Have you ever wondered why milk is required in public school lunches? The United States is the only country in the world that requires children to drink cow’s milk.
“Holy crap, what are we doing? Why are we feeding – especially to children, of which 70 percent of them cannot digest – Why are we making them drink this fluid?”
It’s a little weird, no?
Maybe it wasn’t so weird in the 1940s… 1840s… or 840s…
Today, however, we’ve learned a thing or two about how cow’s milk affects our bodies.
“Upwards of 70 percent of the world’s population cannot digest cow’s milk, and it makes you quite sick – this lactose intolerance. I’ll tell you, it’s pretty awful.
“Wheezing, stuffy nose, coughing. And then big-time gut distress: constipation, diarrhea, bloating, cramping.
“It’s pretty gnarly.”
It may take some time for us to shake the familiarity of cow’s milk in our diets. We’ve been inundated with cow’s milk (or just “milk,” for the layperson) from ads, culture, government requirements, lobbyist pressure, and dairy farmers.
Here’s The Truth About Milk…
Milk is meant for the babies of the mammals producing it. Cow’s milk is for calves. Human milk is for babies. Cat’s milk is for kittens. You get it.
Mammalian milk contains the necessary fats and vitamins for us to grow into strong healthy grown mammals. We, and every other infant mammal, contain an enzyme that allows us to digest that milk. That enzyme disappears once breastfeeding has concluded.
Northern European farmers were among the first to go “You know what? I want to try that cow’s milk. I mean… why not, right?” roughly 6000 years ago. Or so the theory states. Over time, they developed a genetic mutation to the enzyme that allows us to digest milk. These humans evolved to digest cow’s milk for as long as they were alive.
This familiarity with cow’s milk extended into the business world when it came time to make money off of that sweet, sweet utter juice. Milk was everywhere: delivered to our door by the milkman, in our schools, in our breakfast cereals.
Imagine getting made fun of for not putting milk in your cereal as a kid. Guess who’s the weirdo now, Stacy?!
Soon enough, “Got Milk?” entered the zeitgeist. Along with it, the idea that to be a successful athlete, you needed to drink milk. If Cal Ripken can play more consecutive games than any other baseball player, it must be the milk, right?
Speaking of athletes. Did you know that milk is the official sponsor of Team USA?
PED – Performance Enhancing Dairy
“New Zealand and the United States are the only countries in the world whose Olympic Committees are not government funded. They have to go out and get private funding.”
Enter the dairy industry to save the day! With “Got Milk?” featuring every famous athlete under the sun, it makes total sense that they would sponsor the Olympics. Since the government can’t be bothered, apparently.
“I have been exposed to and definitely pressured upon throughout that journey that milk – the mammalian secretions of the cow – are the only real way for athletes to recover from hard workouts, the only real way to build muscle and muscle tissue, and to repair and recover.
“I started to peel back all of the layers on everything that I had been taught and learned and really recognized that it was truly coming from a marketing perspective, not from an evidence-based perspective.”
It was at that moment, during the 2012 London Games (after winning the Silver in cycling), that inspired Dotsie Bausch to start Switch4Good.
“I had this idea to put on a commercial on the closing ceremonies of what then was the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on NBC that basically has seven of us, all Olympic athletes from four different countries.
“We’re standing up and saying, ‘Hey, guess what? We don’t need cows’ milk to recover. This isn’t the truth. It’s not a thing. And there are thousands of athletes that are finding a new way forward.’
“The dairy industry got it kicked off after it aired three times.”
Angering The Milk Masters
That move only served to fire Dotsie Bausch and her fellow athletes up. After being silenced by the dairy lobby, Switch4Good only got deeper and more motivated. The best way to crush your adversary is to silence them, right?
Smooth move, milk hawkers. You couldn’t just let it be. You just had to keep making your milk money.
Thanks to Big Milk’s fear and power, Switch4Good got strategizing.
“We work in two ways: behavior and culture change, but we also work on systemic change. We do quite a bit of work right now specifically to change the laws in the United States: that children have to be fed cow’s milk in schools. And if they don’t want one, they have to have a milk note from their parents.
“So, we’re working with members of Congress. It’s actually a regulatory change, not a statutory change. So it doesn’t have to be voted on.”
They even had a win.
“One of our big wins from last year was getting the dietary guidelines of America to put soy milk in as nutritionally equivalent so that here is a choice.
“Now we have to implement the choice into schools.”
Soy milk?! In public schools?! How… reasonable.
Some of you may consider soy milk in public schools to be hippie nonsense. But you’d be wrong. What is nonsense is drinking mammalian secretions from a mammal that is not at all related to humans.
