Executive Vice President, Brand Management, Marketing and Strategy (EVP)

Bold Rock Partners LP

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Bold Rock Partners LP has a rare opening for a newly created and key leadership position. Bold Rock is a lifestyle brand aligned with love of the outdoors, youth, fun, nature and quality located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Nellysford, Virginia and Mills River, North Carolina. We are in the market for an astonishing people leader who will tune and expand product placements so that more Bold Rock products find their way to current and future fans. This stalwart will drive all aspects of the brand and all revenue generating activities at the company. Additionally, this talented new leader will bring a well-worn record of successfully guiding strategy, marketing and sales management for other on-fire brands. The EVP will join the team of energetic and enthusiastic salespeople, engagement squads, creative players, service wizards, and jacks of all trades. It will be a job of a lifetime working to lead and further elevate this much-admired high-growth brand. 

More about Bold Rock, the story starts with an unlikely partnership between two guys from different sides of the world. These two salt-of-the-earth characters – one a southern gentleman, the other an affable Kiwi bloke – founded the company in June of 2012. Since then, the remarkable ultra-high quality, fresh Bold Rock Hard Cider they fashioned has garnered so many resoundingly loyal fans that Bold Rock has now become the nation’s largest independently-owned cider company and the number two overall cider brand family in the U.S. This success in cider has given birth to recent line extensions in seltzer and in ready to drink, canned cocktails. It surprises some that Bold Rock is now the 26th largest Craft (Beer or Cider) brand in the U.S. (and not far behind Ballast Point at present). So far this year, Bold Rock is the 11th fastest growing craft brand among the 30 largest. All of this from a highly concentrated distribution area of just eight bordering states. 

This story continues to unfold with the first major product line extensions hitting the shelves this year. Early returns are excellent, and the opportunity for growth is huge. It is time to add an experienced marketing professional to the team that will strategically lead the brand and will thrive on putting their ingenuity to the test each day. It will become very apparent to the right candidate that the depth and challenge of this role is exactly what they have been training for, building for and are ready to take on. More than that, our new EVP at Bold Rock will quietly know that undertaking and succeeding in this role will lead to legendary status as a high-growth leader. 

A pure marketing pedigree is less important for success in this job than the right blend of experience in managing a brand as well as a sales team, understanding and setting strategy while managing tactics and execution in sales. If you can lead a rapidly growing brand and you have an initiator’s attitude and an ability to learn, Bold Rock can provide you with a platform to drive the bus, lead our top-line results and to own our brands. 

Culture at Bold Rock is paramount. No doubt we are a proud team--a tight, fun group of people who like to work hard and really enjoy each other’s company. It’s a very exciting time at the company and everyone from the senior leadership team on down wants to work alongside someone in this new key role that shares both their passion and excitement. 

This is the most important external hire we have ever made. 

Who You Are 

Strategist: Sees and understands the goal, has the big-picture and is acutely aware of trends and what moves the needle. Contemplative, deliberate and a willing decision maker who thrives in building an implementable plan despite challenges or obstacles. At ease directing and adjusting the plan for the long-term. 

Captain: Shows up ready with homework accomplished. Has exceptional energy with a long term, calm vision but raises expectations and communicates to encourage the team to rise above challenges, to reduce hurdles. Independent yet willing to take counsel. Handles stress well and bears up under pressure. Confident but not conceited. 

Venturer: Driven to discover, search and scrutinize. Excels in situations where walls and boundaries need to be pushed. Sturdy, firm and focused on achieving objectives. Often using enterprising, fresh and occasionally untested methods to accomplish goals. 

