Strategies & Insights

Title: Debate & Discuss with Cassandra Stavrou, Propercorn’s co-founder

Posted: May 25, 2015 by
Linda Casey

As a senior business leader, what do you expect your design and marketing team leads to contribute to the business strategy?

I don’t really see myself and the marketing or design teams as independent. Our creative lead in the snack category helps further our business strategy in so many ways. The aesthetics of the brand are a huge factor in being able to appeal to our customer and affords us real stand out on shelf. The intention of Propercorn was always to create a brand that not only delivered genuine taste and health, but which also had an aspirational quality. We continually strive to make Propercorn something you would be proud to be seen with and challenge ‘healthy’ snack brand convention.

What are some of the benefits of having design at the business strategy table?

The design process within Propercorn is a truly collaborative effort. Whether we’re creating new packaging, FSDUs [floor-standing, display units] or clothing for our samplers, having the input of other team members, at all levels and in all departments, is of huge importance. Proposed designs and branding are stuck on the wall, and the team are encouraged to give their feedback. A clear, honest and open line of communication between all parts of the company is crucial in creating a successful brand.

Can you share three tips for designers and marketers to improve collaboration with senior business leaders?

Both designers and marketers should have a clear understanding of the overall business objectives. Design is not just aesthetic isolated from the goals of the company.

Seek inspiration outside of your category and demonstrate knowledge of successful brands in other arenas. If you only look inwards at the category, you become staid.

Demonstrate real value in some way, even if that’s simply creating something that’s great to look at.

How has your current reporting structure helped your company develop an amazing brand?

The collaborative way in which we do business internally has really helped shape our brand. The company lacks hierarchy and all members of the team play a valuable role when it comes to the creative decision-making. The reporting structure is informal to encourage an honest dialogue between myself and the design and marketing teams, from the get go. We are a young and dynamic team and with our lack of fast-moving consumer goods’ experience comes a naivety that allows us to challenge the status quo and approach things in a very fresh way; everyone in the company has the potential to help us become a truly amazing brand and are, therefore, always encouraged to speak up.

How can the design industry, as a whole, improve to overcome those barriers?

It’s not just design and marketing in an abstract sense, we should endeavor to use these opportunities to create beautiful and exciting work.