“Follow Your Gut.” That’s the slogan on Health-Ade’s new fashion-forward print campaign. It’s also what Health-Ade’s CEO, Daina Trout, did when a major competitor threw jabs at the company claiming Health-Ade was “bastardizing” the industry. In a recent podcast interview, Trout explains how she trusted her gut to take the high road on a seemingly devastating claim on her company. Health-Ade was started back in 2012 by Trout, her now-husband, Justin Trout and former colleague Vanessa Dew. The trio started with making the kombucha out of their apartments and selling it on the weekends at the Brentwood Farmer’s market in Los Angeles.
Health-Ade still brews the old-fashioned way just like the founders did in their apartments back in 2012. Their process includes fermenting living cultures in super-small 2.5-gallon batches, and in glass which prevents plastic or metal leaching, Health-Ade flavors with only the highest quality ingredients, like cold-pressed juice from organic produce. Health-Ade’s artisanal process results in a delicious, smooth, bubbly, and naturally low sugar kombucha that makes you feel good.
So for another kombucha brand to say that Health-Ade was bastardizing the industry was far from the truth, but Trout stands by these three ways to navigate positive or negative competition.
View competition as a Positive
According to Trout competition in a marketplace is a sign that the market is growing and has legs. “For me, competition isn’t something I feel too negatively about. To me, its a positive sign of growth to a category and I do think there is a way to be friendly competitive. I am pretty good friends with the top 5 kombucha brands and we even text when there is a category issue,” says Trout.
Disengage from the negativity
“It was super disappointing and hurtful to hear when another competitor went below the belt to call us a bastardization of the industry. It was more of a disappointment for me because the kombucha category has a long way to go before we are in every fridge in America so I feel that competition in the space needs to play fair so we can get there,” said Trout.
Trout didn’t want to engage in an online argument, but she felt her experience with her competitor’s remarks was a very important lesson other entrepreneurs could learn from. She turned to her personal Instagram to share the lessons she learned from being told she and/or her brand weren’t good enough even when she knew she was doing the right thing. “Many entrepreneurs go through something like this. I hope sharing how I have dealt with situations like this will help someone else to not give up,” says Trout.
Turn competition into Fuel
“We are obviously are getting under the skin of our competitor because we are doing the right thing and doing well. I try to turn these kinds of things into fuel and when you can turn it into fuel it’s a really powerful skill!” exclaims Trout. As far as dealing with negativity as a leader, Trout follows this simple rule” I always follow this rule: if you are to say anything publicly as a leader, it’s very important to ask yourself, would I put this on my website or train my employees to respond like that? If the answer is no to any of those you really should be careful. How you lead is a reflection of your brand.”
The competition hasn’t stopped Health-Ade or Trout from trying to get into every fridge in America. This month, Health-Ade has unveiled a new ad campaign, “You Brew You” which is meant to position kombucha, a beverage typically viewed as health-focused, as a mainstream drink option, a new kind of healthy soda. It’s a bold move to entice middle America. The campaign, which reimagines popular millennial-inspired phrases, breathes humor and broad appeal into the category. Paired with colorful, edgy imagery that pulls inspiration from the fashion and music industries, Health-Ade is getting behind “You Brew You” with a major media play. It will be amplified through a multi-million dollar advertising push featured in Allure, Vanity Fair and Us Weekly, among other national outlets. With fans like Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian, and Tiffany Haddish, Health-Ade is leading the kombucha industry and bringing the beverage mainstream.