Fresh Thinking

Women Of The C-Suite: Keren Novack of Curion On The Five Things You Need To Succeed As A Senior Executive

Women Of The C-Suite: Keren Novack of Curion On The Five Things You Need To Succeed As A Senior Executive 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Curion’s President, Keren Novack, spoke with Candice Georgiadis, from Authority Magazine on the five things you need to succeed as a senior executive.

“Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and trust yourself to handle the stress that follows”

Learn what 5 things are needed to succeed as a senior executive from Keren’s point of view!

Read More HERE

Out with the new, in with the old

Out with the new, in with the old 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Consumers seek nostalgia and familiarity through established brands

Where do people turn after dealing with the uncertainty of a global pandemic, a tumultuous election season, and an economic crisis? Comfort and familiarity. For decades, nostalgia has provided warmth and predictability in times of chaos. Throughout World War 2, the financial turmoil of the 70s, 9/11, and the Great Recession, consumers grasped for familiar textures, scents, and colors intertwined with feelings of safety and predictability. In 2020, consumers reached for products that transport them to simpler times when pandemics were left to history books and sci-fi films.

Our current push towards nostalgia and comfort is a lifeline to many CPG brands that lost a bit of relevance before the pandemic hit. As the level of products’ “safety” and “familiarity” drive decision-making, consumers gravitate towards the brands they grew up with rather than their more sophisticated counterparts.

Our Consumer Pulse Survey (circulating to our database of consumers nationwide until March 2020) detected the same pattern. Purchases of frozen treats, desserts, and snacks increased 45% compared to pre-COVID times. Purchases of desserts and sweet treats continue to uptick as Americans attempt to offset emotional strain with foods that bring happiness.

As consumers’ priorities shift to comfort, the same brands struggling to stay afloat a year ago now find themselves riding the wave of nostalgia. Large companies such as the Campbell’s Soup Company, where sales have been declining over the past few years, are increasing their production, hiring new employees, and raising wages for hourly employees to keep up with the demand.

Of course, the definition of “nostalgic” varies by household demographics and generation. COVID-19’s stay-at-home mandate allowed older family members to expose their children and grandchildren to the brands they knew and trusted decades ago. The result? A generation removed from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and calming Campbell’s chicken noodle soup was suddenly exposed to both.

The gravitational pull of nostalgia affects millennials in an equally intriguing way. Brands that millennials loved as children such as Fruit Roll-Ups and Ramen Noodles have long been replaced by meticulously branded, health-focused, more mature newcomers sold by the likes of Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Yet when the pandemic introduced a desire for comfort and familiarity, millennials ran back towards the artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup, and red food dye they’d sworn off as adults. As millennials reach for products they’d typically pass without a second thought (i.e., I, as a 26-year-old woman, purchased a Baby Bottle Pop for myself the other day), nostalgia is resuscitating brands and products that lost steam in the health-conscious 2010s.

The demand for these lost comfort foods directly translated into sales – Campbell’s soup sales soared 59% compared to a year ago, Prego pasta sauce increased 52% YOY, and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers’ sales also climbed nearly 23%. The push for nostalgia benefits well-known brands over lesser-established players.

“There is potential for increased preference for established, reputable, dependable brands that solve newly framed problems better than other alternatives,” Jon R. Moeller, Procter & Gamble’s CFO, said when announcing strong-third quarter earnings. Well-known P&G brands such as Tide Detergent and Charmin toilet paper have increased in sales by 20%.

Consumers’ sweet tooth for nostalgia doesn’t just open the door for struggling brands to win back customers, it also allows less established brands to connect with consumers in new ways. Successful marketing involves engaging and emotionally affecting the consumer – making nostalgia-driven campaigns lean, mean, conversion machines. Cereal companies such as General Mills are relaunching classic cereal formulations and their original 1980s themed boxes. However, packaging and formula reboots aren’t the only way we’re seeing CPG brands spearheading nostalgia-based research initiatives. Companies are also relaunching product lines from yesteryear and remastering jingles from the past.

