‘We’re such a different company today’: Inside Olipop’s growth strategy with Chad Wilson, head of marketing

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Prebiotic soda brand Olipop is in growth mode, coming off $200 million in annual sales and its first national campaign with pop star Camila Cabello last year. 

A lot of the six-year-old brand’s initial popularity tracks back to TikTok. However, the last year has been transformational for Olipop, positioning itself as a true competitor to the likes of legacy brands like Pepsi or Coca Cola. 

“We’re such a different company today than we were 12 months ago largely because of that growth,” said Chad Wilson, head of marketing for Olipop, on a recent episode of the Digiday Podcast. “From a marketing perspective, we have seen huge success in social and influencers. We jumped on social early on in the company’s growth and it was like rocket fuel almost.” 

On this episode of the Digiday Podcast, we caught up with Wilson to talk about maintain Olipop’s momentum, its in-house agency and what testing and learning looks like on TikTok.

Below are highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity. 

Building Olipop’s in-house team

It’s an innovation piece, but it’s also just making sure the content that we’re making is relevant, and essentially we’re not talking to ourselves. In building the team when I started [last year], there were about eight people on the team and now we’re about 25. What we’ve done as we look to fill the key roles is look across the board. We’ve got people in from agency side places like R/GA, Wieden+Kennedy, but we’ve also got people that worked on the brand side in house teams too. We’re trying to get a mix of people so we have different perspectives at the table.

Testing and learning on TikTok 

We’ve been experimenting with TikTok Shop a bit. When it came out, we’d been experimenting, playing around with it. We’ve seen a few bugs. I will say that the TikTok team has been amazing in helping us out when we do encounter certain things. It’s a new product so you’d expect to see a few glitches. I’m not gonna say that it’s up and running in the way we want it to be running. There’s still a little bit more work to do there, but it’s definitely something we’re experimenting with.

Maturing influencer marketing 

I don’t want to say it’s the Wild West, but influencer marketing is just a new thing that everybody’s trying to figure out how to work with them. First and foremost,  the way we think about influencers is we want them to be customers first. Authenticity is so important to us that we really want to make sure that these people — when we work with influencers — we want to make sure that they actually believe in the product as much as we do.


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