An Interview with Joe Dickson of Merryfield For Conquer The Noise
In this episode, Jonathan (CCO at Unconquered)has an insightful conversation with Joe Dickson who is a co-founder and CEO at Merryfield – a clean label rewards app for purpose driven consumer packaged goods.
Having spent over 20 years at Whole Foods, Dickson took inspiration from the many farmers and suppliers he built relationships with and started his own farm at home where he practices the same organic farming methods. He describes organic farming as a set of ecological farming practices that focuses on using natural inputs to the land and limiting the use of synthetic chemicals. He also appreciates Whole Foods’ mission of taking a serious stance on GMO labeling as well as organic practices.
The conversation moves to Dickson talking about David Mayer (Co-founder and CEO of Merryfield) who had spent his whole career working in private equity. He explains how Mayer decided to focus his energy and resources on tools to improve wellness for everyday consumers out of his personal passion for wellness. He talks about how the two met over a shared interest in creating a reliable tool that let consumers know that every product has been vetted.
He then talks about how there are organic brands at supermarkets like Walmart but that they are buried among non-clean legacy brands. He says for a consumer who wants to choose better and wants to avoid unnecessary ingredients, it’s really hard to cut through the noise of label claims, the sheer number of products and focus on brands that are really better. When it came to the question of trust, Dickson talks about Merryfield Clean Council – a credible group of experts in GMO and food ingredients who help vett the products and Merryfields standards.. “Education is a huge part of the app” says Dickson further explaining how they selected a group of brands that met standards at a baseline and all of which had a clear purpose. Every brand and product has a page on the app and they highlight credentials such as what organic means in a 1 liner definition to keep it digestible.
Dickson says that all brands want a way to open a trust driven dialogue with consumers and to build the habit of continual purchase. This is where he thinks Merryfield can help brands create a level of trust while it their platform rewards its customers with every purchase to foster long term relationships.
Their marking will focus on user acquisition strategies and success metrics will include the number of users, brands and satisfaction. In order to get new users into the clean label tent, the company will invest in approachability and relatable language with a focus on offering personal benefits.
Jonathan and Dickson talk about how they were on a search for the right celebrity to partner with when they learned of Zooey Deschanel’s personal interest in wellness and clean food. The depth of her personal resonance with the brand’s mission made them realize that there was a much bigger fit than a standard sponsorship deal, and so they brought her in as a co-founder and Chief Creative Officer.
The conversation ends with Dickson’s advice to early career professionals, “Everyone regardless of age or experience is a bit unsure of themselves and that there isn’t a magic door you cross through into adulthood. Despite the lack of years of experience, you have a lot of insight and perspective to offer,” said Dickson.
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