Issue: July/August 2013
Three Questions with Norman E. Snyder
Caffeinated-water company Avitae was in danger of closing when it sought out beverage-industry expert Norman E. Snyder to help revive the brand. “I found that there was a steady demand … with little to no promotional activity, little to no advertisement and poor execution,” says Snyder, who was an early partner at Sobe and worked for Adina For Life during his 20 years in the industry. After seeing Avitae’s potential, he became president and CEO of the Cleveland-based company in February. We talked to him about making the additive-and-calorie-free water a player in the beverage market.
1: What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced as the new CEO, and how have you turned things around?
Avitae needed much more focus and stronger leadership, but it didn’t have a lot of industry experience at the top. For example, Speedway has more than 200 stores in Ohio. They were out of stock more than 30 percent of the time. That’s just poor leadership. If you’re not on the shelf, you’re out of business. … I’ve assembled a brand new team with beverage professionals, and we’ve re-engaged our partners, our distributors, our retail partners and our consumers.
2: Who are Avitae’s consumers?
We’re going after a big group of people. One is the coffee drinker. We’re not trying to replace coffee, but if you’re going for that second, third or fourth cup, why not go to us? We’re also picking up diet soda drinkers and people who need a healthy pick-me-up before they work out or go to a second job or go home and cook dinner.
3: How do you differentiate Avitae from other water products?
It’s functional water. Consumers are attracted to it because they want a specific reaction or a specific impact. For some reason, there’s this missconception that anything with caffeine in it is going to have a bitter taste to it. This has a clean, refreshing taste, so they’re pleasantly surprised. … It’s very smooth, it’s very sustained, and there’s no crash.
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