October 27th, 2022

Episode #57

The Best Advice for Brand Managers – an Interview with Kevin Namaky

Content Outline: 

Segment 1: Foundational Info for Brand Managers

Segment 2: What are the Common Mistakes Brand Managers Make

Segment 3: Peer to Peer Interaction and Sessions with Kevin’s team


Kolbe Info - https://www.kolbe.com/

To contact Jekyll+Hyde, visit Jekyll+Hyde Labs or call 800.500.4210.

Special Guest

Kevin Namaky

Guest Biography:  Kevin is a trained educator with 20 years of experience as a CPG executive. Since founding Gurulocity in 2016, he's been empowering brand managers to think and act independently to accelerate the growth of their brands, teams, and careers by providing marketing training and consulting services to many of the country's leading CPG organizations. In doing this, Kevin has helped his clients realize over $1B in new revenue and has trained more than 1,000 brand managers. He is also a featured instructor for the American Marketing Association, lectures at the IU Kelley School of Business, and has been featured in Ad Age, Forbes, Fast Company, Business Insider, and the CMO Council. 


Email: knamaky@gurulocity.com

Website: https://gurulocity.com

Social links (Twitter/Instagram/SnapChat/Facebook):

LinkedIn >> https://www.linkedin.com/company/gurulocity

Twitter >> https://twitter.com/gurulocity

Episode Transcript


Justin Girouard, Kevin Namaky, Mark Young


Mark Young  00:18

Welcome, everybody to another edition of CPG insiders. I'm your host, Mark Young with my co host, Justin Girouard.


Justin Girouard  00:26

Thank you, Mark.


Mark Young  00:27

That's it. That's all I get.  All right, that's all I get. So folks, as you know, we are always here to try to expand your information, your knowledge of the consumer packaged goods industry. And just kind of topically just for a quick moment here before we go to a guest, looking at traffic reports, looking at foot traffic reports, this month, and we see Walmart foot traffic down considerably Walgreens down like 18%, CVS down 16%. Kroger down more in the area of like 5%, around the same as Walmart cause you still gotta buy groceries.


Justin Girouard  00:29

That's how you get.   Right.


Mark Young  01:06

And Dollar General, and Dollar Tree foot traffic is up. And where I'm going with this is not not stuff I haven't said before, but I'm going to remind you. When times are going well, and things are fine. And we're selling a product, we're competing with the products on our planogram. So if we're selling if we're selling shampoo, we're competing with the other shampoos that are on the shelf. When the economy has issues like they have right now, with fuel prices being so big and cost of living up, you know, 10%. And that 9.6% cost of living that you see that's reported by the government, the real numbers about double that because they take out certain numbers that they call transient. And they factor in technology improvements. I don't know if you knew that or not Justin. So it is an as an example, if you can buy an iPhone 13 For the same price as an iPhone 12 a year ago, then the government factors in Oh, so the price of technology just went down because that phone has more memory and works faster and has a better camera. And it's the same price. Therefore look at that the cost of living went backwards.


Justin Girouard  02:23



Mark Young  02:24

But that's not what you experience in your checkbook. That's not what you experienced when you're shopping. So what I want our people to remember, is when you have times like this, yes, you are competing with the brands that are in your category. But you're also competing with a gas station. Yeah, you're competing with hamburger, you're competing with the cost of chicken. Because when things get costly, it affects the people with the lower incomes first. And these people are having to decide, do I you know, am I going to buy the prescription medicine? Or am I going to get the dog food? Am I going to buy steaks and get the shampoo I want? Or am I going to buy hamburger to get the shampoo I want. They're having to make decisions. So where I'm going with this is it's times like this where you need to make sure that your product is the product they can't live without. That, I know that I need to conserve some money someplace. But I'm not going to conserve it in x...


Justin Girouard  03:36



Mark Young  03:36

Because I so need this product. This product is so important to me that I'm not going to sacrifice my shampoo. I'll save it someplace else. So when you're thinking about how you're communicating to your customers and every touchpoint think about let's...These are times when we want to think about less cute commercials less ethereal advertising. We focus less on how catchy our message is. And we need to be very hardcore driven on why we are superior and what we bring to your life.