Frankly, gorilla milk would make more sense.
Switch4Good and its mission to convert all dairy consumers into non-dairy consumers is an uphill battle. There isn’t just resistance from the powerful dairy industry. There’s personal resistance from smaller communities.
It wouldn’t be America without someone yelling, “You can’t tell me what to do!” Right?
Dotsie Bausch understands this better than you think.
“I grew up for thirty-five years of my life eating animals and the products of animals . . . loving animals, but mistreating them via I was a competitive horseback rider. So, it’s a journey and it’s painful to unpack 100 percent.”
“If you believe that we’re all equal – and I mean all – whether you have four legs or two, whether you have hair all over your body or just on your head – that [humans and animals] should have a relationship of mutuality and respect, not extraction.
“And that is how we treat so many animals – especially our food – as a product to extract from.
“That’s not equality, and I don’t think that’s fair.”
Convincing The Milk Drinkers
When it comes to convincing people to Switch4Good (see what I did there?) the strategies vary. What often gets people in the door is their own health. Say you want to cut dairy out and you start by drinking your coffee black. The idea of keeping yourself healthy is enough to check out Switch4Good and what they have to offer.
That, as Dotsie Basuch has pointed out, isn’t the “stickiest” of strategies. People give up on themselves for a variety of reasons.
If Dotsie Bausch and company want people to Switch4Good (look, I did it again!) they need to consider all strategies. One of the “stickiest,” according to market research, is the ethics side to this debate.
How Does Bessie Feel?
Imagine, just for a moment, that you’re a cow. You’re just trying to live your life, eating your cud, enjoying the sun, lying down when it’s about to rain. It’s kinda nice, no?
All is well when – suddenly – your perfectly nice day is interrupted by forcible impregnation.
You carry your calf to term, about nine months or so. Then you give birth (hopefully with the help of a ranchhand in the midst of their own coming-of-age story).
THEN, if forced impregnation wasn’t enough, you have your beautiful baby calf taken away from you.
Now, the milk you have produced to make your calf big and strong is now being harvested and extracted for some other entitled mammal to consume from a tiny paper carton in between math and gym.
Not only that, but sometimes it’s wasted through the nose of some snotty child, or mixed with chocolate like some kind of dessert! It’s even been used to ruin perfectly delicious coffee.
So, you’re forced to have a calf, it’s taken from you, and so is the milk you produce. All for the glorious pleasure of wealthy industry tycoons. Then, next year, it happens all over again.
Not so fun being the cow, is it?
Taking On Big Milk
Dotsie Bausch and Switch4Good have their work cut out for them. They’re fighting an uphill battle against industry, government, culture, and the stubborn.
“We’re still at the beginning. So quite honestly, I feel proud of the team that goes out every day – no matter how many doors are slammed in our face – because the door slams multiple times a day. It’s not like we’re getting water to children in sub-Saharan Africa. Everybody on planet Earth is like, ‘Yup, that’s a good idea!’ We are still seeding the idea that [consuming dairy] is not a good idea.
“We’re not doing something that’s popular. We’re doing something that’s straight up against the grain . . . eye-to-eye with the status quo. And it’s hard to get up every day with hope because it’s not wildly popular what we’re doing – nor do many people want to lean into it – it’s very hard to get attention and recognition.
“It’s the fierceness and the grit of the team to wake up every day and get creative and keep fighting.”
If anyone can get everyone in the world to Switch4Good (last time, I swear) it’s Dotsie Bausch and company.
Will you Switch4Good?
How a Startup Incubator Can Accelerate Your Business
In today’s fast-paced and competitive business landscape, startups often find themselves navigating a maze of challenges that can hinder their growth and potential.
This is where the concept of a startup incubator comes into play as a guiding light for emerging ventures. A startup incubator is more than just a physical space; it’s a dynamic ecosystem designed to nurture and propel early-stage ventures toward success.
In this article, we’ll tackle some of the most common questions surrounding incubators. For instance – what is the role of a startup incubator? How does it differ from an accelerator?
And most importantly, how can it optimize your business?
What is an incubator in a startup ecosystem?
In a startup ecosystem, an incubator refers to a supportive environment or program designed to help early-stage startups grow and develop.
Incubators provide a range of resources and services to entrepreneurs, typically for a fixed period of time, with the goal of nurturing and accelerating the growth of their businesses.
Here’s the usual process of how an incubator supports a startup:
Startups who applied and were accepted are welcomed into the incubator with an orientation session. During this phase, startups get an overview of the program’s structure, expectations, and available resources. They also meet their mentors, advisors, and fellow cohort members.