When it comes to leveraging nostalgia to appeal to consumers’ sense of familiarity, established brands hold a clear advantage. The crunch of a Lay’s potato chip brings memories of summer camp picnics and Fourth of July celebrations in a way a baked quinoa crisp cannot. Similarly, a dairy-free whipped air concoction is incapable of conjuring the memory of catching the ice-cream truck for a decadent creamy treat. The real question is: how long will this advantage last? Can comfort brands find a way to harness this newly found momentum and turn it into a sustainable strategy forward?

For the companies that missed out on the 2015-2019 developmental surge, forfeiting shelf space to emerging brands with nimble marketing strategies, the post-pandemic nostalgia surge presents a unique opportunity to reclaim lost territory. For those CPG companies seizing the moment, they embody the saying ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’. Determined not to be fooled twice, these brands are accelerating innovation and pouring resources into R&D and consumer insights to re-establish themselves as industry leaders.

Katie Fellows Named Vice President of Client Services for the Midwest at Curion

Katie Fellows Named Vice President of Client Services for the Midwest at Curion 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Katie Fellows has been promoted from her position as Director of Client Services for the West to the Vice President of Client Services for the Midwest at Chicago based, Curion, the world class consumer insights and sensory company that accelerates client businesses by providing powerful, actionable consumer data for Fortune 500 and other blue-chip companies in the food and beverage, personal care, fine fragrance and home and fabric care industries.

In her new role as VP of Client Services, Katie will be leading strategic consultation for Curion’s Midwest client base in product and marketplace performance. She will also be guiding Curion’s account management and sales teams to meet their revenue targets in the Midwest. Katie’s promotion comes after only eight months with the company, where she worked to design and manage research projects for several of Curion’s largest clients.

Katie has been a sensory & consumer science expert for several leading food & beverage companies for over 15 years. She started her sensory career with Pepsi-Co where she brought her expertise to Tropicana and Gatorade brands. She also worked with KraftHeinz where she managed an internal sensory & consumer science center, helping to conduct strategic market research programs for consumer segmentation, brand health tracking, and product innovation.

Curion CEO, Sean Bisceglia, adds, “Katie’s previous experience at Pepsi and KraftHeinz give her unique insight into the needs of our clients that has helped her successfully grow relationships in the west. It only makes sense to bring her talents to lead our Midwest Team, where she will have the chance to continue meeting and building our clients’ objectives.”

“I believe strongly in Curion’s mission to be disruptors in the industry and drive real value for the clients we support,” says Fellows. “The portfolio of clients in the Midwest is truly impressive,” continues Fellows. “My passion is designing research to have the greatest possible impact on the business. I could not be any more excited to see first-hand how Curion can help each of these clients drive their businesses even further.”

About Curion:
Curion provides world-class quantitative and qualitative product insights. Applying proven industry-leading, innovative methods to service over 65% of Global 100 companies, Curion works with its clients to determine not only what products consumers like, but why they are liked and how. As a result, Curion clients mitigate risk of marketplace failure by ensuring that only products of quality and character will be introduced to the market, providing repeatable delight to their consumers. Curion accomplishes this with its disruptive methods and approaches, sensory processes, facilities and world-class data insights. In 2019 alone, Curion tested 127,000 consumers across its San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and New York metropolitan-area facilities. The result of a merger between Q Research Solutions and Tragon Corp., Curion brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the consumer science industries.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Lisa Spathis, Lisa Spathis Public Relations, Inc.,
lisaspathis@gmail.com
847. 831.1367

Keren Novack Named President at Curion

Keren Novack Named President at Curion 150 150 Katie Maslanka

We are ecstatic to announce that Keren Novack has been promoted from Vice President of Client Services for the Midwest to President at Chicago based, Curion, the world class consumer insights and sensory company that accelerates client businesses by providing powerful, actionable consumer data for Fortune 500 and other blue-chip companies in the food and beverage, personal care, fine fragrance and home and fabric care industries.

In her new role as President, Novack will be responsible for providing strategic direction for existing client business, as well as Curion’s own operations. She will be leading the company’s regional VP’s to drive revenue, staffing, and client satisfaction.

