Social Talk: Meet a Marketing Expert
by Social Nature Team | May 9th, 2018
We recently had the chance to sit down with Randall Heilik, Marketing Manager at AOR, to learn more about how she found her “professional soulmate”, how corporate values drive everything from concept to product launch, and how Mother Nature inspires her brand strategy.
Q: Tell us about yourself! What is your professional background and how did you start working with AOR?
“It’s funny — and may sound odd — but with AOR I feel as though I’ve found my professional soulmate.”
I have a Marketing Communications degree from Ryerson University. I initially worked in the fashion and interior design industries but after facing some health challenges I went back to school and completed my degree in nutrition. This ultimately pivoted my career completely, and I found AOR. It’s funny — and may sound odd — but with AOR I feel as though I’ve found my “professional soulmate”. It’s my perfect career match as it combines my background in marketing and nutrition. I just feel so at home at AOR.
Q: As a market leader in the supplement space, which strategies or tools would you recommend other marketers start integrating into their annual planning? In your eyes, what is the future of marketing?
For me, it’s about creating brand experiences with the end consumer involved. We can’t just push the brand — it’s now a mutual relationship between the company and the consumer.
As a company, we need to understand what our consumer’s core values are and how (or if) we can align with them; as a marketer, I want our customers to feel invested in our brand. Marketing is like relationship development: If you want a long-term relationship, it needs to be interactive, both parties matter, and it ought to be genuine.
Even though I had formal marketing education and learned of a plethora of high-level strategies I don’t really buy into them. I believe in grassroots principles, at the end of the day this concept doesn’t require high-level strategies or massive paid media — it simply requires human to human contact.
Q: AOR recently launched an Eco Series of carrageenan-free vegan softgels —congratulations! What is the concept and inspiration behind Eco Series?
The Eco Series offers a number of different products for a variety of different health concerns, from foundational vitamins, such as D3 and K2, to more specialized treatment methods for specific conditions, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome.
I launched this series as an outlet for AOR to see what it takes to source, manufacture, and design a truly environmentally sustainable supplement line. It is our opportunity to celebrate Mother Nature, the feminine spirit, and put Mother Nature on the pedestal she deserves. It has been enormously challenging developing a truly sustainable line, but our whole team has resonated so strongly with the concept and welcomed the chance for AOR to really make an impact.
Q: What are some of the unique steps you took to integrate this concept & values into the Eco Series?
The first step was replenishing our raw materials from around the globe, but in that process, we had to drop some vendors and find alternatives that met our very strict requirements (non-GMO, wildcrafted, organic, hexane-free, no pesticide use, fair-trade, etc.). We found the most progressive printing company in Canada, Hemlock Printers, who handled the printing of all of our marketing materials and product labels on Stone Paper, which reduced the overall carbon footprint to be 67% less than pulp paper. We also made the choice to reduce our carbon footprint by mandating that the raw materials come to our Calgary headquarters via water or land, as opposed to air.
Q: How did the concept for the Eco Series influence your marketing strategy for supporting this launch?
“This technology was in development for over 5 years, and we are so proud to be the world’s first brand to offer a stable vegan softgel without the controversial additive, Carrageenan.”
AOR prides itself on being an inclusive, transparent, and accessible brand. Our goal is to open the door for all people to embrace their core values — just because you make the choice to be vegan doesn’t mean you should sacrifice access to technology like softgel delivery, which provides bioavailability and delivery benefits.
Whether you are a vegan or not, research shows that veganism does have a positive impact on the environment, so as the world’s first vegan softgel free of the controversial additive, Carrageenan, the product line became centralized around environmental sustainability.
Market research is also showing that a growing number of consumers prefer or seek vegan-friendly products, not necessarily because they are vegan, but because it’s typically better for the environment.
Thanks, Randall — here’s to an exciting 2018!