If you are a highly-motivated, hard-working, curious, fun energizer with a record of leadership and success in curating brands, carrying the revenue generating load and leading people, apply to become Bold Rock’s Executive Vice President by: 

1) writing a compelling cover letter stating your case to become the Executive Vice President, and

2) enclosing your resume, and

3) sending it to: boldrock@growthsearchpartners.com 

As for the business details and some additional meaningful granules, please both read the product segment summaries and the position description information below: 

U.S. Cider Segment Summary (Source: Nielsen) 

Cider grew faster than beer, wine or spirits last year. 40% of cider drinkers are between the ages of 21 and 29. Cider is the most gender balanced alcohol category, with 51% of drinkers being male and 49% of drinkers being female. Regional and local cider retail sales increased 23% in 2018 (local craft beer increased 9.3% in 2018). Cider’s total sales rely more heavily on on-premise sales than that of the other sectors, which are all about 50/50 on/off-premise. Cider drinkers visit on-premise establishments more often than beer drinkers, and cider drinkers spend more money. Nearly a quarter of cocktail drinkers age 21-34 report drinking cider cocktails. 

U.S. Hard Seltzer Segment Summary 

The Hard Seltzer Market typically features a brewed, gluten-free adult beverage that contains 4-6% alcohol by volume and often highlights a fruit based flavor on a carbonated seltzer base. 

Lew Bryson in a recent article he wrote for The Daily Beast reports that White Claw from Mark Anthony Brands the makers of Mike’s Hard Lemonade has a 60% share of the hard seltzer market and Truly by Boston Beer has a 30% share of the U.S. at present. The hard seltzer category has nearly 100% penetration in the liquor store and supermarket channels, but he writes that “only 20% of bars and restaurants are currently selling it.” 

Enthusiasm for hard seltzer aligns with the broader trend toward the increasing volume of carbonated water sales in the U.S. and the overall interest in saving a few calories. 

Sean King of UBS anticipates that Hard Seltzer will grow from 14 million cases nationally in 2018 to 72 million cases in 2021, by the calculation in his report that is a CAGR of over 66%. 

At present, the hard seltzer market is equal in size to the entire cider market and was up 193% last year according to Nielsen. 

Measured SKUs are now at 82 items versus a reported 30 items in 2017 as new entrants and variations proliferate. 

As phenomenal as the growth has been in hard seltzer, actually the fastest growing segment of the broader ready-to-drink (or RTD) segment was malt-based cocktails.  According to Nielsen’s January 2019 Homescan Omnibus Survey “consumers are showing great interest in RTDs, from malt-based cocktails to hard seltzers.” 

U.S. Canned Cocktail Segment Summary 

As EATER online journal reports, “But today’s ready-to-drink cocktails are a far cry from the sugary, artificial mixtures of the past. These drinks swap malt bases for quality spirits distilled in-house and are strategically crafted by teams dedicated to finding recipes that work. Southern Tier Distilling makes a vodka madras with cardamom and chamomile; Interboro Spirits and Ales makes a gin and tonic featuring its own Goodwin Hill Gin, along with accents of juniper berry, lemon peel, black pepper, licorice, angelica root, and coriander; Cooper Spirits Co. sells a canned version of Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye, containing rye whiskey, raw honey, navel oranges, and rock candy.” 

Taxed differently by the TTB, canned cocktails only recently became more mainstream as Yuseff Cherney, founder of Cutwater Spirits, an AB-owned, San Diego-based spirits brand states “for a long time, higher prices prevented a proliferation of canned cocktails, and were a driving force behind the production of flavored malt beverages in the first place.” 

Finally, as EATER reporter Beth Krietsch reported in July in a piece entitled “Canned Cocktails Are Actually, Finally Good” that “canning cocktails is not a casual undertaking: producing a drink that comes out of the can with the proper level of carbonation, correct flavor profile, and shelf stability requires a host of equipment and a great deal of finesse.” 

Executive Vice President, Brand Management, Marketing and Strategy 

The EVP is dually responsible for profitably growing the overall Bold Rock business and creatively adding brand value across consumer segments, product profiles and geographies. This extraordinary new leader will make important assessments and deftly judge where to open new markets and work to successfully launch new products. Both the ability to select, develop and encourage people and bring sound leadership will determine success in this role. The EVP will lead all aspects of the company except for operations, finance and administration and will report to the Chairman of the Board. Outside of the role of the President, this is one of four key leadership roles within Bold Rock. 

