New Edible CMO Shifts To Brand Storytelling

As soon as Kevin Keith, Edible's new chief marketing officer, started earlier this year, he noticed a problem. Sales. which had surged during the pandemic, had fallen off. And the company was overinvesting in Google search and underspending on brand stories. He tells D2C Insider how that's changing.

D2C Insider: You were last at Orangetheory Fitness as chief brand officer and have also been at Citibank, Mercedes-Benz and Coca-Cola Company. How'd you get to Edible?

Kevin Keith: I met Tariq Farid, the founder, through a colleague from Coca-Cola. Edible is about to have its 25th birthday, and when Tariq told me his vision for the next 25 years, I got excited. Edible was the Peloton of gifting during the pandemic. It flew high. And when we moved on from that state of emergency, the business fell.

There is so much opportunity here. We have high awareness of Edible, at about 81%, but low top-of-mind perceptions. I joined just as Somia Farid Silber started as the new president. This is the perfect opportunity to reset the brand, messaging and tone of voice. And I've gotten fond of working with founders.

D2C Insider: What did you do first? And what's next?

Keith: I came in during Valentine's Day, which is our Super Bowl. As Somia and I imagine a different Edible, we're reinventing our strategy and will relaunch the brand in September. It sounds unsexy, but it will all be centered around convenience. I'm focused on telling that story and grabbing people's attention in a new way with a fun point of view. We're not like one of these tearful, sentimental brands. We're fun and a little bit quirky.

D2C Insider: How do you want people to see the brand's personality?

Keith: When everyone fails, we're at our best. When you forget to book a hotel room last minute, you get a parking-lot view. With an airline flight, you're stuck paying the highest price. But Edible is at its best at the last minute. More than 80% of our transactions happen within 40 hours or less. So I want people to understand that their last-minute idea is not a last resort. It's our best. And you'll see a lot more humor, especially relating to smaller, everyday moments as opposed to big occasions, like Valentine's or Mother's Day. Men especially buy on those occasions because we have to do it. I want people to use Edible to celebrate life's smaller, more humorous moments.

D2C Insider: How do you see the audience expanding?

Keith: We've spent much time researching who our next-generation customer could be without alienating our core. We think of our core as the Perfect Gifter. She's around 38, suburban, with kids. And she wants her chosen gifts to reflect positively on her and make the recipient happy.

Most people think of us for arrangements and believe that's what Edible is about. But we also have amazing dessert platters, great cookies and a third-party bake shop. If you don't want to order through us, you can use Door Dash or Uber Eat. We'll be talking with celebrities and some innovative partners. And we're focusing more on sustainability, moving toward an all-electric delivery fleet.

D2C Insider: Who are you working with to make this all happen?

Keith: I brought in someone I worked with at Coke to help us reimagine the logo, and you'll see us introduce a very different visual system reflecting our broader offerings. It'll be more digital since so many transactions are happening on mobile. And we've had a lot of turnover, so I'm trying to attract top talent to join me on this adventure. I want our in-house team to win awards and draw attention to the brand.

D2C Insider: How does Edible, now an older brand, fit in the D2C universe? People have come to expect a certain tone of voice and digital performance level, whether they are buying D2C mattresses, deodorant or underwear.

Keith: We're a safe gift. It's always something that everyone loves. You're not going to have to return it. No one will think it's weird. We shine best with these fresh, handcrafted creations. That story is going to resonate with younger audiences.

D2C Insider: How will the media channels you use change?

Keith: You'll see a lot more upper-funnel investment. Historically, a lot of our investment has been in search. We'll stay on Meta but with a lot more brand advertising. And we'll be doing programmatic linear TV but with more storytelling. And a lot more PR. Focusing on the bottom funnel, we haven't been building equity in the brand. I want people to search for Edible, not just find us as they randomly search for gifts.

When I got here, there was this massive overinvestment in Google. I wondered, "What's with this buying new audiences every year?" The old saying is true: Keeping a customer is easier than buying new ones. So we're reallocating, and our hope is more upper-funnel spending will build brand equity, not just buy transactions one at a time.

D2C Insider: What metrics are most important to you right now besides increasing sales?

Keith: PR impressions are important because we want to show people this is a very different brand than it used to be. I want our average transactions to start going up annually and our retention rate to increase. We want to acquire new customers and keep them longer.

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