BrandHive's acquisition will add data capability, company's co-founder says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images
Getty Images
BrandHive, a Utah-based branding agency specializing in the nutritional ingredients space, has been acquired by Decision Sciences Research Associates, Inc. (DSRA).

The pairing will add data analytical capabilities that will be increasingly important for companies in the natural products and dietary supplements space, according to BrandHive CEO and co-founder Jeff Hilton.  The purchase was finalized in May of this year but was only announced this week.

“Decision Science Research Associates is a marketing research firm out of Pasadena,” ​Hilton told NutraIngredients-USA. “They have a lot of clients like big automotive firms like Honda, CPG companies like Clorox, and companies like Burt’s Bees and Doterra.”

Data added to branding

“They do the research side but they didn’t really have any branding capability,” ​ he said.

“We started a dialogue about seven or eight months ago.”

Hilton said the data side of the retailing of supplements and natural products is becoming ever more important.  With more and more sales migrating online, it's now possible to gather a wealth of information about a company’s customers.

But that migration online also increases the speed of the market evolution as well.  Ewa Hudson, director of William Reed’s new data analytics firm Lumina Intelligence, said consumers are increasingly swayed by online product reviews posted by fellow customers​. They are influenced both by the scores that products receive and the number of reviews that have been posted.

“Understanding your consumer from a data standpoint helps brands better target them,”​ Hilton said.

“They move from one medium to the next sometimes in a matter of minutes.  You will often see a consumer buy something from Amazon on their phone while they are standing in a retail store,” ​he said.

Hilton said with DRSA’s analytical abilities, BrandHive will be able to help companies better hone their brands, including the tenor of their online presence.

“The nice thing about online and digital is it is much more accountable. You can see who is coming to a website, what they looked at and how long they stayed,”​ Hilton said.

Rapid market evolution

That information will help supplement companies better navigate the coming changes in the market.  In terms of delivery forms, pIlls and capsules have dominated the dietary supplement industry since its beginning. They likely will always be the dominant delivery form for many nutrients, but that position is eroding, and companies need to understand that change for future growth, Hilton said.

“In terms of convenience and delivery form, supplements are finding themselves on the short end of the stick. Consumers are increasingly look for a way to take their supplements in food form, such as in a gummy or another type of snack. Gen X consumers are not lining up their supplement pills like you or I would,”​ Hilton said.

“I think in general the supplement industry looks very good, but brands will have to think about the way they fit into the lifestyles of consumers. I think they’ll have to adopt a more holistic approach of meeting the consumers where they are,”​ he added.

President and CEO of DSRA William Fisher described BrandHive as a ‘tremendous adjunct’ for DSRA.

“BrandHive’s long-standing reputation in the B2B and B2C natural products channels, along with DSRA’s analytical expertise, will allow us to create and implement data-driven branding initiatives to directly impact the revenue and profitability of our clients.”

BrandHive will retain its identity along with its current staff. Hilton and BrandHive co-founder Matt Aller will also remain in active consulting roles.

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