Mentorship and Guidance
Startups are paired with mentors who have relevant industry experience or expertise.
Regular mentorship sessions provide guidance, feedback, and insights to help startups navigate challenges and refine their strategies.
Workshops and Training
Incubators organize workshops, seminars, and training sessions on various aspects of entrepreneurship. Topics covered during the startup incubator program may include:
- Business planning
- Marketing strategies
- Product development
- Legal and regulatory matters
Access to Resources
Aside from training sessions, startups can also gain access to resources such as:
- Office space
- Co-working environments
- Internet connectivity
- Meeting rooms
Some incubators provide access to shared equipment, startup software, and other tools needed for product development.
Networking and Events
Incubators often facilitate networking events, pitch sessions, and demo days where startups can showcase their progress to potential investors, partners, and the broader community.
Startups work on refining their business models, products, and market strategies. They receive support in identifying their target audience, creating a value proposition, and developing a sustainable revenue model.
Funding and Investment
Incubators may provide introductions to potential investors, venture capitalists, and angel investors Startups also learn about different funding options and how to pitch their ideas to secure investment.
Successful completion of the incubator program results in a “graduation” for startups.
Graduated startups may continue to receive support through alumni networks, ongoing mentorship, or access to incubator resources.
Startup Incubator vs. Accelerator
A startup incubator and a startup accelerator are both support programs designed to assist early-stage startups, but they have distinct characteristics and objectives. Here’s a comparison between the two:
- Focus. Incubators typically have a broader focus and cater to startups in various stages of development. They often work with startups that are in the ideation or early development phase. Accelerators, on the other hand, are more specialized and typically work with startups that have a viable product or service and are ready to scale rapidly. They focus on accelerating growth and reaching key milestones quickly.
- Stage. Incubators are well-suited for startups that are still refining their business models, conducting market research, and building their initial product or service. Accelerators, meanwhile, are best suited for startups that have a minimum viable product (MVP) and are seeking to refine their business model, gain traction, and secure funding to scale.
- Mentorship. A startup incubator provides mentorship and guidance, often with a focus on helping founders refine their business ideas, develop prototypes, and validate their concepts. On the other hand, an accelerator’s mentorship is often geared towards specific aspects of growth, such as scaling operations, marketing, fundraising, and product-market fit.
Startup Incubator Examples
If you’re looking for the best startup incubators in the world, here are a few you of the most popular ones to consider.
1. Y Combinator
Situated in the USA, Y Combinator is considered one of the best startup incubators which has played an instrumental role in fostering the growth trajectories of some of the most renowned startups globally. The Y Combinator program spans a duration of three months, during which startups receive a funding injection of $500,000, albeit subject to certain conditions.
Subsequently, founders are immersed in a sequence of mentoring and refinement initiatives that culminate in the prestigious Demo Day. Here, founders showcase their concepts to an audience comprising investors and handpicked media representatives.
Mentees: Airbnb, Dropbox, Coinbase, Gitlab
Techstars directs its energy toward nurturing startups rooted in technology. Since its inception in 2006, Techstars has been a driving force behind the growth of numerous startups. Annually, they select more than 500 fledgling companies, providing them with up to $120,000 in investment and the invaluable chance to partake in mentorship programs.
Backed by an impressive funding sum of $21.3 billion, Techstars stands out as a reliable choice for technology-oriented startups. Within its portfolio of activities, Techstars hosts several high-profile events and initiatives, including Startup Week and Startup Weekend.
Mentees: Uber, DigitalOcean, SendGrid
3. 500 Startups
500 Startups operates as a dual-purpose platform, functioning as both an accelerator program and a seed fund dedicated to startups. Positioned primarily as a venture capital entity, they proudly proclaim a management portfolio worth $2.7 billion. Their primary interests converge on sectors where technology, innovation, and capital growth converge harmoniously.
Their extensive investment history spans more than 2,600 startups worldwide, underscoring the maturity and comprehensiveness of their accelerator program across diverse markets.
Mentees: Grab, Canva, Credit Karma
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need an incubator for my startup?
If you’re in the early stages, lack experience, and could benefit from structured guidance, resources, and mentorship, an incubator might be valuable. However, if you’re aiming for rapid growth and have a clear roadmap, an accelerator could be more appropriate.
Do startup incubators provide funding?
Yes, many startup incubators provide funding as part of their support package. However, the funding offered by incubators can vary widely depending on the specific program, location, and the terms of the agreement. Some incubators offer direct funding to startups, while others may connect startups with potential investors or provide resources to help them secure funding elsewhere.