Keren’s long career at Curion began 11 years ago as a Sensory and Consumer Insights Manager, where she designed and managed research projects for top CPG clients. In her role as VP of Client Services for the Midwest, Keren spearheaded Curion’s account management team to drive and expand innovations in research for the company’s entire Midwest client base. An inspiring, true subject matter expert in the industry, Keren has a strong history of building QDA panels and speaking at events that include Quirks NYC, Quirks Chicago, and Insights NEXT, just to name a few. Her breadth of knowledge spans industries and her portfolio is second to none. Through her immense expertise and established leadership, the team has been able to expand their client portfolio and far surpass revenue targets for the region. We are extremely excited to see how she uses her expertise to innovate and bring clients the solutions they need to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry.

Sean Bisceglia, CEO of Curion, states, “Keren has been bringing agility and innovation to research throughout her 11-year tenure with Curion. She has supported some of the largest CPG brands, bringing robust ideas and methods to the forefront while training team members and growing talent. As we continue our growth into 2021, Keren’s experience will be invaluable in leading the company forward.”

“I have been passionate about this company since the day I started in September 2009,” says Novack. “On that day I saw something special, it lit a spark in me that that is stronger today than it ever was. I have a deep appreciation for our industry, our clients and this organization,” she continues. “In the past two years under Sean’s leadership we have experienced a period of tremendous growth and I’m thrilled to be able to grow my career as President of Curion.”

About Curion:
Curion provides world-class quantitative and qualitative product insights. Applying proven industry-leading, innovative methods to service over 65% of Global 100 companies, Curion works with its clients to determine not only what products consumers like, but why they are liked and how. As a result, Curion clients mitigate risk of marketplace failure by ensuring that only products of quality and character will be introduced to the market, providing repeatable delight to their consumers. Curion accomplishes this with its disruptive methods and approaches, sensory processes, facilities and world-class data insights. In 2019 alone, Curion tested 127,000 consumers across its San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and New York metropolitan-area facilities. The result of a merger between Q Research Solutions and Tragon Corp., Curion brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the consumer science industries.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Lisa Spathis, Lisa Spathis Public Relations, Inc.,
lisaspathis@gmail.com
847. 831.1367

CFBN Presents Insiders’ View: Acquiring and Being Acquired

CFBN Presents Insiders’ View: Acquiring and Being Acquired 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Last week Curion’s CEO, Sean Bisceglia, along with industry experts from RXBAR, S2G Ventures, C.A. Fortune and Mondelez, explored growth capital, the current acquisition space, and the role that the big brand – small brand relationship development plays.

When it comes to adapting to ever-changing consumer preferences, food and beverage companies often exercise one of these options:

1) Change their ingredients in current products to make them healthier, more innovative, or fitting of a new trend or offering

2) Internally develop new products – with all the R&D, marketing, and innovation budgets and time to do so Or,

3) Acquire or merge with a younger company with their finger already on the new product or channel.

The role of acquisitions in the growth of a big brand and a small brand can often be crucial to their long-term success. But, the relationship between those players – and how they wield that capital and their new relationship over time can be even more important.

Join us for a conversation exploring growth capital, the current acquisition space, and the role that the big brand – small brand relationship development plays during our final Founders Series conversation for 2020.!

The New Worldwide Revolution: Innovation

The New Worldwide Revolution: Innovation 150 150 Katie Maslanka

As consumer needs are evolving at a record pace, CPG companies must be able to follow suit

2020 is year that will go down in history as the start to a new revolution, the Innovation Revolution. COVID-19 has forced every sector of life to pivot and adapt in order to survive. Large scale abstract thinking and creativity are carving out new ways of solving problems. Old processes are being replaced sooner in the development cycle as R&D optimizes to increase companies’ bottom lines. Because consumer priorities have never been more mercurial, organizations must be able and ready to pivot on a moment’s notice.

Industrial Revolutions are a staple in our history. There have been 4 in the last 250 years. The late 1780s brought the ground-breaking hydroelectric and steam-powered mechanical production. World War 1 catalyzed mass assembly of goods using electricity, and the 1960s introduced the first automated production of electronic and IT production. In the last 25 years, the Platform Revolution normalized technology between human and machine. Businesses like Amazon, Uber and Facebook were platforms built with two-sided markets. These types of platforms have revolutionized the way we live, work and play.

