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Amazon Strategy and Brand Building: Lessons from Bobbie Formula’s Chief Brand Officer

Today, eCommerce brands face a complex array of challenges and opportunities. From balancing direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategies with marketplace presence, navigating supply chain issues, and crafting an effective Amazon strategy to building authentic connections with customers, the landscape can be daunting. Recently, Laura Meyer, CEO of Envision Horizons, sat down with Kim Chappell, Chief Brand Officer […]
Written By Tristan Williams
Published on July 10, 2024   |7 minute read

Today, eCommerce brands face a complex array of challenges and opportunities. From balancing direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategies with marketplace presence, navigating supply chain issues, and crafting an effective Amazon strategy to building authentic connections with customers, the landscape can be daunting.

Recently, Laura Meyer, CEO of Envision Horizons, sat down with Kim Chappell, Chief Brand Officer at Bobbie Formula, for an insightful discussion on brand building, Amazon strategy, and the realities of balancing a high-powered career with motherhood. We’re reviewing key insights from the interview, watch the full podcast episode below…

Authenticity in Brand Storytelling and Community Engagement

In an age where consumers crave genuine connections with brands, authenticity has become a crucial differentiator. Kim Chappell emphasized the power of transparent and honest communication, both in marketing campaigns and in discussing the realities of running a business.

Bobbi Formula actively engages with their community, particularly through initiatives aimed at supporting parents. This connection goes beyond mere consumer interactions; it’s about creating a support system and acknowledging the challenges of parenthood.

Key Insight: Bobbie Formula’s billboard campaign featuring supermodel Ashley Graham combo-feeding her twins (one breastfeeding, one bottle-feeding) during New York Fashion Week was a bold move that paid off. By addressing the often polarizing conversation around infant feeding, the brand positioned itself as a progressive voice in the industry.

Takeaway for eCommerce Brands: Don’t shy away from addressing potentially controversial topics relevant to your industry. By “evolving the conversation,” as Chappell puts it, brands can create meaningful connections with their audience and differentiate themselves from competitors.

Example: Consider creating content that addresses common challenges or misconceptions in your industry. This could be blog posts, social media campaigns, or even collaborations with influencers who can speak authentically to these issues.

Supply Chain Resilience and Vertical Integration

The recent formula shortage highlighted the critical importance of a robust and resilient supply chain. Bobbie Formula’s acquisition of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Ohio represents a significant step towards supply chain control and stability.

Key Insight: Chappell revealed that this move allows Bobbie Formula to become the third-largest full-stack manufacturing company in the United States, giving them unprecedented control over their production and ability to meet demand.

Takeaway for eCommerce Brands: While full vertical integration might not be feasible for all brands, consider ways to increase control over your supply chain:

  • Diversify suppliers to reduce reliance on a single source
  • Invest in inventory management technology to better predict and meet demand
  • Explore domestic manufacturing options to reduce international shipping dependencies

Amazon Strategy: Launching on The Platform

Bobbie Formula’s cautious entry into Amazon offers valuable lessons for brands considering this powerful but complex marketplace.

Key Insight: The brand started with a single SKU (Bobbie Boosties) on Amazon, treating it as a learning experience and a way to test demand without overcommitting.

Takeaway for eCommerce Brands:

  • If you’re not ready to full invest in Amazon as a channel, start small to understand the platform’s dynamics
  • Use this phase to learn about Amazon’s backend processes, fulfillment requirements, and customer behavior
  • Your Amazon strategy should focus on maintaining brand consistency across all sales channels

Example: A skincare brand might begin their Amazon journey by listing their best-selling product, using this as an opportunity to optimize their product detail page, gather customer reviews, and understand Amazon’s advertising options before expanding their catalog.

Amazon Strategy: Leveraging Brand-Building Tools

Amazon has evolved from a purely transactional platform to one that offers significant brand-building opportunities.

Key Insight: Chappell noted the improved capabilities for brand storytelling on Amazon, including enhanced product detail pages and various advertising options.

Takeaway for eCommerce Brands:

  • Invest time in creating high-quality, brand-consistent content for your Amazon presence
  • Explore Amazon’s advertising options, including Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and video ads (including more advanced options like Streaming TV)
  • Utilize Amazon Stores to create a more immersive brand experience within the marketplace

Example: Use A+ Content (formerly Enhanced Brand Content) to tell your brand story, showcase product features, and differentiate yourself from competitors on the platform.

Omnichannel Strategy: Meeting Customers Where They Are

Bobbie Formula’s approach to sales channels demonstrates the importance of a flexible, customer-centric strategy.

Key Insight: Chappell emphasized the need to recognize that different customers prefer different shopping experiences, whether that’s DTC, retail, or marketplaces like Amazon.

Takeaway for eCommerce Brands:

  • Develop a presence across multiple channels to maximize reach
  • Tailor your approach to each channel’s strengths and customer expectations- your Amazon strategy will be different than your DTC strategy,
  • Ensure a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints

Example: A home goods brand might offer customizable products through their DTC website, best-sellers on Amazon for convenience shoppers, and showcase their full range in retail partnerships.

Balancing Growth with Customer Experience

Despite high demand, Bobbie Formula has prioritized maintaining a positive customer experience over rapid expansion.

Key Insight: The brand temporarily closed its online store to new customers and went out of stock at Target to ensure they could meet existing commitments before scaling further.

Takeaway for eCommerce Brands:

  • Prioritize customer satisfaction over short-term growth
  • Be transparent with customers about stock issues or delays
  • Invest in customer service and post-purchase experience to build long-term loyalty

Example: Implement a waitlist system for popular products, offering exclusive perks or early access to those who sign up, turning a potential negative (out-of-stock items) into a positive customer engagement opportunity.

Personal Branding, Motherhood, & Work-Life Balance 

Kim Chappell emphasized the significance of personal branding. She shared her journey of establishing herself as a thought leader in the industry by leveraging platforms like LinkedIn. Kim’s active and strategic presence on social media not only highlights her expertise but also strengthens the brand value of Bobbi Formula. For brand executives, this underscores the importance of building and maintaining a personal brand to enhance company influence and credibility.

Chappell also offered candid insights into the challenges of balancing a high-level career with parenting, advocating for transparency about support systems and rejecting the myth of perfect “balance.”

Key Insight: She emphasized the importance of being honest about the support required to manage both career and family, including the financial realities of childcare.

Takeaway for eCommerce Entrepreneurs:

  • Be realistic about the demands of running a business and managing personal life
  • Create a support system, whether that’s hired help, family assistance, or flexible work arrangements
  • Foster a company culture that acknowledges and supports work-life integration for all employees

The key to success lies in remaining flexible, continuously learning, and always putting the customer experience first. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to optimize your existing eCommerce strategy, these insights from Bobbie Formula’s journey can help guide your brand toward sustainable growth and success in the competitive online marketplace.

For personalized strategies on optimizing your brand’s presence across eCommerce channels and leveraging platforms like Amazon effectively, contact Envision Horizons today. Our team of experts can help you navigate the complexities of modern eCommerce and develop a tailored approach to achieve your business goals.

To stay updated with more insightful discussions, be sure to follow our podcast and weekly newsletter.

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