Justin Girouard  04:18



Mark Young  04:19

Because remember, people buy products for their outcomes. We're buying it for the outcome the outcome might be how it performs the outcome might be how it how it makes me feel. So a particular conditioner I might buy because my hair feels it feels really soft. Justin would you like to feel my hair? No, okay, I'm just asking...


Justin Girouard  04:39

 I'm alright.


Mark Young  04:40

But I might buy Harley Davidson for how it makes me feel.


Justin Girouard  04:44



Mark Young  04:45

Because I don't want people to see me on a Honda. I want people to see me as a Harley rider and that's that's a feeling. So focus in that area. Now. We're gonna move on we have a guest today. Our guest is Kevin Namaky. Not to be confused with wacky. Kevin, you never should have said that.


Kevin Namaky  05:06

I know I never should have put it in your head.


Mark Young  05:08

There's a pardon is a part in my recent book where I tell people, if I tell you to think about a pink elephant, it is impossible for you to not see or think about a pink elephant. Because you can't not think of something. So that's kind of what you did to me there. So it's your fault.


Kevin Namaky  05:25

It's okay. I'm okay with it.


Mark Young  05:27

Kevin is an educator with 20 years of experience in the CPG business. He founded guru last city in 2016, empowering brand managers to think and act independently and accelerate the growth of their brands. He has a lot of experience in the CPG business, he has helped clients realize over a billion dollars worth of revenue, and is trained and I find this really interesting. He has trained more than 1000 brand managers.


Justin Girouard  05:54



Mark Young  05:54

Which is one of the areas I want to talk about today. Because I want to talk about what are the attributes of a great brand manager, if some of our listeners are in that position, where now I'm the entrepreneur, I'm the visionary. I'm the CEO. And it's time for me to hire a brand manager. What am I looking for? How do I find the right brand manager?


Justin Girouard  06:12



Mark Young  06:13

 So I think these are some some of the things we can cover today. So Kevin, welcome to CPG insiders. And tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey.


Kevin Namaky  06:21

Yeah. So thanks for having me, I'm really glad to be here on my journey as in brand management. So I've spent about 15 years or so working on brand management teams starting out as an ABM at one point working my way up. And then I also spent about five years or so on the agency and consulting sides have kind of lived on both sides of that fence. But really all in consumer brands that's really been my career working for working for and on companies like Kimberly Clark and Kraft and Unilever and a lot of these big brands that you see out in the marketplace. So one thing that's a little bit, I guess, different about my background than a lot of brand leaders is that I also used to be a music teacher. So I have an education degree, I used to teach music programs in schools. But fast forward to today. And that means when I when I thought about like maybe starting a company, I decided to create a marketing education company and kind of put together all the things I knew and was passionate about. So teaching and marketing and kind of bringing those things together. So that's kind of my personal journey getting here, I guess. So since then, we've been doing just a lot of training programs and development for brand management's brand management professionals in lots of other companies like the ones that I've worked for in the past. So just trying to help as many people as possible.


Justin Girouard  07:29

So to kick it off, dig in here, Kevin. So what would you say are some of the the foundational elements that you're teaching these brand managers, when you get a brand new, you know, green eyed, bushy tailed brand manager? What are the things that you're really trying to make sure they understand from the beginning?


Kevin Namaky  07:48

Yeah, from a skill set standpoint, or the deliverables that they need to make a lot of brand managers or assistant brand managers they come in from MBA or school programs or previous jobs. And in a lot of cases, you don't get what you need in school. So the things we focus on are the things you need to know when you're in that job that you don't get in typical degree programs. And those typically fall into a few different buckets or areas. One is strategy and planning, that sort of strategy as an area. So when you're a brand leader, you're doing a lot of analyses, you're analyzing the landscape, you're writing short and long term strategic plans, you're having to create a line review for Walmart or Target or whoever that you're going to that's just kind of a strategic thing. What brand finance falls in there? So knowing strategy really well is something that we go deep on, I would say, probably then another really common area is in media and creative. And that can be anything from how do you understand how to read and direct media agencies and media plans. But also, like you don't write creative briefs in school, usually. So how do you write how do you write a creative brief? How do you...anyone ever give feedback to an agency in school? Probably not. So how do you what do you say when you're in the room, so things like that will fall in there. And then we do some trainings in the innovation and research space. So similarly, you know, when you're in school, you don't normally write new product concepts. No one usually shows you like, what is the actual plan, that we're gonna go from nothing to all these ideas and have them be qualified. So those are the kinds of things we teach there. And then obviously, the last area is just more leadership, writing skills, communicating storytelling, you know, managing up, more career kind of things.


