In recent years, emerging brands have gained greater access to consumer data and now they are looking for ways to craft a strategy around this invaluable information. Chris Ladas, Founder of XAL Consulting, opened up Park Street University’s panel on building a data-driven brand at Bar Convent Brooklyn by explaining the key differences between qualitative and quantitative data. Ladas dove into the types of information that can be derived from each data category, how to interpret this information, and why brands should invest in this asset.

“I strongly urge any brands getting ready to launch or if you’ve even launched already, unsuccessfully or successfully, consider all the data readily available,” advised Ladas. “Collect it, organize it, and analyze it. I also suggest taking a step back to regroup and see if there’s any data that can make your brand operate leaner and perhaps influence your business strategy to yield a more effective outcome.”


April Wachtel, Founder of Cheeky Cocktails, followed with a discussion on starting a brand from scratch using data-based insights. Wachtel explained the importance of leveraging industry data and consumer insights to craft a brand identity to fit existing market conditions. She advised brands to cast a wide net and establish multiple methods for sourcing data.

“I would not rely on a single method of collecting data,” explained Wachtel. “Because data can fake you out. It can show like it’s true and means one thing and then in fact it doesn’t. So I have a whole bunch of methods for collecting data, both quantitative and qualitative, as well.”


Paul Monahan, Co-Founder of Matchbook Distilling, explained how data can help brands analyze the economics of the production phase. Monahan covered how contract distillers cost out the production process and gave suppliers a window into the technical aspects of guiding a product from concept to shelf. Monahan emphasizes the importance of understanding the real cost of raw materials and the attached production fees so brands can translate the data into an effective template that will bring their projects to life.

“Understanding the granular data that you pay for when you’re producing a project or trying to bring a project to life is a super important part,” emphasized Monahan. “If you cannot put together enough funding or have enough money to pay the bills at net 30 or net 60 if someone is nice enough to give you terms as a young startup brand, then, unfortunately, you’re not going to get past that first purchase order from a distiller like us.”


Justin Lew, Consumer Marketing and Digital Director at Distill Ventures, closed out the panel by delivering an overview of agile data models. Lew offered a perspective on successfully creating a model to drive conversions and laid out the process of testing and measuring data in order to learn from it and efficiently scale business insights. Lew even shared some useful examples of brands that crafted their social media presence around data insights.

“Have a clear sense of what you’re looking to accomplish and make decisions based on that,” said Lew. “So if you’re trying to focus overall on driving conversion, and that’s the bottom of your funnel, then have everything linked to that but start building your funnel.”


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