BevNET Live’s Second Day Draws The Entrepreneurial Path

Berardi presented next and said that he also favors certain risks, especially those that raise a brand’s ceiling. As his company grew, Berardi said he felt truly attached to glass bottles for his products. Glass was his point of differentiation in the energy category, compared to the cans of Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar among others. He wanted HiBall to serve as the premium energy drink, not just one of the other cans in a long aisle. However in time, he realized that differentiation must be as focused as possible into one area.

“It’s about the liquid,” he said, “not about the package.”

Berardi weighed the pros and cons of switching to a can. He noted that cans have more real estate to convey the brand’s message; 60 percent more volume with 30 percent lower cost per ounce. He realized that cans chill faster, stay colder and have a shelf life 18 months longer than glass. He was discouraged by the idea of drastic change amid serious growth and risking retail placements and distribution slots during transition. After weighing both sides, he made the switch.

“We literally did not lose anyone,” Berardi said.

HiBall, which BevNET honored as 2012’s best energy drink, currently resides in Whole Foods, Safeway, Kroger, Stop & Shop, Giant Eagle, Shaw’s, Wegmans and more. In August 2012, the company signed with L.A. Libations to scale and evaluate opportunities in DSD, convenience stores and elsewhere.

“You’ve got to make key strategic partnerships,” Berardi said. “It’s so critical.”
Berardi said that he stayed versatile and nimble, always considered margins greater than 50 percent, networked as much as possible, remained open to change and used his gut to make decisions.
“I had enough with artificially flavored, sugary energy drinks,” he said. “I created HiBall because I knew there had to be a better way.”

As Berardi noted, it can be difficult to encourage flexibility during growth, however his willingness to change led to his brand’s ascension.

For  MTV’s Shore, on the other hand, flexibility is a way of life, because his day consists of multimedia efforts to keep pace with the constantly changing minds of millennials.

“I’m the guy that knows more about Jersey Shore than any human being should know about Jersey Shore,” he said.

By following the trends of millennials, Shore is able to adapt MTV and meet consumer demands, no matter how deranged they may be. He used music as an example. Everything used to be released as vinyl in a sleeve. These days we’ve got MP3’s and iPod shuffles.

In a slideshow devoted to illustrating key traits of the millennial generation, he noted the difference in today’s culture compared to years previous. The baby boomers dissented against the system. The flannel-wearing Kurt Cobain fans wanted to smash the system. These days, millennials want to take over the system.

“They’ve been handed these amazing tools to take over the world,” Shore said. “Think of Harry Potter. Every kid’s got a magic wand.”

When parents started using Facebook as a family photo album, millennials fled the party and joined Twitter and Instagram. They use words like “yolo,” “cray,” “legit,” “obvi,” and “boss” to name a few. They dislike driving because it’s singular and distant from the computer.

All of these seemingly odd tendencies are widespread and Shore argues that companies need to start paying attention, rather than dictate the market.