Guest Post by FoodBytes! Partner Parsnip

Parsnip is a matchmaking tool for brands. After a decade in finance and consulting, Sally Rogers tried her hand at entrepreneurship with a snack company before starting Parsnip. She’s experienced firsthand the necessity of building a brand around audience and values in order to grow.


Brand Building Blocks: The Power of Your Audience and Values

Whether you’ve built a brand, invested in a brand, or show up to work every day in support of someone else’s brand, chances are you’ve thought about what you value – what matters to you in the work you’re involved in every day. And your customers are doing the same thing: contemplating low sugar? cheap? a portion of the profits go to a local non-profit? veteran owned? compostable packaging? recognizable ingredients? etc. There are dozens of attributes a brand can represent. Building a brand around the right attributes starts with two basic brand building blocks: the power of your audience and your values.



The Power Of Your Audience



When you’re working towards building your brand as a startup, corporation, or investor (translation: growing your business), your audience is going to determine where you should focus your energy. They should drive your everyday prioritization. Consider how your current customers use your product, and what they really care about most in your product. You need to have a good sense of their psychographics and purchasing motivation, and what exact pain point you’re solving for them. A few ways to understand them:

  • Talk to your customers directly when you demo (“how might you use this?”)
  • Send a survey via email with detailed psychographic questions, i.e interests, activities, etc. (psychographic data is just as important as demographic)
  • Send personal follow-up emails after a first purchase and reward them with a coupon code if they answer a few questions
  • Ask some of your loyal customers if you can get on the phone for 15 minutes in exchange for a coupon code


Once you have a better sense of who is attracted to your products, you’ll be able to dive into crafting messaging and expanding product offerings tailored to them. When one of the co-owners of Big Spoon Roasters wanted a better post-workout snack for herself and her fellow athlete friends, she began to make her own bars with the nut butters of the company. She knew she had a strong population of athletes in her customer base that enjoyed post-workout indulgences like bars with great ingredients. Four years later, one of their bars was a finalist for the Good Food Awards. Knowing what their customers liked to do (exercise), and what they cared about in their product (indulgent nut butters, but in a convenient form for post-workout) enabled Big Spoon Roasters to grow their business. Your audience has power – harness it for your brand-building benefit.


The Power of Your Values


Another brand building block to spend some time on is your values. Consider: what does your brand stand for? And how does your product, messaging, personnel, or even greatest fans exemplify the values that your brand stands for? Your values may be tied to:

  • What prompted the founder(s) to start the company in the first place
  • A larger pain point or mission
  • An intentional community or initiative that your brand is part of


Take Hint Water. What started as a shockingly simple solution for the founder, Kara, has turned into a massive company that sells water and sunscreen. But what Kara and team are actually doing is “helping people live healthier lives, easily.” They have translated what Kara valued (clean ingredients, simple, tasty, healthy, easy) into an all-encompassing mission: their “products turn things you ought to do into things you love to do.” Hint’s messaging, imagery, font choices, and products all tie back to their core values of simple, healthy, easy.


So take the time to sit still with your colleagues, your investment portfolio, or your founders, and investigate the power of your audience (think: psychographics) and your brand values (think: founder motivation or mission). You’ll immediately have two basic building blocks to help your brand flourish.


Your brand takeaways as food and agtech startups, investors, and corporates:

    • Talk to your customers. Know what they care about, and why. Tailor your messaging to who they are.
    • Dig deep on your why (your values) as a brand. Develop consistent language, imagery, packaging that all relate back to that set of values.

Parsnip was born out of a desire to support entrepreneurs and the better-for-you brands they work so hard to grow. The Parsnip team realized that by saving startups time each week, and focusing on using technology to enable values-aligned partnerships, their innovation would support systemic collaboration across the consumer goods industry, a mission that made a community partnership between FoodBytes! and Parsnip so natural.

Parsnip enables brands to find the right partners to grow their business: co-marketing partners like event producers and photographers; agency partners like social media experts and copywriters; influencer partners; and of course, other brands. Over 900 brands have been using Parsnip to find partners for giveaways, events, demos, email collaborations, swag bags, and more. It’s free to sign up and use Parsnip.


Like what you see? Sign up for our bi-monthly newsletters to stay up to date on alumni news, industry insights and event updates.


Want to meet industry experts like Parsnip, get connections and mentorship to scale your sustainable food or ag startup?

Announcing the 45 Standout Startups Selected for FoodBytes! 2022

October 25, 2022 Blog

2022 FoodBytes! First Look: Meeting New Consumer Demands

January 20, 2022 Blog

Stay in the loop on all things FoodBytes! Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign Up Today