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The After Bar: Branding at launch in a pandemic

BY PRESTON BOUNDS

Etera Foods Founder & CEO Blake Godlove had been working for three years on bringing to market The After Bar when it launched this spring as a product in two booming categories: CBD and recovery. The After Bar’s differentiators would include “flavor and functionality,” per Godlove, and a non-Hemp extraction method that yields the “cleanest and most reliable form of CBD.” Here are three ways Godlove got The After Bar off the ground in a challenging environment. Quotes edited for clarity and brevity:

  1. Feedback from MLBers: “We sent 1,500 bars to some of the most-discerning customers: Players from 17 different MLB teams during spring training. The only negative comment that we received was that one of the players was upset that he couldn’t have one because of an almond allergy. Excluding that, all of the feedback was highly positive. These players are used to products that taste poorly but just get the job done.”
  2. Working with micro-influencers: “At any stage, we are looking for athletes that embody the ethos of The After Bar. We’d love to have someone like a Rob Gronkowski. However, we currently target micro-influencers. We want to garner brand awareness, but authentically.”
  3. Being ready for delays: “There were so many completely unforeseen challenges that came up as a result of the pandemic. Lead times for everything were drastically longer than we expected, so our timeline for launch seemed to lengthen every week. There are so many contingencies in the early startup environment. As a founder, you always have to prepare for the worst-case scenario.”

The next big milestone for Godlove: “Seeing The After Bar in the hands of strangers.”

Original article published in Sports Business Journal