Observations From the Sweets & Snacks Expo

Observations From the Sweets & Snacks Expo
(Reading Time: 4 minutes)

Last week, the Sweets & Snacks Expo, the country’s largest confections trade show, was held here in Chicago.

It struck me that I’ve been attending candy trade shows for 22 years now (oof!): Since starting my career managing the Airheads brand, then overseeing brands like Trolli and Brach’s, and consulting with several confectionery companies.

While walking the Sweets & Snacks Expo show floor, I made a few observations, all applicable well beyond the world of candy: Continue reading “Observations From the Sweets & Snacks Expo”

For New Brand Ideas, Look Beyond Your Backyard

(Reading Time: 4 minutes)

We’re all looking for the next big thing – that silver-bullet product or that new brand idea that sets us apart from the pack and sends our growth curve rocketing ever skyward.

Trouble is, we often look in the wrong places. We’re waist-deep in the same data points, stuck between the walls of our narrowly-defined industries. We’re looking at the usual suspects and, inexplicably, expecting them to tell us something new. We’re turning over the dirt in our own backyards. Continue reading “For New Brand Ideas, Look Beyond Your Backyard”

Improv and Innovation

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)

Fourteen people, ranging in age from 16 to 60ish, stand in a circle in a large room.

A ball is rapidly tossed across the circle. Our leader, Missy Whitis, instructs us to remember two things: Who threw us the ball, and who we threw it to next.

A second ball is introduced. This time, the pattern is reversed, so that two balls are moving simultaneously in opposite directions. Continue reading “Improv and Innovation”