Preparing the Shift to Mobile eCommerce: Tips + Tools
We Are Social reported that around 50% of the 16 to 64 demographic use their mobile to purchase something online weekly. With those in mind, your eCommerce business shouldn’t be confined to one place. It’s essential that you have a website and social media sites. Plus, don’t be afraid to list your products other than those platforms. Here’s how to make a successful shift towards mobile eCommerce.
1. Use Website Builders
Most website builders nowadays can optimize your eCommerce site on the desktop or mobile. These tools help you design and layout your website and make tweaks before publishing it. Moreover, you can add pages, such as blogs, products, and contact pages, to make your eCommerce site operational.
You don’t need to hire a web designer or developer immediately when creating your site on these builders. It’s ideal for new eCommerce site owners, considering you want the business up and running from Day 1 without any hassle.
2. Set Up Secure Payment Methods
One way to enhance your customer’s experience in your eCommerce site is setting up payment gateways. Although you install payment gateway plug-ins on your desktop, it’s crucial that it’s working on your mobile site, too. This way, your customers won’t experience any mishaps or issues when paying via mobile.
3. Widen Reach with Social Commerce
Mobile eCommerce isn’t only about a mobile eCommerce app. After all, it’s a catch-all term to describe all eCommerce-related strategies done on mobile. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have opened avenues for eCommerce sites to integrate their store into these platforms. Plus, social media sites are easily accessible on phones, allowing customers to browse anywhere.
You can promote your best-sellers and new products on these platforms. Then, ensure that you link to your website. This way, your customers can view other products, regardless of where they’re browsing them.
4. List Products on Other Relevant eCommerce Marketplaces
Even though you have a website, you can reach more people when posting items on other eCommerce stores. This allows you to get more exposure. It’s possible that your competitors are in the same marketplace. However, if you have the correct copy and high-quality images, your customers are likely to buy your products.
5. Develop an App or Hire an App Designer and Developer
Not all eCommerce sites have an app for their eCommerce products. But you can change the game by having one for easier browsing and a smoother experience. However, app development is challenging for non-developers. There are no-code app makers to use for your new app.
Or, if creating an app is too tedious, hiring an app developer and designer is a much better alternative. They have the know-how to create an optimized app for your eCommerce site. You can find them on freelance sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
Mobile eCommerce Tools
Shopify is one of the top eCommerce tools for all businesses. You can build a site, sell online, market your products, and manage your business. You don’t need experience developing or designing a website on Shopify. The eCommerce platform has a no-code website builder, letting users create sites in minutes. Additionally, Shopify allows you to integrate apps into your online store, including payment gateways.
Another contender in website building is Wix. Like Shopify, it’s fast, easy, and simple to create and design a website. Their web design feature, “Editor X,” allows you to customize your site. Also, you can use their Wix Payments feature. It’s their solution for all payments, allowing customers to pay via Apple Pay, credit card, and other payment methods.
If you need a payment method solution, Stripe is one of the best eCommerce payment tools! You can accept payments globally. Plus, Apple Pay and Google Pay are two payment methods to integrate into your Stripe account. Stripe is also advanced because it can detect fraud and block it. Plus, you can increase conversions and launch subscriptions.
An alternative to Stripe payments is PayPal. As one of the oldest payment methods, you can trust this tool for easy payments. You can install PayPal for your checkout needs. Plus, you can even request payments! Additionally, PayPal accepts credit and debit card payments worldwide!
Don’t have time to post all the time? Consider Sked as your social media management tool. You don’t need to publish and tag your posts manually. Sked helps you tag posts directly on their dashboard. You don’t have to worry about losing your product tags. Plus, Sked will add your shoppable posts in one gallery!
Post your products on these sites:
Another social media management platform to consider for your mobile eCommerce needs is Planoly. Like Sked, Planoly enables users to tag shoppable posts without leaving the social media management platform. You can post your products with Planoly:
Content creation tools are necessary to make your mobile eCommerce strategies successful. Canva is one of these tools to promote your eCommerce site and products. You can use the abovementioned social media schedulers or other options. It’s easy to create designs for your social media platforms. Or you can create custom designs for your website and post them on other eCommerce marketplaces.
If you want a simple yet functional app, you can create one with Jotform! They use a drag-and-drop model when you build and design your app. Plus, you can use their templates to build your app in minutes. Finally, you can share your app with a QR, which will download the app to your customers’ devices.
Glide is another no-code option to consider when building your app. Like Jotform, you can create using templates and customize your app design. Additionally, you can integrate productivity tools into creating your app and automate workflows!
Our final mobile eCommerce tool is Buildfire! They have a dedicated eCommerce solution that allows you to sync your products and organize your inventory. You can even add a notification so users are informed when their products are in stock or when they need to complete checkout.
