People Moves: Essentia Adds to Creative Team

Essentia Adds to Creative Team

Premium water brand Essentia is expanding its in-house creative team through a pair of new hires, as part of a ongoing effort to build out its s marketing infrastructure.

The Seattle-based company, founded in 1998, has been one of the primary drivers behind the growth of the U.S. premium water category. While completing the building of a national direct store delivery (DSD) network, Essentia also began efforts to position itself as a dynamic lifestyle brand with appeal to “Overachieving” millennial audiences, starting with the appointment of former Adidas and Microsoft executive Karyn Abrahamson as vice president of marketing in 2015.

The two new senior hires — Eric Karp, who joins as senior director of brand engagement, and Mark Weikel, named as the brand’s new creative director — will be tasked with furthering Essentia’s development into a lifestyle-oriented company.

According to a press release announcing the moves, Essentia’s integrated marketing team will now be “structured to mirror the customer journey with areas of specialty around driving broad brand awareness, engagement, purchase and loyalty marketing.”

“Bringing Eric and Mark onboard is significant and key to our rapidly growing marketing department,” Abrahamson, now Essentia’s CMO, said in the release. “Both have made remarkable contributions at every step of their respective careers, challenging and improving upon the status quo. I’m confident they will help to drive even greater creativity, engagement and loyalty for Essentia with our consumers.”

Karp joins Essentia from men’s activewear brand Tommy Bahama, also based in Seattle, where he worked as senior director of brand marketing. He also has previously been in marketing roles at Microsoft and Wenner Media.

At Essentia, Karp will be in the newly created position of senior director of brand engagement, where he will be tasked with overseeing social media, influencer marketing, external brand partnerships and field marketing activities.

Karp wrote in an email to BevNET that he was excited about the opportunity to further develop Essentia’s relationship with millennial consumers who align with its “Overachieving H20” branding. That will include a deeper social media presence aimed at helping users share “how Essentia helps them to overachieve every day.”

“Millennials are attached to their phones 24/7—our job is to continue to use this medium, expand our current content mix and develop more of a conversation with our fan base and to provide an opportunity and a place if you will, to share the stories that we know resonate with them,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Weikel will take the helm of Essentia’s newly established in-house creative workshop as Creative Director. He will have a broad control over creative decisions and the narrative vision for Essentia in social media campaigns, retail promotions, in-store displays, POS materials, and the company’s website. Weikel had previously led the creative department at guitar manufacturer Seymour Duncan.

“I’m thrilled to accept this new challenge and am energized by the opportunity to craft a brand story that not only connects with people on an emotional level, but inspires them to take action,” Weikel said in the release. “My goal is to continue to develop a narrative that positively impacts consumers throughout their day and creates a deeper emotional connection with millennial overachievers across the country.”

In an email to BevNET, Weikel said that he was attracted to Essentia’s brand identity being linked to its celebration of the “person” rather than the product. “We make it all about the consumer; I find that very compelling from a brand standpoint,” he wrote.

Speaking about the the potential output for Essentia’s in-house studio, Weikel wrote that content production is set to grow at “a massive scale” in various formats, including digital, retail and video.

“Being in-house, we can control our brand identity and stay true to our core values,” he wrote in an email. “We’ll drive more engagement and continue to develop a strategy that’s all-encompassing of what our brand believes in which, ultimately, is celebrating overachievers.”

Essentia made headlines recently after CNBC reported that the company was working with Credit Suisse to explore a potential sale. Sources close to the company later confirmed that Essentia had been working with the investment bank for over a year, but that no official sales process was underway.

James Moss Joins BOS as U.S. Managing Director

South African rooibos tea brand BOS has appointed James Moss as its U.S. managing director ahead of an expected national rollout later this year.

According to a press release, Moss will be charged with leading U.S. business development and distribution expansion for BOS, which produces a variety of ready-to-drink and packaged rooibos products. The brand launched in the U.S. in Southern California earlier this year, introducing its 12 oz. canned iced tea line in five flavors — Lemon, Lime & Ginger, Yuzu, Peach and Berry. Sugar-free SKUs are scheduled to debut in Q4, followed by multi-serve bottles in late 2019.

“James’ passion for the food and beverage industry, dynamic portfolio, and successful track record building brands with impact is the exact combination of expertise that is crucial as we expand brand awareness and adoption in the U.S.,” said BOS Brands CEO Dave Evans in a press release.

Moss, a native of Cape Town, arrives at BOS from Wild Friends Foods, an Oregon-based producer of non-GMO nut and seed butter products, where he served as vice president and head of sales. Moss had previously held that same position at Dallas-based GoodBelly from 2013-2015, according to his LinkedIn profile, and was a director of national accounts for Cadbury Schweppes for just over six years.

“As a Cape Town, South Africa native myself, rooibos tea was truly a part of everyday life growing up,” Moss said in the release. “I’m excited to join a brand whose unique ingredients and bold, fun loving spirit align so perfectly with my heritage. Continuing the global momentum that has been generated for this iconic South African drink in the U.S. is truly a privilege.”