PALM BEACH, Fla. — In a presentation entitled “Yes to Chutzpah,” Ido Leffler hammered home his belief in the power of positivity.
“It’s all about yes, saying ‘yes,’ yes to, yes to you, yes to the real you,” said Leffler, whose job title is chief carrot lover (as well as co-founder) of Yes To Inc., of his firm’s bath, body and treatment brands. “It’s about yes to chocolate, it’s about yes to ice cream, it’s about yes to everything.”
That approach is ingrained in Yes To’s DNA and brand positioning.
“We have a simple philosophy of being a ‘yes’ company in a ‘no’ environment,” he said. “What do I mean by that? In the natural beauty world, the other brands that are in my category were based on the premise that the others are bad.
“We noticed a gap in the market, we wanted to be an iconic brand,” he continued. “We wanted to stand out and we noticed a gap because when we looked on the markets, on the shelf, the rest of our competitors were brilliant products but they were all PCs and we wanted to be a Mac.”
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To stand out from the crowd, Leffler infused Yes To products with a sense of humor and tapped social media to spread the word, involve consumers in the brand’s development and build buzz.
“We make the customer a part of the [new product development] process. [On] Facebook we ask them ‘What do you want? What do you want now? What do you want in a year from now?’” he said. “I don’t know how many of you do this, but every quarter I have a conference call, which is open to all of our customers. They can ask any question, make any comment. I highly recommend you do it, you can set it up via Facebook. We started off, our first conference call had like eight [people], you can get thousands of people onto a call now.”
Now comprising the Yes to Carrots, Yes to Tomatoes, Yes to Cucumbers and Yes to Baby Carrots brands, the company’s retail reach has also grown. Sold in 16 stores in Israel in 2006, Yes To products are now on shelves in 28,000 doors in 30 countries.
“So yes to business, how do we do it?” he asked, adding the company employs less than 20 people. “Business ‘yes to’ style. We are our own customer.”
Leffler reasoned that since Yes To employees and their families use the company’s products, innovation is driven by what they want.
He also underscored the necessity of having the right product offering and forging relationships with retailers.
“You can cross that retail boundary quite easily, if you’ve got the right proposition for that retailer and you can partner with that retailer,” said Leffler. “You want to know how to get into a big retail chain like Wal-Mart? Go and meet them.”
Demonstrating some of the chutzpah advertised in his presentation’s title, Leffler is bullish about the future.
“We will out gun the competition,” he said. “As P&G will go and they will compete head-to-head in our world, we’re going to compete and we’re going to do it faster and better because that’s what the retailer wants and that’s what the consumer wants.”