Building A Wellness Brand For Acquisition With Ingrid Milman Cordy [Webinar Recap Part 1]

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Today, consumers prioritize their health and wellness more than ever before, and it shows. As a result, the health and wellness industry has grown to over $4 trillion across the globe, with the US having the largest market share at $52.5 billion. 

Earlier this week, we sat down with a marketing expert to find out how she helped take a small startup company that sparked a lifestyle movement to a higher level with an acquisition by one of the largest food companies in the world.

Meet The Expert

During our most recent webinar, we spoke with Ingrid Milman Cordy, who served as Head of Digital & Ecommerce at Nuun before recently being named Senior Director of Web Experience for Nestlé’s health science brands. She is also the host of the Infinite Shelf podcast, which discusses strategies for DTC brands.

Nuun is dedicated to keeping customers healthy and hydrated with their line of clean products with a plants-first mindset. While Nestle officially acquired Nuun in May 2021, it spent its earlier years being built with the importance of community at its core.

Building A Brand People Love

Ingrid credits Nuun’s goal of building a brand that people love for their leap from a small start-up brand to being acquired by Nestlé. Nuun aimed to build a wellness product that people proudly displayed on their counters as opposed to having the products hidden in their cabinets.

A brand that people want to identify with and has values that align with their belief system creates a sense of community. The ideal Nuun customer, or Nuunies as they call themselves, take their wellness seriously and understand the importance of hydration. This shared value among its customers has helped Nuun create a community that people love and feel proud to be associated with.

Integrating Experiential Marketing With A Digital Marketing Strategy

2020 caused many companies to change their business strategy due to Covid-19 and social distancing. The running community, which Nuun is closely a part of, especially dealt with this as runs and marathons were being postponed or canceled.

Prior to the pandemic, Nuun’s strategy heavily involved experiential marketing at events like marathons and other races. However, the world’s ‘new normal’ gave Nuun a big push towards ecommerce. Ingrid stressed the importance of collaboration as she did not want an isolated bubble of digital experience. Instead, she worked and developed close relationships with heads of other departments including experiential marketing, field marketing and sales to combine the digital world with the in-person world.

Nuun combined experiential marketing with a digital strategy to promote races. Their attendance at marathons across the country allowed them to develop relationships with race management companies that were not experienced in digital. Ingrid donated her time to these companies to help with their digital content as a way to support the running community through such an unprecedented time.

Now that live events have begun to return, the combined strategy of digital and in-person, which was adopted throughout the pandemic, continues to be used at races.

Nuun And Nestlé: Ready For Acquisition

Nuun had grown to the point where they knew it was time to be acquired. To prepare for the process, they hired an investment bank. 

Choosing which bank was critical to their strategy. Since Nuun was not just selling products but also a lifestyle, it was critical to hire a bank that understood that lifestyle and how to quantify the value of it. Nuun considered multiple investment banks and ultimately went with Houlihan Lokey because of their dedication to understanding both Nuun’s story and their customers. 

Ingrid advises any company that is approaching the acquisition stage to make sure they work with an investment bank that can properly convey their brand’s main value propositions.

While the acquisition only occurred a year ago, Ingrid said changes are beginning to come in waves. For a personnel standpoint, she mentioned some people were against working for a big company, even one as prestigious as Nestlé. The employees who preferred a small company parted ways with Nuun once the acquisition was complete.  

Ingrid mentioned Nestlé has been more focused on educating themselves about Nuun. The Nestlé team has been open to understanding the business model that Nuun had with anticipation to learn their type of business. 

As you can tell, our recent webinar was jam-packed with interesting conversations surrounding the health and wellness industry.

In part two, we’ll recap Ingrid’s thoughts on these topics:

  • Lifecycle marketing
  • Marketing best practices



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