Mark Young  09:35

Let's talk about small brands from and you've done a lot of stuff with, you know, Kraft and Unilever and these guys, but let's talk about the small CPG company. The company that is in small is small in his business can be 2 to $5 million, it can be $75 million, and is still small, right? What does the manager CEO the owner of one of these companies, what should they be looking for when they're deciding it's time to have a brand manager. And well, tell us what the job description really is.


Kevin Namaky  10:11

So the way I like to explain brand management to people who are wanting to get into it, is that it's, it's a little misleading to think of it as a marketing job. It is a marketing job, that you know, I was a brand management is synonymous with the broader idea of marketing. However, I think when people think of brand management, they think of the people who make ads, right? A lot of times if they're not familiar with the role.


Mark Young  10:34

Right. And that's not the brand manager, that's the ad agent.


Kevin Namaky  10:36

Oh, yeah, brand managers rarely make ads.


Justin Girouard  10:38



Kevin Namaky  10:39

Now, they might direct the work of those agencies and evaluate and review and decide and choose, but they don't make ads. And so what brand management really is, is it's general management. You're the general manager of a business. That's the role of brand management in most traditional CPG companies. And so when you're usually a smaller CPG company, and you don't have a well established brand management practice, if you want to sort of run things really well, that's more how you need to be thinking about it. And so when you're looking for ABMS and brand managers, you want people that have the potential to be general managers, not just a marketing specialist in a particular area.


Justin Girouard  10:45



Mark Young  11:17

What would be the educational requirements that people would look for in a brand manager? I know there are some degrees like that, but what generally, where do these people usually come from?


Kevin Namaky  11:27

So if you're more like an assistant brand manager role, for the larger companies, they will almost exclusively recruit from MBA programs.


Justin Girouard  11:36



Kevin Namaky  11:36

But for the smaller CPG companies, they can't necessarily afford MBA, right? And so they're more likely to go and hire raw talent that's a little bit younger, that probably has a four year undergrad degree of some sort, whether that be marketing, communications, even some other tangential areas, and then sort of develop with them over time. So as the business is learning the way of brand management, so is the brand manager and they kind of like learn and evolve and grow together as the company grows, and then as they can add more staff. So it's kind of a learning process for everyone.


Mark Young  12:10

What kind of what kind of skill sets and what kind of personality are we looking for?


Kevin Namaky  12:14

Yeah. So when you're hiring, say, for an assistant brand manager, the reality is there, there aren't a lot of like brand management schools, you're they're gonna have maybe a general marketing degree or some kind of related degree, but they won't know necessarily all the particular. So I would recommend focusing less on those things. Like you don't need an ABM to come in knowing how to write a five year strategic plan. That's, that's probably not something that they really need to have. And that's something they can learn or learn later or be taught. I think what you really want to focus, though, are things that are more the nature of the person, and that transfer across a lot of different industries or businesses. So for example, things like, do they have a tendency towards taking initiative, taking leadership roles? Can they speak to experiences where they've stepped up into a leadership role and led groups of people that's much more valuable to me than them knowing what goes into a competitive analysis. But another good example would be being comfortable with ambiguity. And I think this is one a lot of people don't a lot of companies don't ask them they should. You really need to be comfortable working in ambiguous situations where you may not have all the information, and you know how to sort of hunt, hunt for information and get creative. Dig. And you're comfortable with that you're okay with that. If you're the kind of person that needs to be told exactly how to do everything and when to do it and how to do it, you're probably not going to do as well as a brand manager. So that's another examples with like leadership comfortableness. With their comfortability with ambiguity, I've said that right? And then things like curiosity and creativity. Are they able to be creative? Solve Problems in sort of unique ways?


