How Jessica Alba Is Driving the New Generation of CPG
The consumer packaged goods industry is laser-focused on the consumer — so much so that it’s even reflected in the industry’s name. But despite this heightened awareness, connecting with consumers can sometimes be a challenge, even for the most seasoned CPG executives and well-established brands. With a new generation of CPG companies gaining momentum, the industry has been disrupted, and how we listen to and connect with consumers will never be the same.
Jessica Alba, founder, and Nick Vlahos, CEO, of The Honest Company, joined Consumer Brands’ CPG Speaks series to reveal how the brand found success by honing in on the start-up mentality, building relationships with consumers and staying true to their original mission of empowering people to live happy, healthy lives.
Be Guided by Your Purpose
The Honest Company was founded in 2012 after Alba, a new mom herself, noticed a lack of clean, transparent baby product brands that prioritized giving back to those in need.
“I was building a brand around a gap that I had as a consumer,” said Alba. “When I built the business, I hit on those values that I have as a person in the world and thinking of the future that I wanted for my child.”
“I wanted to build a for-profit business with non-profit values,” Alba said.
Since its early beginnings, the company has grown exponentially, expanding to big-box stores and into other segments, including beauty and personal care, as well as household products. Yet, Honest is still staying true to its initial goals: delivering high-quality, safe and effective products people can feel good about while giving back to vulnerable communities through product and monetary donations and charitable partnerships, including its official philanthropic partner, Baby2Baby.
“I wanted to build a for-profit business with non-profit values,” she said.
Listen and Be Prepared to Pivot
Through online communication and its roots as a small, social-oriented company, Honest has been able to pivot quickly, listening to what consumers want and finding creative ways to achieve it.
“Our secret sauce is having this pulse on the consumer,” said Vlahos. “One of the many things we’ve held true to since day one is our customer service team, connecting with consumers on a daily basis and actively listening to issues and concerns.”
“One of the many things we’ve held true to since day one is our customer service team, connecting with consumers on a daily basis and actively listening to issues and concerns,” said Vlahos.
By communicating directly with consumers online, The Honest Company has been able to enter new segments of the business quickly, bringing their dedicated consumer base along with them.
“That’s why we went into feminine care and beauty — we had so much demand through our customer service calls and emails,” said Alba. “That’s why we created a clean beauty line, literally from listening to our consumers.”
“We’re nimble enough and investing from an operational perspective to box above our weight,” Vlahos said. “As a company who has been around for nine years, to be in a position to play both domestically and internationally, we can scale the business and drive relationships with the consumer.”
We’re All Consumers
From the CEO of the world’s largest food company to a manufacturing worker at a cleaning product facility, every single person in CPG is also a consumer of these same products. We rely on these products in our homes, schools, workplaces and everywhere in between — so why shouldn’t our personal experiences come into play when looking ahead to the next big thing?
“I wanted to create solutions for consumers based on my own need of never wanting to run out of diapers at two in the morning again,” Alba said.
“Purpose is at the forefront. We want to do less talking and more doing.”
By drawing on their own lives, Alba, Vlahos and their team have built a business around being authentic and staying true to their original mission — filling gaps in the marketplace, driven by consumers and what they are asking for, in the most convenient way.
“We’re in a position to create a global legacy,” finished Vlahos. “Purpose is at the forefront. We want to do less talking and more doing.”
Visit our website to learn more about CPG Speaks and to register for an upcoming session. CPG Speaks is complimentary for attendees, thanks to PwC and individual session sponsors. View this session in full here.
Published on September 22, 2020
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