingersollnik.com/about. The Food Marketing Nerd Folks also wrote up a little bit about our interview, you can find that link down below. Hit me up if you want to chat!
FOOD MARKETING NERD’S ORIGINAL BLOG POST WITH MY INTERVIEW CAN BE FOUND HERE:
[btn text=”READ IT” link=”http://foodmarketingnerds.com/facebook-ad-tactics-with-nik-ingersol/” tcolor=”#ffffff” bcolor=”#17bfd2″ bordercolor=”#17bfd2″ thovercolor=”#ffffff” bhovercolor=”#099bab” borderhovercolor=”#099bab” size=”large” font=”h1-family”]
THE NO DOUCHEBAGS RULE
PREVENT START-UP SABOTAGE
BY NIK INGERSOLL FEB 19, 2017
NO DOUCHEBAGS, FOR REAL?
A REAL LESSON
HAS DOUCHEBAGGERY GROWN?
WHEN YOU NEED TO GET RID OF “ADVISORS”
A GOOD PIECE OF ADVICE
A BETTER PIECE OF ADVICE
THE BIG REVEAL
What none of us could have known was that he would secretly go behind my back and the backs of my other two business partners in an attempt to create disarray in the ranks. His targets: myself, my business partners, interns and others on the advisory team. Soon his motive became clear, to divide and conquer. To take something that we had worked on for almost two years to get to market so he could suck it into his negative vortex of disgust and take power.
THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE
My dad passed away in a car accident in June of 2013. He was my best friend and was literally the best human being that I have ever known. I was left with only my brother to bury him alone in Nebraska. There has never been and will never be worse moment of despair in my entire existence. When I went back to bury him that summer, about 6 months into the business, I found out that this advisor said something about me at our board meeting after I had hung up on the conference line.
MY FOLLOW UP EMAIL
Hey (Advisor’s Name)
So happy to have you at our most recent board meeting.
Again, so sorry I couldn’t attend due to the abrupt and unexpected passing of my father.
However, I am even happier to hear that you were talking shit about me in front of all my partners, advisors and interns after I hung up.
If you ever have anything to say about me in the future, be a man and say it to my face. No one respects cowards. Looking forward to connecting with you directly in person.
You are no longer invited to attend or participate in any of our board meetings from now going forward.
Wishing you a healthy life
SO, WHAT HAPPENED?
I NEVER RECEIVED A RESPONSE
BITE DOWN ON YOUR MOUTHPIECE
BY NIK INGERSOLL FEB 12, 2017
FIGHT OVER FLIGHT
What’s the one quality that I think matters the most when you are creating a company? Tenacity. The bite down on your mouthpiece type of drive. That kind of feeling that back in the day you could only achieve by running away from saber tooth tigers in the forest. That fight over flight attitude that you will hustle and execute to get to where you want to go as a matter of survival. Without the entrepreneurial tenacity for your idea to move forward, you might as well go work for Goldman Sachs.
Having tenacity doesn’t mean your idea is going to set the world on fire. However, if you don’t have tenacity, your idea most likely won’t. Tenacity, like many things, is heavily determined by the DNA that was sequenced during your journey from a zygote to a complete human. However, I think nurture over indexes on it’s influence over tenacity.
The enemy of entrepreneurial tenacity: vacillation. But vacillations are are just that, thoughts. They are in fact not who you are at all. They are random neurochemical brain impulses that often result in electrophysiological signals in your body. You get to choose which thoughts you want to pay attention to and which negative thoughts that you can let fly on by. Fear is both real and rational, but flight is not what makes great companies, fight is. I must say that it is important not to confuse tenacity with arrogance, not to confuse confidence with boisterous bravado. But if you are too scared to start or too cocky to learn, then entrepreneurship may not be for you.
Tenacity also means having the optimism and confidence that you will succeed. Confidence can win a room. In college, I was working full-time,simultaneously founding a couple of start-ups with my sights set on raising millions of dollars and eventually exiting for many more. I had no social life to say the least. Back then, confidence and optimism were two of the most important assets that I had besides creativity and smarts. I stood in front of 100’s of tech VC’s in Silicon Valley at Demo Launchpad, former entrepreneurs turned investors and the like, all before my 23rd birthday. I can tell you that when you don’t have a crazy resume, when you’re young, if you came from nothing like I; the confidence that you can generate about the skills that you DO have goes a long way.
The major caveat: no one likes unsubstantiated bravado.
On the inverse, I have felt my confidence waiver a couple of times in a high stakes pitches in my early 20s. When it happened, I could detect a profound change in the room. You always get back what you put out. When you are young with no real accomplishments – know what you do have. Work ethic, hustle, passion, smarts, skills, creativity, whatever that mix is for you – know it. Couple that with the tenacity to see it through. Know it and let everyone you work with know it too. Coming from the isolated, poor, rural farmland in Western Nebraska – I didn’t have money for college, no money from my parents for rent, books, tuition or any of that. So, I worked with what I had and what I could learn, but most importantly the tenacity to see it through.
TO CARE OR NOT TO CARE
One important part of entrepreneurial tenacity is not caring about the opinions of others but also being self aware enough to listen to them. It’s a bit of a catch twenty-two. Don’t care about what people think about you but understand what they think and why they think that way. Being aware does not mean you must care, react or agree with their perceptions. It doesn’t mean that you have to care about their opinions at all actually. It’s for this reason, the most applicable philosophical perspectives to study in the entrepreneurial realm are the stoic teachings of Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and others. That’s because it does not allow for outside forces affecting your perception of who you are.
For whatever reason, I have never cared much about others perceptions of me. Perhaps it’s because I used to play in a death metal band with a face full of piercings and long dyed black hair, an easy target for ridicule. In not caring, I always thought that the attitude that I had was considered fringe or wrong according to others. But, Stoic philosophers have been writing about the benefits of not allowing others’ perceptions to affect your own cognition for a very long time. So, if I could jump into a time machine and give myself one piece of advice, it would be this quote from Epictetus:
[tweetshare tweet=”What upsets people is not things themselves, but their judgements about these things. – Epictetus” username=”ingersollnik”]
THE #BUILDINGAMERICA SEGMENT
ON THE MORNING BLAZE WITH DOC THOMPSON
BY NIK INGERSOLL FEB 14, 2017
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
There were a couple key takeaways on this show that I think are worth mentioning. One of which is that one of the most important differences between people who are successful versus those who are not: Tenacity. It’s the will to keep going and not stop no matter what the reason. There isn’t one wildly successful person that I know that got there without hard work. Life is hard, get over it. Things get in the way, you were born poor or disadvantaged in some other way. Whatever your excuse is, capitalism does not care. If you are truly excellent at what you do then it doesn’t matter because you will then be undeniable. Focus in on yourself, not the way others perceive you because it will only hold you down. Here’s to growth!
— Nik Ingersoll (@ingersollnik) February 14, 2017