Mark Young  13:55

Do you use any and I'll talk about what we use. Do you use any personality profiles or anything like that to try to match up the right person with the right management?


Kevin Namaky  14:06

I personally haven't used those. I don't have a lot of experience with those. Most of the companies I worked for I actually have not used them. Now, there are some big companies that do I think one of the most notorious ones is Procter and Gamble, they have a pretty, I would say, elaborate and deep test that you have to go through and take to get into brand management with them. And only a small percent of people sort of make it through that test. But I think that's probably more on the rare side than on the common side.


Mark Young  14:33

So here we use a couple of tests. We use the Kolbe index A and Strength Finders. And I'm gonna recommend I'm gonna as the audience Listen here, I'm gonna recommend you take a look at Kolbe. It's spelt K O L B E. And Kolbe gives you think of four colored bars. So a graph with four bars on it. And the first bar on it is what's called a Fact Finder. That's is this person, someone who just wants cursory knowledge? Is this person that wants modest knowledge? Or is this someone that someone that's a deep researcher? The next one, which is follow through, follow through kind of shows you, are they somebody who looks for the shortcut? Are they somebody who operates within a given system? Or are they the organized person that makes the organized system? The next one, is their ability to take on risk? Are they risk adverse? Are they okay with some risk? Are they heavy risk takers? And the last one, on there is essentially how they visualize the world. Are they, are they someone who, when we're talking about a new package, they can see the package in their head? Or are they someone that has to see it on a piece of paper and has to hold it in their hand in order to visualize it? Now, the reason these scores are important isn't because there's a right or wrong answer. It's important because what you want to look for, is you want to look for teams that complement each other's skill sets. So it works out really well to figure out who is the supervision of this brand manager. And that person's Kolbe score. And now look at the Kolbe scores of the brand manager candidates, and find Kolbe scores that are compatible. So as an example, if you're a CEO, and you've decided you want to hire a brand manager, you're probably hiring a brand manager because you don't want that job yourself. Which probably means you don't want to hire someone who's just like you. Because we've already determined you don't want that job.


Justin Girouard  16:44



Mark Young  16:45

So chances are if you hire somebody just like you, they will not want this job either eventually. So you want to hire people who have the kind of opposite skill sets.


Justin Girouard  16:56



Mark Young  16:57

Yeah, it depends what the role is.  Right.


Kevin Namaky  16:59

But complementary is, right.


Justin Girouard  17:01



Mark Young  17:02

But when I think about a CEO looking to bring in their first brand manager, I probably want somebody who's longer on follow through deeper on research, probably someone who's not a big risk taker, someone who's probably a little risk adverse...


Justin Girouard  17:19



Mark Young  17:19

because as an entrepreneur, you are a big risk taker. So we'd everybody in the company doesn't need to be a big risk taker. Sometimes it's okay to have somebody who's on the other side of that scale, because there are a balance...


Justin Girouard  17:32



Mark Young  17:32

...to the risk taker. Now, Kevin, when we, you've trained 1,000  over 1,000 brand managers, how do you do that? Do companies hire you and bring you in to help them establish a brand management practice?


