Entrance interview: OLLY’s new CRO shares the brand’s goals for 2024

MillersCoors and Wrigley vet Bryan Ferschinger previews the vitamin brand’s expansion this year.
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· 4 min read

As consumers kick off the new year with health and wellness goals (ranging, often, from doable to completely unrealistic), categories like vitamins and supplements may likely be part of that fresh start.

For vitamin brand OLLY, the C-suite, too, is seeing a shift in the new year, as Bryan Ferschinger, the brand’s new chief revenue officer, is just a month into his gig. He joined OLLY from reservation management system Tock, and has also had an extensive food and beverage industry career, which included VP of marketing for MillerCoors’s Above Premium brands and director of strategic growth and innovation for Wrigley’s US gum portfolio.

OLLY, known for its colorful bottles of gummy supplements, was founded in 2014 and acquired by Unilever in 2019, situated in its Beauty & Wellbeing portfolio alongside brands like Dove and Vaseline. The brand has a wide portfolio of gummies, gels, and capsules addressing issues like mood, sleep, and gut health.

“It’s one of those brands that basically came in and turned a category on its head,” Ferschinger told Retail Brew. “It was much more relatable and approachable with how it came to life and the way that the products are named.”

As he enters the new year in a new role, Ferschinger shared his goals for the brand in 2024.

Revving up: The chief revenue officer role is “how you would think traditionally of a CMO role,” he said, with responsibilities including overseeing brand strategy, portfolio management and partnerships, creative campaigns, along with its e-commerce business. (OLLY’s former CMO Jessica Heitz transitioned to the newly created CRO role last April before departing in October.)

Working across big CPG and, most recently, a startup tech company, has given Ferschinger a “broad perspective” on working with established brands and the ability to “be scrappy and bold and be willing to break a few things along the way,” he said.

Ferschinger said he aims to use that wide skillset to make OLLY “an even more sticky household name” by building up credibility with consumers and establishing its products in their daily routines at multiple points in the day, while also debuting marketing campaigns that “push the envelope.” The brand began the year with a “Wellness on Your Terms” campaign coming as consumers often “reevaluate” their health in the new year, and encouraging consumers to be more “proactive,” Ferschinger shared.

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Open mind: Debuting new products will also be a major focus of the year. With the brand’s existing products marketed to address metabolism, focus, stress, sleep, immunity, energy, complexion (you get the picture), Ferschinger said he still believes there is plenty of room for product expansion into new segments. He noted the brand could push beyond the gummy form factor it is best known for, as well as introduce products that are “preventative,” for health, rather than “reactive.” And the brand “absolutely” has the ability to become a larger health and wellness platform brand beyond vitamins and supplements, he said.

“As this space continues to evolve, we need to evolve with it and even help push some of that evolution within the category as well,” he said.

With that expansion, Ferschinger said he’d like the brand to break down “stereotypes and stigmas” around certain aspects of physical and mental health. While he couldn’t share new products quite yet, he said new innovation will be in the “cognitive space,” as part of the company’s increasing focus on mental health. (ICYMI, Mintel predicted wellness products focusing on mental health would be a notable beauty industry trend in 2024.)

New products are slated to come at the end of the first quarter into the second quarter, he shared, and continue into the back half of the year as well.

“We believe having a really good, consistent cadence of new innovation continues to help meet consumer needs,” he said. “And that helps not only our retail partners, but it also then helps consumers continue to to build that trust in the brand and affinity for the brand.”

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Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.