Brave Commerce Podcast: Running a CPG Brand With a Tech Mindset

Chobani CMO Thomas Ranese on the challenges and opportunities facing the industry

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In this episode of Brave Commerce, Thomas Ranese, chief marketing officer at Chobani, joins hosts Rachel Tipograph and Sarah Hofstetter to offer insights into the intersection of technology and consumer packaged goods (CPG). They also discuss Chobani’s remarkable growth, and the challenges and opportunities facing the CPG industry.

As the conversation begins, Ranese emphasizes Chobani’s commitment to providing nutritious and delicious food made from natural ingredients. He believes that many large companies struggle to achieve the balance of affordability, nutrition and taste, and shares how Chobani is on a mission to fill this gap. Drawing parallels between tech companies and CPGs, Ranese highlights the importance of a consumer-first, insight-driven approach in CPG, while acknowledging that tech companies are innovation-obsessed and digitally led. He believes that blending these two mindsets is crucial for creating a modern marketing organization.

Moreover, Ranese mentions that he is drawn to companies with a compelling mission and product, making Chobani a perfect fit for him. He draws parallels between Chobani and his experiences at Google, emphasizing the similarities in the early stages of both companies’ growth. He also shares insights into Chobani’s culture, describing it as agile, innovative, and quick to launch and iterate, similar to the approach of tech companies.

The discussion then transitions to Chobani’s growth strategy and portfolio expansion. Ranese stresses the importance of growth in core categories, such as yogurt, and the potential for disruption in categories like oat milk and creamer. He also acknowledges the need to connect the various products under the Chobani umbrella and shares the story of how the company’s founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, sees the potential for yogurt-making to change the world.

Ranese addresses how Chobani’s products aim to be delicious, nutritious and accessible, with a focus on remaining affordable amid inflation and economic challenges. He touches on the importance of aligning the portfolio strategy with the brand’s mission and purpose, ensuring consistency and clarity across all products.

Key takeaways:

  • Develop a clear and cohesive portfolio strategy, tying all products to core values
  • Collaborate closely with retail partners for innovation and adaptability
  • Disrupt traditional categories and explore new areas for impactful growth