We spoke with Jake Achterhoff, Executive Director at AcreMade a subsidiary of PURIS Foods, about how he approaches brand building and their go-to-market strategy, all while trying to be a better leader. By finding a flexible solution to their design needs as they launched PURIS' first DTC brand, Jake solved their fluctuating design demand while future-proofing their scaling design needs.
AcreMade is the first DTC subsidiary of PURIS, the leading pea protein supplier in the US. They fuel some of retail’s biggest plant-based brands, from alternative meats to non-dairy milk.
Recently, AcreMade has developed an alternative egg made primarily out of pea protein and upcycled pea starch. We spoke to Jake Achterhoff, AcreMade’s Executive Director, about leading their first product launch, AcreMade Egg Substitute, while crafting a holistic go-to-market strategy that their lean team can execute.challenge
While their parent company, PURIS, has 40+ years of experience in the plant-protein business, AcreMade is operating more like a start-up. This means chasing opportunities as they pop up and keeping a close eye on developing their visual brand.
It also means the level of design capacity they require fluctuates quite rapidly.
“On-demand was helpful to us because, throughout pre-launch, our needs fluctuated a lot,” Achterhoff explains.
The main challenge was finding a solution that could produce quality creative and accommodate fluctuating design requests while doing the brand justice on every project.
The Superside design hours we don’t use get rolled over to the next month, it's not a big deal when we don’t spend them. Rather than having an agency on retainer or a person I have to manage, the expectations are just appropriate on both sides–no hard feelings if nothing is happening at the moment.
For instance, AcreMade submitted three projects in February this year for sales collateral and marketing creative. They submitted none in March and three more in April for packaging design.
Substitute versus Large Eggs
Launching a new product also requires all kinds of creative help. Chances are hiring one designer won’t cover the various skills required. A Superside subscription offers AcreMade access to the top 1% of creatives globally across almost all design specialties a DTC company needs.
Another important consideration is agility. A fast-moving company like AcreMade must hop on opportunities like Natural Products Expo West, the leading trade show in the natural, organic, and healthy products industry.
“We told Juliana and Guillermo (AcreMade’s Superside Creative Project Managers) about 10 minutes before Expo West that we were going to go to Expo West. I provided some artwork and direction and said, ‘please make something coherent.’ They pulled the Expo West stuff together [some booth materials] along with some collateral we used at the event,” Achterhoff explains.
Booth Artwork for Expo West
Before working with Superside, AcreMade already had a clear brand story. Thanks to Achterhoff’s background, AcreMade also had a core identity and visual brand guidelines.
Freelancers from his network helped him get going, but the unpredictable nature of his design needs caused problems. He needed a new solution.
Achterhoff needed the right team to deliver and execute his ideas and extrapolate the design system he provided into marketing assets and sales collateral. That way, he could focus on the go-to-market strategy, not design production.
AcreMade Egg Substitute Caddy
AcreMade uses Superside to develop packaging design—a huge portion of work—from individual cups and pouches to multipack cartons and end-aisle displays in retail. With a whole carton of egg products in the pipeline, Superside ensures consistency and high-quality designs across the brand’s product line and the capacity for long-sighted product development.
Achterhoff can also focus on being a better leader by securing a Creative-as-a -Service solution that offers flexibility and quality.
I'm also using Superside to help me level up as an organizational leader. While in the past, I would make sure everything was to my spec and do it myself. Superside is a tool that helps me amplify what I can do by bringing my creative vision to life through other creatives.
Since subscribing to Superside, AcreMade has submitted 25 projects of varying scopes and for different media. That’s more than 200 hours of production and project management Achterhoff was able to put toward other work without compromising the design quality of those projects.results
We're deploying Superside for high-leverage things. My goal is to, with my limited resources, throw Superside at things that have scaled outcomes.
Recently, Achterhoff added Keelin McLachlan to the AcreMade team to handle their content marketing. With more internal resources to manage consumer marketing, the types of projects AcreMade were submitting followed suit, meeting the ebb and flow of their design demand.
Social media design now takes up most projects where AcreMade uses Superside.
As Achterhoff grows his team and the needs of AcreMade grow, Superside scales with them. And, when they’re ready to explore new marketing channels and media, they’ll have access to Superside's skills and expertise to do it successfully.
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