How to Grow a Business on TikTok: 8 Branding Strategies
With over 1 billion average monthly active users, TikTok provides new opportunities for businesses to engage with audiences. TikTok for Business has emerged as a dynamic social media marketing channel that helps small businesses grow. Have you ever wondered how to grow a business on TikTok in a highly competitive social media marketing world? Explore the best TikTok branding strategies that could help your business reach a massive audience.
1. Choose Your Niche Topic
Like most social media platforms, you must create and share-worthy content to be popular. You must create consistent branding if you’ve chosen TikTok to promote your brand. The possibilities to produce excellent content are endless. Pick a more familiar topic and share your knowledge and experience about it.
First, research your competitors to see the types of content they post on the platform. Then, try your best to produce better content to outrank them. Likewise, monitoring and analyzing user feedback will let you understand whether or not you are moving in the right direction.
2. Create Engaging Content
Working with TikTok influencers and putting hashtags is crucial for promoting your brand to a large audience, but let’s face the truth: these strategies will only work if the content you share is balanced.
Remember that on TikTok, you only have 15-60 seconds to convince the users to follow you. So, pay more attention to the quality of content rather than posting irrelevant things just to be active.
Be sure to create a pleasant, understandable video, as this is the first thing that catches a visitor’s attention. As a creator, you must ensure the correct design is used for all posts. Think about the captions of your videos. If you need more insights, read our blog about what to consider in creating a TikTok content strategy.
3. Work with Influencers
TikTok influencers may be known for their small audiences compared to Instagram influencers. But, reaching out to target users will help you promote your brand or company.
Develop professional partnerships with influencers whose audience might be interested in your brand and will likely buy. This is similar to the principles of Instagram advertising works.
Tapping influencers into the TikTok platform is one way of producing high-quality content. It also enables you to get more sponsored publications. So, if your budget allows partnering with the influencer to promote your product, go for it!
4. Join a Hashtag Challenge
The TikTok hashtag challenge is a dynamic marketing strategy that encourages users to participate in creating and sharing content about a specific theme. The goal is to generate user-generated content that aligns with your brand’s message, values, or products. It also aims to drive user engagement and increase brand visibility.
TikTok content creators might have a limited following compared with Instagram influencers. Nevertheless, the key lies in connecting with your desired audience to market your business effectively. Collaborating with influencers whose followers align with your brand’s appeal can attract potential customers inclined to purchase. This process is similar to the principles of advertising on Instagram.
5. Collaborate with Other Creators Via TikTok Marketing Campaigns
Sometimes, you want your brand to reach a large audience, but your budget is limited. In such situations, a partnership with content creators or other brands may work for you.
For instance, if you work in the fashion industry and want to promote your company, you may find other people from this field with a solid following for potential collaboration. Reach out and tell them you’re interested in a partnership project. The mutual potential benefits of collaborative projects are noticeable, so there is a high chance someone will take up your suggestion.
6. Invest in Advertising
TikTok introduced a specialized advertising system, benefiting brands from a large user base. TikTok offers three types of digital advertising:
- Native In-Feed Ads
- Hashtag Challenge Ads
- Brand Ads.
Brand ads are the most efficient way to drive traffic to your landing page. And when it comes to targeting TikTok ads, there are two options:
- Interest Targeting. Like Facebook ads, this option lets you pick an interest relevant to your target audience. The platform shows ads to a particular group.
- Behavioral Targeting. This ad targeting type allows you to advertise to people based on their behavior within the last week or two.
7. Keep Up with Trends and Make Them Work for Your Business
As you’ve already noticed, TikTok is full of trends. This is a social network where trends change over time. It ranges from popular songs, video effects, challenges, and hashtags. But how do we identify a trend among millions of videos on TikTok? Keep up to date by tracking hashtags and themes. You must follow these trends and analyze how your business can benefit.
8. Monitor and Assess the Results of your Campaigns
Hashtags and creativity are all good, but remember that a fundamental element of any marketing strategy is evaluating the results of a campaign. Using an analytics tool, you can get valuable insights from your promotional efforts and how to improve them. If you need more engagement, consider what mistakes could have caused such an effect and how to fix them. Your clips may be underperforming because they’re not funny enough. Updating yourself with analytics is a powerful way to enlarge your audience and generate more sales.
TikTok stands as a significant milestone in the evolution of contemporary social media. Centered around interaction, it has attracted millions of Gen-Z users and become the most active advertising channel. With these eight branding strategies at your disposal, you’ll be able to understand how to grow a business on TikTok. Once you’ve learned the basics, showcasing your product or brand to a large TikTok community will be easier.