Kevin Namaky  17:49

Typically, the way it will happen is they'll have one or two scenarios. So for the I would say, mid to bigger size brands, they are more likely to hire us to come in and do some in depth training workshops, whether that's a half day full day, multi day, stringing them into a week into and to go deep on some of these topics, like I've described. So they might say, hey, we have some weaknesses in briefing agencies and giving them feedback. And we're not working as well with the agencies as we want, can we come and go really deep on this, and spend time with our team, whether that's 10, 20, maybe even 30 people in some cases, and level set and make sure everybody understands really how we want to be doing this. So that's one way, right. So you can come in for a day. And you'll train, you know, a large, a large team potentially. But the other way more recently, as we've established membership programs, which involves membership, not just on demand content, but community and some live events, and some things like that. And what that's allowed us to do is to also now train individuals or smaller teams. So typically, when you have training workshops, or training events, those are effective, but there's a couple issues with them. One is they're expensive. So to come in and do an in depth session like that, to have a live facilitator like that can be really costly. So, most of these, most businesses don't have tons and tons and tons of money set aside for these trainings in their budgets. So it can only go so far. But with something more like a membership program, where you can maybe sign up as an individual or even 1,2,3 people. Now smaller brands can get help because it doesn't make sense for a small brand to do some huge elaborate multi day training for like two people. Right? So programs like this. And with technology nowadays, it's become easier to sort of reach more people. Now you can have a one or two person team on a company credit card even or even on their own if they want to, can sign up for a program. So that's how we're starting to reach more and more people now even beyond those live workshops.


Mark Young  19:45

Okay, so that makes that makes a lot more sense. So now this can be more affordable.


Justin Girouard  19:50



Mark Young  19:50

For smaller companies. Is there any is there any peer to peer type of activity in these sessions?


Kevin Namaky  19:57

Yeah, so if we were to do if we were to do live training for accompany. There's a lot of peer to peer interaction, because what one of the things we try to do in the way we design, all of our trainings is we try to make sure they are very practical. And they can be used immediately or applied immediately. So one of the things we really want to avoid is, when you come out of school and a lot of schools are theory based. And you're not, you don't necessarily hold a job while you're in school, you don't immediately apply things. And so in our training workshops, we use a lot of case studies and examples. And we'll actually have larger groups break down into small teams. Two three at the most, maybe four people in a team. And they'll have to work these case studies. So for example, we're doing a training on how to write a creative brief. They're practicing writing every piece of that brief with their peers, they're getting feedback from their peers, they're sharing with the room, they're getting instructor feedback. So you're kind of learning as you go. And then we try to give them all the tools or templates or worksheets. So the very next day, they can turn around and do it for their business, or they can quickly and easily apply things. So that's how we're trying to get kind of live practice and peer to peer interaction and learning there. And then on the membership side, if they're in our online learning platform, there is a community component to that where they can interact with their peers, they can interact with experts, they can ask questions, and we have live events there as well.


Mark Young  21:18

Which is really good, because not only are they getting to interact with experts, but you're getting to talk to other people with your job...


Justin Girouard  21:24



Mark Young  21:25

...that are not necessarily competing with your company. But they're still doing the same job. And it's great to be able to have the opportunity to talk to other people with the same job and say, how do you deal with this?


Kevin Namaky  21:36

Yeah, that's exactly right. One of the really nice things related to that is a lot of times new assistant brand managers, new, newer brand managers, they're afraid to show weakness, they're kind of taught to like always give the appearance of like they know what they're doing. And so that it's rare that they're going to want to admit weakness to their boss, ask their boss a question. And then basically, like, admit that they don't know how to do something. In a community like that, or an on an online platform, they can go and ask their peers in other companies or industries, but there's no personal consequence, right? It's not like they're getting embarrassed in front of their boss by asking a question. It can even be as simple as like, hey, do you guys have a template, you really like to make this, that or the other and, and they can, you know, get that or they can go in there and say, hey, we're doing a lot of new activations now. As a brand, we've never really done that before. We want to do more of them. What agency do you guys use? Yeah, they just have a place to go to just ask simple questions without having to, you know, bug their boss with it.


Justin Girouard  22:32



Mark Young  22:32

Now it makes sense. Now, how do how so company owners find you what's where do they? How do they get in touch with you?


Kevin Namaky  22:39

So we've got a website at gurulocity.com. And we we actually get a lot of people coming to us there really through SEO and Google. We're one of the few companies doing some of these really specific trainings for brand management, and in the CPG space. And so we get found a lot through search the websites kind of the main way that we, that people come to us and they can get in touch with us there. There's, you know, contact forms and things like that. And then the other way is, I'm pretty big on LinkedIn. And so I'm connected to quite a number of people there, and a lot of people reach out that way.