Many strategic planning functions for the overall business will be the responsibility of the EVP. Foremost, this leader will set the strategy to maintain the current high growth rate of the business. Central to this role will be questions involving when, where and how to launch Bold Rock into new geographies. Other decisions about how to successfully bring new products to market, enter new categories, make new taproom investments and drive new levels of enthusiasm for Bold Rock will be front and center. 

As referenced above, Bold Rock has two primary company-owned venues located in Nellysford, VA and in Mills River, NC. Both venues are very important to the overall business for many reasons—not the least of which is how they strongly reflect and reinforce the Bold Rock brand as a lifestyle. The EVP will collaborate and lead the venue planning and execution work along with Bold Rock’s venue manager and the entire team. It is critical that we deliver a best-in-class customer experience for those visiting our cideries. The EVP and the venue manager will make those important decisions necessary to further elevate the overall level of customer rave. Ideally, achieving this rave by creating such a great visitor experience at the cidery venues that those visitors leave fully committed to encourage others to partake. Food, beverage, music, events, upkeep and staff attentiveness will be key factors. 

Bold Rock needs to continue adding to its thriving, innovative marketing programs and the company needs a leader that successfully invests the time necessary to pursue exceptional PR efforts that lead to special levels of brand narrative. The company also needs this new leader to guide effective advertising and promotion campaigns across the broad spectrum of available channels. 

The ideal EVP should possess tremendous observation, engagement, leadership and communication skills. This prospective new leader will make their case by easily and verifiably demonstrating their past success as a leader of an on-fire, high-growth company. They will also have built a business that sustained its growth for the long- term and they will understand the imperative of moving smartly to grow while the window to grow is there. 

Location

The EVP may elect to reside in any of the following locations: Charlottesville, Richmond, Asheville or Charlotte. 

Objectives and Responsibilities of EVP 

Leadership/Supervisory Role: The most prominent role of the EVP is to lead. The EVP oversees and is accountable for all revenue growth and attainment activities and the performance of the marketing, branding and venue work so pivotal to Bold Rock. This leader will also oversee the public relations, content, SEO, SEM, performance marketing, CRM, brand marketing, partnering, sponsoring and marketing operations activities within the company. 

In this capacity, the EVP is tasked with creating the vision and carefully and collaboratively communicating that vision to the team. As the leader of our sales and marketing teams, a strong level of coherence is expected in both planning and execution. A + B needs to lead to C. The EVP will also play a mentorship role with all marketing and sales personnel by assisting in the execution of their duties upon request, by working to ensure their growth in their professional skills, by understanding them personally, by understanding their ambitions and by earning their trust. 

Strategy: The EVP plays the leading role in building and fostering an integrated go-to-market strategy while entering new markets, bringing new products to market or when striving to bring renewed vibrancy to existing territories. The EVP should initiate and implement a useful KPI and a measurables strategy as a means of drawing focus and attention to the goals at hand. 

Collaboration: The EVP will also be highly collaborative. This leader will possess a strong sense of devotion to a process of continually evangelizing and harmonizing Bold Rock’s strategy and reflecting the company’s value proposition to its target audiences. 

The new leader will mobilize the marketing communications team to launch strategies and ensure clear communications that nurture brand awareness with an exuberant, youthful style. This leader will also work closely with the marketing analytics staff for the purpose of measuring the marketing programs and campaign results, formulating solutions, and adjusting these programs in order to successfully target both the company’s brand and business goals. 

Online Initiatives: In today’s world, online marketing has taken root not only in terms of efficiency but also effectiveness. The EVP plays a leading role in ensuring that Bold Rock maintains a fresh, category-leading online, social media and buzz presence that will drive aggressive awareness for the business and escalate positive chatter across important digital platforms. 

Awareness Building/Offline Initiatives: The EVP must not, however, focus on online initiatives alone. This leader should build awareness for the purpose of ensuring that the business is seen as a thought-leader in the market, she or he will broadly strive to build and develop connections that ensure that market influencers within key demographics are aware of and fervent about the brand. Genuine believers in our products will do their own promoting and storytelling and this is important.  

Brand Building/Story Telling: The EVP is also responsible for the continuous development of the business’s unique and compelling voice, which also aids in building awareness, uniqueness, relevance, esteem, and reputation, among target consumers. This leader ensures that the business’ brand is strong and consistent in all marketing strategies and tactics. The EVP also ensures that the brand’s story is communicated creatively. 

