Savvy retailers want and need brands to up their game — to provide true category leadership. This does not mean brands need to spend money they currently do not have to invest in expensive tools. On the contrary, retailers need brands to educate them on who their shoppers are, how they shop their stores, and the items they purchase alongside their brand.

The category leader is any brand willing and able to provide additional insights to the retailer to help them drive sustainable sales, increase shopper foot traffic, and provide insights into current and future trends in the category. A category leader is an expert in their products as well as their competitor’s products. A category leader is a brand that has a solid selling story that includes insights into their shoppers in addition to fact-based actionable insights into the category and the market.

An excellent example of a retailer doing things right is Lucky’s Market. I interviewed Ben Friedland on episode 43 of the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast. Here are some of the recommendations we discussed:

1. Become an eager “storyteller”.Partner with brands who are great story tellers. Champion brands that have a strong message that resonates with your core shoppers. Use what Ben referred to as the “zero moment of truth” where your selling story builds demand before the consumer sees the product on your shelves.

2. Communicate your passion in everything you do.Stay true and committed to your founding principles and mission. Celebrate what makes you unique and how you are different.

3. Strategically partner with brands willing and able to take a leadership role in the category.Collaborate with category leaders to identify and stay on top of important trends. Encourage brands to help educate your sales team so that they can better support your loyal shoppers.

4. Focus on community first.Build a strong loyal community to help connect, unite, and integrate your local community. Become a hub for information, community activities, and education. Invite your brand partners to support this initiative through product demonstrations and educational opportunities.

5. Empower your employees to identify and champion local products.Make it easy for their products to be showcased in your stores.

Click the arrow to listen to the entire podcast with Lucky's Ben Friedland.


Following these simple strategies can create a win-win for the retailer and the brands that support them. Working together, you can help meet the needs of your local community turning occasional shoppers into loyal evangelists. This is how you remain relevant and competitive in any economy.WF

Daniel Lohman, CPSA is an Organic and CPG Industry Strategic Advisor, certified at the highest level of category management proficiency: Certified Professional Strategic Advisor. He is the creator of the free course Turnkey Sales Story Strategies and the BRAND SECRETS AND STRATEGIES podcast, an audio natural products accelerator. Daniel is a trusted and respected member of the natural community who assists companies giving them a sustainable competitive advantage helping them compete head-to-head with the most sophisticated big brands. His company, Category Management Solutions (CMS4CPG), provides innovative ideas, actionable insights and strategic solutions for companies interested in gaining a significant competitive advantage. His unique approach and expertise are designed for the small to medium size brands wanting to grow their business, build shopper base and expand brand shelf space. It includes strategies of the top national brands without all the added expense, saving you valuable time and money. Email Dan at