Mark Young  23:10

Okay, so folks, so if you go to CPG insiders, and go to the show notes for this episode, so don't worry about driving the car and writing this down, go to the show notes. There'll be a link to the website linked to the in a link to the LinkedIn page. We'll all be there.


Justin Girouard  23:26

Yep, absolutely. So what did so Kevin with your experience, and you've done again, you've you've trained so many brand managers, I'm sure you have tons of knowledge for the brand managers, but flipping it over to as we talk about the the entrepreneurs or the managers above them. What advice do you have when they're bringing on new brand manager? What are the things that they can do to not only just hire the right person, but right now you hired them, they're here, what can you do to help them be successful?


Mark Young  23:55

Especially if it's like your first brand manager, you don't have an you don't have an onboarding. You don't have a training program.


Kevin Namaky  24:00

 Yeah, it's it's a great question. And actually, even bigger companies, a lot of times don't have well thought through onboarding programs, like their onboarding is you're gonna sit with HR for a day, and learn about how the company organized in Delaware or something. It's like they don't care. I don't need to know any of that. Here's your health benefits ready, set, go.


Mark Young  24:17

Here's how you fill out here's how you fill out a time sheet.


Kevin Namaky  24:21

Yeah. Well, I would, I would say I would think about it in a as like a framework that can be applied to a lot of situations. What I think about when I think of on good onboarding is, you think of people and processes and subject matter expertise, right? So I would think about those things and go, okay, if I really want to train somebody up on my business, that I need to identify the people that they need to interact with and leverage, right so they can get learning from peers or cross functional partners, who are those people? I think about process so what are our most important processes that we're using to create work to this point or get work done? And then I think of subjects matter expertise, so most CPG companies, there's a sub industry, right? So like whether I'm in making shampoo or dog food. Now there's a particular way we make things and a particular supply chain and all of that. And so or even the research and development and the science side of things. And so I think of that as subject matter expertise. So I think of those buckets, right people processes, who are the right people, how are we getting things done? And then what's the subject matter expertise, and I would try to connect a new person to all of those things, right. So I would like when I was managing and bringing in my own ABMs, I would pretty much have their first two weeks fully scheduled when they walked in the door and it'd be scheduled with those things. Here's the 10 people you need to meet. Here's the three or four processes you have to know about. And here's the couple of scientists, the and the manufacturer, that I want you to go do a tour in the factory, like I had that list. And then I knew at least after a few weeks, or whatever it was that we were gonna go through this process, they would know enough about my business to pretty much get running. And then it's a matter of okay, now let's talk specific about where the opportunities are from a marketing standpoint.


Justin Girouard  26:07

Right. So I'm wondering, on the flip side of that, because you've we've talked about, you know, what are the things to look for for a good brand manager was the intangibles, as you discussed, which I think are very important. I agree with 1,000%. And then now, what's a good way to onboard them? Great. So let's talk about the uncomfortable part. What are there certain other potentially like certain signs that a CEO can look forward to be like, you know what, this one's just not going to work out. Like other certain telltale signs that you say, hey, here are the warning signs that you need to look look out for when you're evaluating your brand managers outside of the whatever basic performance metrics you might have created. Right? I'm sure there's something in place. But there's a lot of other signs, I'm sure that could be out there to be like, you know, this is probably not the right fit, and it might be time to move on.


Kevin Namaky  26:58

Yeah, I think there are some common red flags. And also depends a little bit on how you want your ABMs in your brand managers to evolve, like what's the potential there. So for example, if you want, not every ABM and brand manager is going to be built to be a CMO someday. And that's okay, because you only need one CMO, and you need like a whole lot more brand managers.


