ONE Brands, formerly known as Oh Yeah! Nutrition, was founded in 1999 by Ron McAfee. With roots in sports nutrition, ONE has always been a high protein snack bar pioneer with a singular mission: exceptional taste, texture, and ingredients with zero compromises and even fewer regrets.
Who doesn’t want a yummy birthday cake flavored bar packed with 20 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar?
Today, ONE Bar is one of the fastest growing protein bars in the US across any platform, both in retail sales as well as on Amazon.
At AdNYC in March 2019, Andy Judd, CMO at ONE Brands joined Pat Petriello, Head of Marketplace Strategy at CPC Strategy in AdNYC to discuss the brand’s monumental growth on the Amazon Marketplace in the past year.
Didn’t get a chance to attend the presentation? We’ve got a full recap of Judd’s fireside chat with our audience members below.
Petriello: Can you give us some background and context to ONE Brands and your experience with the Amazon Marketplace?
Judd: We call it the 18-year overnight success. The reality is the bar itself really didn’t take place until January 2017 when we rebranded ourselves as “ONE”.
There was no way to get from where we were to where we are today, as a top five bar brand, fastest growing, highest contributor to growth, both in dollars and percentage growth in Amazon’s category without going through a tremendous amount of pain.
[Following the rebranding] we had to tell our longtime distributors they were no longer allowed to sell to sub-customers and sub-distributors. We also had to build a Vendor Manager relationship with Amazon.
We didn’t drop one penny on the Amazon platform until February of 2018. In many ways, we are really new to this and we’ve barely finished our first year. But we have doubled down efforts across the board and are seeing tremendous results.
Petriello: You refer to Amazon as the centerpiece of your strategy – can you unpack that a little more for us?
Judd: In context to how we think about Amazon – it’s the absolute centerpiece. We’ve found a way and organizationally rallied around the fact that Amazon can be the centerpiece, both for our media strategy and for sales in a very unique way.
It’s not easy and there’s been a ton of ups and downs but when done right and built to be a centerpiece, Amazon has helped us build our brand and explode into the market.
Petriello: On the scale of “absolute survival” to “absolute dominance”, what were the initial goals for the brand within the first six months of selling on Amazon?
Judd: There was organizational gravity and connectivity that Amazon was going to be a big platform for us. With the support of our Founder & CEO, this gave me and my team permission to go out and build [our presence on the platform] the right way in order to have longterm success. It wasn’t until Amazon started to become a big deal, that the rest of the opposition started to rally behind us.
Petriello: What do you think are the key components of a brand culture that it takes to succeed on Amazon?
Judd: [At ONE Brands] we huddle a lot around Amazon and we’re really steadfast on transparent communication with what’s going on. We meet weekly to discuss the PO [purchase order]. That conversation immediately goes to our CEO, our Head of Sales and our Head of Supply Chain relative to what’s going to happen and how we’re going to position our forecast. There’s a lot of administrative work and transparency that needs to happen in order to make it an effective strategy.
Performance bars are somewhat seasonal. Everybody starts their year out in a great place and ends the year with 15 pounds of grandma’s cherry pie. Right? It happens.
So, what we do is we build and design for that seasonality – meaning we cut off and go to direct fulfillment for six months of the year. I cannot have remnant inventory sitting in Amazon Fulfillment Centers for six months in a pseudo temperature controlled environment.
So for us, the PO is important because we’re managing inventory in a unique culture both seasonally and with this meltable dynamic, that makes it a challenge.
“The CPC Strategy team [now part of Elite SEM] has an awesome ability to give us perspective into what’s happening not just on the Amazon side but inclusive of our Facebook and Google team as well. We’re constantly collaborating to figure out what works.”
For example, how do we continue to bring people into the funnel and where do we optimize – whether that’s creative, or on a targeting level?
Petriello: The protein bar category is extremely competitive – how do you stand out?
Judd: Get your content right from the beginning, get your SEO right, get your Sponsor Ads strategy right, and layer all those things. Each will play an important role. The devils in the details.
The reality is we put an amazing tasting product into the Marketplace and fundamentally we believe in our food above anything else. The worst thing that we can do right now is pivot away from our efforts and let the system begin to drain energy on our side.
I think the key point is if your product isn’t actually good, the truth will find a way out. We call it a brick. You can put all the energy you want into it and throw it up, but it will eventually come right back down to the ground if it’s not a good product.
For more information on AdNYC, email [email protected]