In today’s episode of Hashtag Influencer, Sherri gets the global perspective from Barak Orenstein of Else Nutrition, the new plant-based company winning high marks from parents looking for a healthy alternative to traditional baby formula. Despite launching midway through a year of global pandemic, the company has shot out of the gate. Barak, who is Else’s global director of marketing, shares his insights from years as a marketing and content leader in both Canada and Israel, including a breakdown on how Else’s marketing strategy shifted and adapted to a marketplace upturned by Covid19. The short answer: Micro- and macro-influencers have been a secret sauce, driving double-digit market growth and setting the stage for retail and geographic expansion heading into 2021. It doesn’t hurt that – beyond parents thrilled to have a healthy, co-friendly option — Else’s “satisfied customers” are adorable babies whose telegewnic media snippets are crowd-pleasers no matter the social platform!

Key Takeaways

  • Barak’s journey as a marketer.
    • Started out in Canada on behalf of products like L’Oreal and Evian. 
    • Shifted gears and relocated to Israel to direct marketing and communications for SodaStream and AHAVA.
    • His latest venture: Else Nutrition.
  • What is Else Nutrition all about?
    • Reshaping early childhood nutrition with plant-based food options specifically for babies and toddlers.
    • “There are many plant-based categories for adults but what about babies and toddlers? What about our most vulnerable?” (2:53)
    • Product grew out of seven years of R&D dedicated to delivering the full array of nutrients essential to developing infants and children.
    • “It’s the first real alternative to dairy and soy in terms of formula … a next-gen alternative reimagining things.” (4:04)
  • Why parents choose the plant-based lifestyle for their children.
    • Two core markets:
      • Families already committed to a healthy, earth-friendly lifestyle.
      • Families with children who have food allergies.
    • “It’s being perceived as the Netflix or Airbnb of the baby nutrition industry.” (5:33)
    • Great reception from parents who welcome a clean, plant-based alternative to traditional formulas.
  • The plant-based market is booming. 
    • Plant-based market is disrupting food choices across all sectors
    • “Food is values and we believe that food is values and what people choose to give their children says a lot.” (7:00)
    • Else launched in the United States & Canada in August 2020.
  • Launching a new-to-market product in the midst of pandemic.
    • Trust is a huge factor with an online-only presence.
    • Moved into the marketplace with Amazon.
    • Expanding into the wider storefront retail marketplace in 2021.
    • “We’ve had an outpouring of requests from parents around the world. It’s a universal need.” (8:50)
    • Adapted marketing strategy to Covid19 limitations, including:
      • Digital platforms and a variety of micro-and macro-social media influencers.
      • Public relations through traditional channels such as trade and consumer/lifestyle/parenting publications. 
      • Establishing trust with pediatricians and experts.
  • Stories: What kinds of content performs best?
    • Video was a hands-down winner because of the lovable, photogenic nature of babies themselves.
    • Allowing influencers to be natural and try the product without too much interference or staging.
    • “Those authentic moments are what have been best for us: Influencer parents talking about how (Else) has impacted their lives.” (15:34)
    • Instagram Live has also been highly effective (i.e. a brief chat between Hilaria Baldwin and an early childhood nutrition expert).
    • Repurposed snippets used in emails and other platforms further boosts views into the tens of thousands.
    • “We want to be at the forefront of the conversation about what’s happening in this space and … starting conversations between parents and influencers in terms of what matters to them.” (17:48)
    • Other forums: Facebook and YouTube.
    • Influencer marketing has accounted for at least 30-40% of sales in the early months since launch.
  • What’s the influencer landscape in Israel?
    • Micro-influencers are the dominant force among social media.
    • Celebrity influencers can tend to be more challenging because of demands on their time.
    • “There’s a pretty vibrant scene in Israel in terms of influencers.” (19:50)
    • Pluses and minuses of being based in Israel:
      • Limited number of consumer packaged brands.
      • Very active b2b marketplace to tap into goods globally.
      • “It’s been a very, very fast startup pace and you’ve got to be extra-agile working in Israel.” (22:05)
      • Israel is a “volcano of talent” across all sectors of the economy.
  • What’s new and exciting for Else Nutrition in 2021?
    • Envisioning a year ahead full of “something else” and a new celebrity endorser (TBA) who will be key to the brand.
    • Launching additional low-sugar vanilla and chocolate products for kids 6 months+.
    • Entering the retail space as the economy shifts back to bricks and mortar post-pandemic.
    • Geographic expansion with a focus in Europe.
  • Name an influencer you love to follow – but hate to admit it!
    • Gary Vaynerchuk –“He’s an interesting figure and very vibrant … with many interesting insights in the marketing space.”
    • Tony Robbins – “A very influential individual.”

About Sherri:

Sherri Langburt is the CEO of BabbleBoxx and has been a pioneer in the influencer marketing space since 2007. A passion for storytelling and brand marketing, and a desire to create an innovative social media solution, led Sherri to create BabbleBoxx – the influencer marketing agency best known for its co-sampling and signature box solutions. BabbleBoxx currently provides a full-range of integrated marketing services to brands across industries. Launched in December 2015, BabbleBoxx was named to the Inc. 500 fastest-growing private companies in 2018. 

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Further References/Resources:

Gary Vaynerchuck:

Tony Robbins:

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