Justin Girouard  27:21



Kevin Namaky  27:22

But there are like some red flags that would be tip offs to me, that's brand management might not be right for this person. And this happens a lot like people want to get into brain manage, because it seems cool. They think they work on ads, they think they do all this cool stuff, oh, they're in charge, they get to make the decisions, they manage the money. It's like, okay, I want to be in brand management. But if you if you get in there, and what you find is okay, my ABM or my brand manager is having trouble thinking a little more long term, right? Like, sometimes you'll work with someone long enough. And you'll kind of get the sense that like, I'm not sure this person sees the future vision very well, like they kind of get my mired down and things that are right in front of them, which you have to be able to see that. But if it's the only thing you see, to me, a red flag kind of goes up. Another one is taking initiative, which I mentioned, you know, you want to interview for that coming in. But after working with someone for a while, you can tell if they're the kind of person that waits for things to happen and lets the business run them. Versus the kind of person that takes initiative doesn't wait is proactive and runs the business. Those are two really different kinds of people. And you'll get a feel for that after working with someone for a few months. So that's another one. And then I would say another is kind of like people slash communication skills. So you really need to be able to listen, especially if you're a newer ABM and brand manager, listen and absorb like a sponge, listen really well have empathy for people. And then you have to be a good communicator. So when you choose to speak, you're able to speak well people listen to you, you can clearly communicate your ideas, both in writing, presentation, orally, and it's hard to teach good communication skills if somebody doesn't naturally do that. So those are the big things that kind of come to mind. Those would be areas that if I saw red flags go up in those areas, I would say, Well, maybe they'd be a good ABM. But I don't know if there'll be a director.


Justin Girouard  29:08

Right. Right. And, and so, I guess, you know, talking about everything that you're doing, and, and we will say on our end, you know, we work with tons of clients. And, and this is always something that, especially because we've worked with a lot of the midsize brands that were we do experience a lot of brand managers that are inexperienced and haven't had the the knowledge that you're talking about here to even just some of these skills. And so we're always trying to play we're always trying to, to help teach and build the business at the same time. So the fact that you're providing the service to help businesses build organizationally and build this talent, I think is amazing. What would you say I guess is, you know, you've been doing this for a while. So what what is some of the top, I guess, feedback or benefits that you're consistently hearing from your clients, the people coming through this day, here are the top takeaways that I get. I'm constantly people are taking away from the work that we're doing with them.


Kevin Namaky  30:08

Yeah, I would, I would say differs a little bit depending who you what level you're asking. So if you're talking to like ABMs and brand managers who go through these trainings, I think they're just ecstatic that somebody's helping them. I think I think they know, you know, I think they come in very competent, I think they come in thinking like, I've got a degree, I'm ready to go, it's like, this is going to be great. And then after about six to nine months, they start to realize like, it's a lot of baptism by fire. So that's what they'll play back to you like it's baptism by fire, I just have to kind of figure it out. So when they get trainings like these, they're just really thankful. Like, I'm, I'm glad somebody just walked me through this so that I didn't have to feel dumb asking like, and now I can really use this, I feel like my work is going to be better, I'm going to look good to my boss, or I'm going to maybe look good relative to the peers that I'm competing with, because it can be a competitive competitive profession. If you talk to like, the directors, the VPs, the people whose teams are being trained, they think about it a little differently, have a different range of benefits, like yes, my people are more productive. Yeah, there's, there's like less rework. But selfishly, they're saying things like, I feel like I have more time now. Because I'm not having to read feel like I have to jump in and micromanage or do somebody's work for them just to get it done. Because we've got deadlines, and I'm running the business I can't teach while at the same time I'm running the business. So there's very much like a time issue time crunch personal time. So they're, they feel more like, Yeah, I'm actually freed up a little bit, I can think about my strategy now. I haven't thought about my five year strategy, and the next board of directors meeting, that's the stuff I want to get to. So those are kind of the things that they're appreciating.


Mark Young  31:42

Well, folks, if you want to get in touch with Kevin, just go to the show notes. As I said earlier, you'll find a link to his LinkedIn page link to his website. Kevin, we appreciate you being with us. I'm gonna ask you one last question. And you can answer this any way you want. With all the experience you have in the CPG industry, what do you think is, you know, roughly, what's the three most important pieces of advice you would give to a up and coming and growing CPG, you know, CEO?


Justin Girouard  31:42



Kevin Namaky  32:13

To the up and coming CEO...


Mark Young  32:16

And fairly new brand.


