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Global Evolutions

Encourage Consumers, Get Brand Promoters

<p>Any supplement or functional food brand can crate a program that builds brand recognition and loyal consumers; Luna Bar, a subsidiary of Clif Bar &amp; Co., has paved the way.</p>

Luna Bar, a subsidiary of Clif Bar & Co., has an amazing program for female athletes that helps build brand recognition and loyal consumers. The program—called Team Luna Chix—has certainly made a loyal customer out of me.

The great news is Luna and Clif Bar don't have a monopoly on this type of program. Any supplement or functional food company can create an opportunity to turn potential customers into brand promoters.  

Along with the LUNA Chix Pro Team (professional mountain bikers, cyclocross riders and XTERRA participants) and Sponsored Athletes (women who excel at sports while also balancing motherhood and careers), the program includes Local LUNA Chix teams of women with all athletic abilities, from beginners to competitors, who encourage other women. Local LUNA Chix teams train, compete and support each other in cities throughout the United States, while fundraising for the Breast Cancer Fund.  

I am fortunate enough to be on the Phoenix Triathlon Luna Chix team this season. Our team is one of 18 teams that focus on either running, cycling, mountain biking or triathlon. At the start of each season all Luna Chix teams head to Clif Bar headquarters in Berkley, CA, to train and take development classes.

At Summit, the Luna Chix hear from the pros, get tips on being leaders in their communities, network with like-minded women, and learn about Luna and Clif products. We learned about how to use their products to fuel exercise routines, and got background on Luna's product development and marketing process. This will better help us talk about its products at events throughout the year.

Luna also supplies each team member with Luna branded gear—tri suits, cycling outfits, running gear, hats, etc. All the ladies were eager to get these products, and will proudly wear them at workouts and races for years to come.

After Summit, the Local Teams were inspired to go back to their hometowns to host events and raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund—which focuses on preventing breast cancer by reducing toxic chemicals in everyday products—all while wearing Luna gear and passing out Luna bar samples. And we'll do this all year long.

During Summit, I asked a Clif Bar employee if they were getting a return on investment (ROI) from the Luna Chix program. She said it's likely Clif Bar doesn't get a monetary ROI, but noted it's difficult to tell how many sales of Luna bars come from women who attended events. She said even without making money, the company thinks inspiring and encouraging women is the right thing to do. The founder Gary Erickson started the program to give his daughter role models, and it continues to accomplish that goal.

This just warms my heart to Clif Bar and Luna, and here I am blogging about how great they are. Other companies can do this too, even if they don't have the bandwidth to do it on the large scale that Clif Bar can accommodate.

Sports nutrition brands cold hold similar workouts in their town's headquarters; give consumers samples, a place to workout, a cause to donate to and encouragement, and they will become promoters of your products.

Even if it's not sports, a company can find out how to can connect with its consumers. Supply a men's multivitamin? Organize a guys night with pool tables, beer, and samples, and give them the option to donate to prostate cancer research. Market fish oil products to children? Have a board game night, stress the importance of omega-3s on brain health, and give parents an easy way to donate to children with learning disorders.

It could start small and turn into a huge programs with free gear, sponsorships and thousands of brand ambassadors.

Get more tips on promoting supplements and functional foods in INSIDER's Marketing Content Library.

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