Savvy Sales and Branding Manager Grows Companies One At A Time

by Gil Zeimer on March 8, 2011
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As a marketing, brand, and sales consultant, Erin Fray lives out of a suitcase – by choice.

Though she resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, her organic and natural foods clients over the past few years have been based everywhere from Japan to Sweden and Florida to Scotland.

We caught up with Erin of Luminous Brands to find where her passport has been stamped lately and what other cities she’s been living in to work side-by-side with her clients.

ISBB: When did you first decide to launch your own company?

Fray: Growth is what interests me. Maintaining the status quo of sales or market share does not keep my attention; solving business problems does. Helping people and businesses become healthier and more viable brings me great joy and satisfaction.

What services do you offer to small- to medium-sized companies?

I work with CEOs and Business Owners to develop strategies to grow their businesses. This includes an initial peek under the hood to identify what the current status quo looks like, and then identify what levers to adjust and develop to improve brand equity, top line sales, and bottom line earnings.

Regardless of the project, I offer skills from the traditional brand management tool box, including creating strategies and tactics to meet the defined business objectives, in addition to critical path planning, identifying key milestones, and key deliverables, budget management, tactical execution, and consumer research.

What should companies focus on in this challenging economy?

Value is the secret sauce to driving sales. The value proposition that one offers to its consumers must be true, differentiated and meaningful. The changing environment is an opportunity to stay nimble and be flexible for what consumers are looking for.

What sort of small businesses have you helped over the past few years?

I recently helped a natural botanical weight-loss European company achieve success in the U.S. market. I guided its growth from the ground up to now being on the shelf in CVS Pharmacies nationwide. Together with the CEO, I developed a new brand identity – The Swedish Diet – new positioning, the sales presentation and sell-in tool kit, marketing plans that included public relations, digital, advertising, and trade promotions, and presented the product offering to the CVS buyer to rollout. Sales increased exponentially.

Prior to that, I guided a gourmet Scottish potato chip company to mitigate its U.S. market launch risk by fielding consumer research regarding the interest and purchase intent of their product by U.S. consumers, which also helped them in their go-to-market launch and rollout.

I also worked with a UK company enter into the U.S. market, growing their sales from zero to $3 million in one year through integrated strategic sales and marketing initiatives. These included marketing strategy and tactical execution, collaboration with the sales team to developing trade marketing support programs, developing an online viral marketing initiative for mommy bloggers, and putting together a support team for the rollout.

On the local level, I helped a San Francisco Bay Area printing company reposition itself for growth in an increasingly competitive environment. We worked to establish its core competencies, the needs of its target customers, and then fine-tuned the name, changed the identity colors from blue to green to be more relevant to the environmentally conscious printing practices it deployed, and developed three different brochures for three vertical markets. Sales increased 30 percent vs. the previous year.

How do your fees compare to other companies?

For market research, my services are generally more affordable than a large company with higher overhead.  I can also collaborate with clients on an ongoing basis. For example, I can guide them as their marketing needs and business grow, such as developing marketing programs that focus on deepening the consumer relationship and increasing sales velocity.

What are potential clients looking for when they hire you?

A CEO usually knows that his business is off or is not realizing the level of growth he or she would like to see. That’s the critical moment when the CEO looks for ways to improve the status quo. This requires a certain level of trust and a decision to get outsourced help.

What do you consider success?

When a company has been struggling with flat or eroded sales, or when they need guidance as they begin to experience increased sales and bigger business opportunities, I know I’ve served them well through my services.

For more information about Erin Fray’s services, or to speak with her, visit Luminous Brands today.

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