Kevin Namaky  32:18

I would say I'll remember to to value your people. And the reason I say this is a lot of companies and CEOs and CMOS, they give a lot of great lip service to saying our people are the most important thing. Like everybody knows your people are the most important thing. I think it's really different to see people live that and live that for a long period of time. Right? People go through phases. Yes, My people are important, will be i you say that, because we're losing people when they're unhappy. Like. Okay, well, they're important now I'm gonna focus on it right. And then after a couple years, people seem pretty happy. And then you lose focus on it. And then you cut training budgets, and then you sort of don't have good onboarding, and you lose track of it. I think to consistently value people, and the amount of time you spend with them, the amount of resources you put towards onboarding, all those things are really important, but hard to sustain over time. So that's one thing I would say is don't lose sight of that when you're small, you're thinking about that, because everything's kind of new. But as you get bigger and bigger and more disconnected from your business, as an executive, you start to lose touch with what it's like to be new. Just because the business is so big, you're not able to kind of visit everybody's office anymore. So I would say try to that's probably the one thing I would say maybe at the top of the list, so that we kind of be the first thing that comes to mind. But you've asked for three, which is a lot.


Mark Young  33:38

Well, if you have three. I don't want to hold your feet to the fire, I was giving you the opportunity to have more than one because...


Kevin Namaky  33:45

Yeah, that's that's a big one. So I'll tell you another one, though, a lot of a lot of companies, executives, you know that companies start smaller, and then they grow. And then what executives start to look for are advice or a peer group, right. And that's where you get into maybe I should have a board of directors, maybe I should have some kind of high level group that meets I get advice from and then we help make decisions and direct the work of the company. And that's all great. But I think also that that's another place where you can kind of lose sight of things. So people coming in from the outside that are disconnected from the business that that you might think have answers but that are coming in. And I think listening to the people around you and being connected to that and having that information would ideally continue to carry a lot of weight. But a lot of times as executives sort of consult other people and go outside of that. I mean, there's benefit to that. I mean, don't get me wrong. But again, you're introducing not only now more people in a bigger company, but more people in the decision making process and in that executive ring, and the best companies make decisions quickly. They have a visionary CEO that just makes decisions. And if you're a CEO that has trouble making decisions or feels like you have to consult a lot of people or you got to get a lot of people aligned. Hey, I got news for you. You're the CEO, and the greatest companies, the CEOs, they make the call and they live with it right or wrong. And part of your job is to have that vision. So I think a lot of times, you can get bogged down and things that prevent you from moving quickly prevents you from doing what you know is right. And being able to, you know, react quickly to things and move the business forward.


Mark Young  35:20

My father, who had had his own business used to say to me when I was a kid, you know, right or wrong, make a decision and move forward. And, you know, kind of hope that you that you make, you know, 51% of them are the correct one.


Kevin Namaky  35:35

Yeah. And you know, what great strategy, I say this, my training is great strategy is about making choices. And it seems obvious to people when you say that, but people don't do it. It's not in your nature to do it necessarily. And so great strategies about making great choices. And in fact, making a choice is more important than which choice you make. And that's something that we teach brand leaders all the time when they're writing strategy. And I think the same goes for executives.


Mark Young  36:00

Well Kevin, thanks for being with us. That's it for today on CPG insiders. If you enjoyed today's show, please go to wherever you get your podcasts, leave us a five star review. As always, don't forget to, I want to remind people thing, go if you want to go to our website, and send us an email if you want to be signed up for our email list, because we send out regular videos, we send out a lot of white papers with a lot of content in it. So if you're enjoying the show, you probably might want to also take benefit of that.


Justin Girouard  36:34



Mark Young  36:34

And if you ever have questions where you want to talk to Justin or you want to talk to me, just go to CPGinsiders.com, or JekyllHydelabs.com and go to either one and you'll find find us at either one of those sites. We'll see you back here on the next episode of CPG insiders. If you're looking to greatly increase sales on your CPG product, don't hesitate to contact us at Jekyll and Hyde advertising and marketing. By the way, the only advertising agency with a guaranteed results just go to Jekyll Hyde agency.com Or feel free to give us a call at 800-500-4210