ForceForward is a video interview series that highlights some of the positive momentum in the consumer brand universe. Each episode features a conversation with one of the industry’s top thought leaders and offers a glimpse into what business looks like tomorrow.
ForceForward speaks to ambitious entrepreneurs, executive leaders, and transformational brand builders who are looking for innovative ways to pivot and evolve and create opportunities amid challenges.
New episodes of the forward-leaning series launch across ForceBrands’ channels on Tuesdays.
Explore highlights from past episodes:
JOSH WAND | CEO + Founder, ForceBrands and PINATA
As a leader of two high growth companies, ForceBrands and PINATA, Josh shares how he approaches leadership in crisis, how organizations are redesigning, and how the face of hiring as we know it is changing.
“I’m a peaceful warrior, and I’m a spiritual guy, but guess what? I’m absolutely a wartime CEO and I know it,” Wand said. “This is when I have the clearest mind. This is when I can see things and I understand exactly what an opportunity looks like.”
MEGHAN ASHA | Founder, FounderMade
We caught up with FounderMade‘s Founder Meghan Asha to learn how she’s pivoted the company’s business model to adapt to today’s climate amid COVID-19. FounderMade, a brand discovery platform that hosts trade shows and events to connect brands with key retailers and industry leaders, has since moved brand connectivity online since COVID-19’s outbreak in early March.
“The best brands tell their story, and right now digital is everything,” Asha said. “I think building a really strong business online is how you get through this. Diversify your revenue stream and figure out how you can go digital and pivot to digital as quickly as possible.”
LISA HURWITZ | Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Grassroots
One of the more positive business narratives to emerge amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been the fact that the government has deemed cannabis businesses essential, further legitimizing cannabis as a powerful CPG player.
We caught up with Lisa Hurwitz, the Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Grassroots to learn more about the state of the cannabis industry, how marketing strategies have shifted amid COVID-19, and what excites her most about the future of the sector.
ERICA HUSS & ZOË SAKOUTIS | Founders, Earth & Star
Erica Huss and Zoë Sakoutis weren’t on the hunt for the next big trend in CPG. Category trailblazers with BluePrint cold pressed juice, which was acquired by Hain Celestial in 2012, both entrepreneurs were busy producing their wellness podcast Highway To Well when the idea to start a new venture presented itself.
“We weren’t necessarily searching for the next superfood or healthy lifestyle habit,” Sakoutis told ForceBrands. “It was sort of a moment where Erica and I were both users of a product.”
And that product, functional mushrooms, is what inspired them to launch Earth & Star. We caught up with them to learn more about the company and their journey back into CPG.
JOSH WAND & IAN FERGUSON | Founders, Hayday
Timing is everything. When the COVID-19 crisis hit in mid-March, no one could have predicted the sheer disruption of their daily lives caused by the virus. While companies adopted remote workplaces — many reducing their overall workforces — and adjusted their business models, the timing presented a unique opportunity for the team behind PINATA to leverage their enterprise software in the earliest stages of the pandemic for a greater cause: health and wellness.
PINATA, designed to revolutionize field marketing, is a flexible, data-driven platform where brands, agencies, and freelance talent collaborate to create elevated consumer experiences. In the absence of in-person events and activations due to COVID-19, PINATA’s team developed and launched Hayday, a new workplace wellness solution software that takes care of people.
NIK SHARMA | CEO, Sharma Brands
Just Google search Nik Sharma and you’ll find a host of articles describing him as ‘the DTC guy.’ It’s a fitting title, too, considering he’s long been a digital guru. At the age of 15, he was helping to craft the social strategies for celebrities like MAGIC! and Pitbutt. Now, he’s helming Sharma Brands as CEO where he’s helping to build some of today’s most exciting high growth e-commerce brands.
We caught up with the digital marketing maven to learn more about his career, why brands should focus on community, and more.
AYESHAH ABUELHIGA | Founder + CEO, Mason Dixie Foods
Ayeshah Abuelhiga describes the overnight success of Mason Dixie Foods as a ‘happy accident.’
What began as a popular Washington D.C.-based restaurant with a cult following quickly developed into a one-of-a-kind product line that disrupted the frozen category. Today, Mason Dixie Foods produces the only ready-to-bake, clean-label frozen biscuits on the market.
We caught up with Abuelhiga to learn about Mason Dixie Foods’ journey, how her commitment to diversity is a guarantee among team members, and more.