CPG companies have to stay ahead of the curve and keep a finger on the consumer’s constantly evolving perspective to survive. Yet the shift of “in-context” from the office, gym, and airport to the home has caused consumer insights to be more difficult than ever to gather, but more vital than ever. Antiquated forms of gathering remote consumer insight can lack authenticity and nuances that reflect the comprehensive data story needed for innovation. While useful, surveys are dependent on the consumer’s honesty and transparency. To provide unfiltered, genuine in-context insights to our clients, we must transform our research techniques to mold seamlessly into the lives of the Innovation Revolution consumer — by innovating ourselves.

To pivot at such a rapid pace, our clients need almost play-by-play insights. To accommodate this, we’ve developed a more robust and authentic strategy for extracting in-context consumer insights through a hybrid model of 70% in-person and 30% digital research. By partnering with a monthly subscription company, we circulated products to consumers to create an in-person experience and recorded reactions digitally. Recent technological advancements also provide opportunities to glean genuine insights from consumers at their homes. Partnering with tools like voice command companies such as Alexa and Siri to ask consumers questions could create more spur-of-the-moment, organic interactions. Zoom and other video-chat apps also hold the potential to generate more unscripted product insights. We’re even entertaining the idea of software that sprays scents in consumers’ homes and records their immediate reactions. Technology is a bridge to consumers the same way remote workers stay connected to their teams — a means to an end that we will capitalize on as much as possible.

Another interesting piece to the innovation revolution is both the opportunity and the threat it poses to companies. As 72% of consumers are open to trying new brands, 54% of consumers are on the hunt for more nutritious alternatives to their go-to products, and 28% of consumers report their snacking habits are changing daily, brands have a chance to gain new customers by aligning themselves with current needs. Companies also can’t rely on customers for brand loyalty and will need to up their game to retain consumers. The strong will survive, the strongest will use this revolution as an opportunity to become trends, and those who withstand the test of time will become legacies.

As terrifying and uncertain as this time is, the innovation revolution presents a way for companies to re-imagine and re-create themselves to better serve the most-pandemic consumer. Change is an inevitable byproduct of revolutions. Companies have two options: to ignore the call to innovate and become obsolete, or embrace it and experience growth. As a consumer insights company, we cannot wait to continue innovating alongside our clients to provide the consumer transparency vital to emerging from this revolution stronger than ever.

Sean Bisceglia of Curion: Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry

Sean Bisceglia of Curion: Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Curion’s CEO, Sean Bisceglia, spoke with Jilea H. from Authority Magazine on purchasing trends, predictions on innovation, and much more within the modern beauty industry. “These days, consumers are switching to a more minimal approach and are making investments in brands they really care about. Brands who want to succeed in the modern beauty industry have to first recognize that and then act accordingly.”

Read More HERE

Sean Bisceglia of Curion: How We Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy

Sean Bisceglia of Curion: How We Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy 150 150 Katie Maslanka

In the latest article from Authority Magazine Curion’s CEO, Sean Bisceglia, discussed how he is managing the effect of Covid here at Curion, opportunities he anticipates in the Post-Covid economy and everything in between. “There’s no silver bullet that’s going to fix the economy and bring us back to where we were — we all have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.” Read the whole article HERE.

Online research is unlikely to become the new normal

Online research is unlikely to become the new normal 150 150 Katie Maslanka

Curion’s CEO, Sean Bisceglia, shares why in-person research methodologies, from focus groups to category appraisals, are so important. “Regardless of any variance in the online to in-person research ratio, the consumer insights industry will rely on the return of in-person testing to fully inform and empower companies to confidently approach the future.” Check out the full article featured on Quirks and featured on Insights Association HERE.

Curion’s Webinar Series Donated $10,775 in partnerships with Feeding America

Curion’s Webinar Series Donated $10,775 in partnerships with Feeding America 150 150 Katie Maslanka

On June 1st 2020 Curion concluded it’s 4 part Learn and Give Back Webinar Series. Thank you to everyone who attended. With your support, Curion was able to donate $10,775 to Feeding America, a nonprofit organization of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community-based agencies.

If you missed our any of our webinars you can view the recordings here.

Partner with Curion and let’s fight to end hunger together. Curion will donate 1% of its sales to Feeding America, for any new projects completed now through June 30th

How to get started: Reach out to your Curion account manager.