Lessons On Launching Innovation From Wildly Successful Lenny and Larry’s Cookies CEO Apu Mody

Inside LaunchStreet Apu Apu Mody Lenny's and Larry's cookies business podcast innovation podcast

 

How Persistence and a Few Fans Can Bring Your Cookie Into the Limelight

Early adopters. They are the ones that are willing to try your new-to-the-world idea and if they like it, they spread it in their communities like wildfire. No one knows this better than Apu Mody, CEO of Lenny and Larry’s. Have you had one of their high-protein delicious cookies? On Inside LaunchStreet, Apu and I talk about early adopters, why success isn’t an overnight phenomenon and how you need to train your customer when you have a breakthrough product. He also shares something that I think is actually killing innovation at big companies — it's the “I’m not the consumer” mindset.

 

Listen now to this episode on Inside LaunchStreet:

 

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Key Takeaways:

[1:59] You might be surprised that Apu’s first job was selling books door to door.

[3:56] Listen in to learn how Lenny and Larry’s was born. Benny and Barry created sweet treats with protein out of personal need. Some of the greatest ideas come from personal needs.

[6:00] What was the initial reaction? Barry says that it was the longest overnight success. How was a fire in the bakery a turning point?

[9:49] What is the importance of early adopters? How much of an influence do they really have?

[12:52] Tamara shares her experience of taking the birthday cookie to the gym to share.  She received a bunch of feedback that her friends had gone to buy the cookies. Apu believes that people trust the early adopters. They become the experts.

[15:34] The cookie/bar is a crowded market. Lenny and Larry’s have found that context in the store matters. Apu talks about being in the cookie/protein bar market. Part of the hurdle was pinpointing which shelves to best market the cookies.

[21:01] What roadblocks or points of resistance did Lenny and Larry’s overcome? Apu gives an example of switching from whey to soy and then again to plant-based proteins. Consumers provided them with feedback and direction to change the product.

[23:12] Apu shares that they are always trying to lower the sugar. The body is suited to process pure sugar versus sugar alcohols. Feedback is getting gathered and then the product is adjusted. It’s a constant dialogue that is occurring, not just a point-in-time exercise.

[27:02] There are two components to making sure the feedback conversation is continually happening. First: The employee base must believe in the products they are making. They are actively involved in making decisions. Second: You have to have an army of brand ambassadors. They get free t-shirts, discounts, free products. They provide honest feedback and help steer the direction of decisions.

[32:35] Who exactly is the consumer? Why is the mindset so wrong about consumerism?

[34:52] What is in the cards for Lenny and Larry’s future?

[36:32] Three things contributed to the exponential growth Lenny and Larry’s experienced. First: the cookie became the star and was the focus. Second: A couple of early adopter retail partners came on board. Third: We switched packaging and this allowed us a longer shelf life.

[39:23] Tamara reminds listeners that the focus on the cookie is so important. Too many options work against you. First, you have to have the driving force behind you.

[40:50] Connect with Apu on Linkedin and on the Lenny and Larrys homepage.

[41:42] Apu leaves listeners with a few words of advice. First: Be persistent and be focused. Second: Find a few fans to get feedback from. Build a strong relationship with one or two retailers to go deep with.

[43:00] Apu’s favorite product is the soon to be released apple pie cookie.

[43:40] Tamara invites listeners to check out the new website at InsideLaunchStreet Discover your innovator archetype and many other tools to start innovating today.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Lenny and Larrys Homepage

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