Relationships: The EVP is also tasked with establishing meaningful business relationships on behalf of the business. In this capacity, the EVP leverages and broadens the business’s reach and impact by leveraging cause and affinity marketing partnerships.  Moreover, this leader and the marketing team will consider forming strong relationships with market influencers as well as media outlets to optimize positive PR and influencer marketing opportunities. 

Required Qualifications of EVP 

Education: The EVP must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university. An MBA from a leading program would be considered a plus. 

Experience: This candidate must have led the market-facing revenue generating team for a division or an entire brand family within the food or beverage space, ideally within the adult beverage segment. For the prospective EVP candidate, it will be highly important to demonstrate experience in a high-growth, rapid-run-to-the-goal environment. Additionally, having successfully worked in applicable marketing roles such as brand manager or either a key brand or digital analytics role is a very important building block for this role. The successful candidate will also need to demonstrate that they have a well-rounded knowledge of Bold Rock’s current marketing environment. This leader will also demonstrate vast experience in leadership and an ability to motivate and promote professional development of a cross-functional team, having led that team from the conceptualization of a marketing initiative to its successful completion. 

A suitable candidate will also have had a proven and successful record in building brand awareness and will portray a deep understanding of chain store relationships, key distributor playbooks, marketing principles, sales leadership, and product and service management. 

Communication Skills: Communication skills are an absolute necessity for the EVP, both in written and in verbal form. The entire marketing group’s proficiency and effectiveness is dependent on the clarity and conciseness of this leader’s communication in regard to information and instructions. 

This leader is also charged with creating and presenting marketing and sales reports to the Board and fellow senior leadership team members. The EVP also acts as a key representative for the business and in order to bring out a quality image of the business and create strong and meaningful relationships on its behalf, this leader must be able to communicate clearly and convincingly to media outlet personnel, market influencers, industry boards, conference panels and other external partners. It will be very meaningful for the EVP to observe each of the primary market competitors and their own PR coverage within the broader cider, seltzer and related markets. As an initiator, act to drive superior public editorial and cause Bold Rock to be top of mind for all key “best in class” lists published. 

MS Office: A candidate for this position must also be highly proficient in MS Word, PowerPoint, and MS Excel, which are necessary for the creation of verbally and visually engaging marketing materials, reports, and presentations. Strong familiarity with Slack and Trello are considered a plus. 

Analytical Skills: The EVP must also possess a deep interest and understanding of marketing analytics as well as the insights realized from these. The candidate for this position must demonstrate a keen understanding of market dynamics and will build the necessary industry network outside of Bold Rock to gain sharp insights be- fore they become mainstream. Of course, having a strong ability to translate these insights into actionable strategies and derive marketing programs that positively lead to achieving the business’s overall objectives is very important. 

Interpersonal Skills: A suitable candidate will have an ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously and meet rigid deadlines, be extremely comfortable working in a fast-paced environment and be comfortable work- ing in a group setting. This leader must be self-motivated and inspire the same in others, have a positive can- do attitude, have excellent time-management skills and have exceptional problem-solving skills. The EVP should be a creative and strategic thinker and can demonstrate calmness and composure under pressure and uncertainty. 

Leadership/People Skills: The EVP must demonstrate superior leadership skills, having an ability to engage and encourage all of the teams within Bold Rock of the merit of an idea or a strategy and work toward a common vision. This leader will have a natural ability to develop effective relationships internally within the business as well as externally and will understand how important spending time developing these relationships will be to build collaboration and achieve. 

In summary, the candidate for this position must be approachable, likable, and relatable—making simple for the junior personnel, stakeholders, sales teams, distributor partners, chain channel and C-store staff, media personnel, and advisors to trust in this leader’s insights, judgments and rationale. 

Lastly, Bold Rock is a fun place to work and the high growth the company enjoys adds to the energy level and the opportunities for everyone here. Sustaining that vibe will require an appreciation of what it took to develop it. This leader will be a very important influence on both success and morale. 


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