What’s in a Name?
Creating a brand is a lot like recording a hit song. That’s what I was told by Honest Tea’s brewmaster, George Scalfe, back when my co-founder Barry Nalebuff and I were getting started. Before George got into juices, teas and bottling plants, he worked in the music business. Sometimes, he said, he only needed to hear a few chords to know if a song was going to be a hit.
After George read the Honest Tea busines plan – he said, “I know I haven’t tasted your tea yet, but I can tell you’ve got a hit on your hands.” The next day he drove down to Bethesda from Toronto, and ended up spending most of that next year living in our basement, as we scrambled to figure out how to make a bottled product that lived up to the brand we had described.
Muhtar Kent, the former CEO of Coca-Cola, used to say that a brand is a promise, and a good brand is a promise kept. Honest Tea endures as a resilient health and wellness brand, because it has come to represent an authentic commitment to sourcing with its USDA Organic and Fair Trade USA certifications. Beyond Meat is another brand that perfectly captures what is being offered – a product line that goes beyond the widely accepted definition of meat as protein from an animal.
Chef Spike Mendelson and I are launching Eat the Change, which we hope will become the next powerful brand to help transform diets, health, and the environmental footprint of our diets.
Here's the story behind the name.
Spike and I had been working with a team of great founders to launch PLNT Burger, a plant-based fast-food restaurant. In the course of getting our first store open, my son Jonah Goldman, who is heading up the marketing at PLNT Burger, came up with the phrase, “Eat the change you wish to see in the world” as a way to frame up the restaurant’s mission.
Jonah’s phrase is intended to echo the quote attributed to Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” By the way, it turns out Gandhi didn’t exactly say that exact phrase.
Gandhi gave a much longer speech, in which he said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him… We need not wait to see what others do.” But the bumper sticker version of his remarks has become popular because it speaks to the fact that change has to start with our own personal choices.
Climate change is real. So is our power to act. Eat the Change works as a name, and a call to action, because the most effective personal action any of us can take against climate change is choosing foods that are planet-friendly. It’s great for people to choose fuel-efficient transportation and recycle whenever possible, but those choices are a rounding error compared to moving away from energy and water-intensive foods.
Earlier last year my wife, Julie Farkas, and I launched the Eat the Change brand with a grants program to support non-profits that are helping educate and inspire people to shift toward diets that reduce their environmental footprint. Now Spike and I have launched a line of chef-crafted Eat the Change branded snacks to help make planet-friendly foods delicious, accessible, and fun. Our products will be a way for consumers to enjoy delicious food that reflects their hopes and concerns about the climate. We hope the launch of Eat the Change marks a turning point when our collective actions generate a wave of impact.
Let’s change it up!