Kalen Olson: Crafting Connections in the Cookie Business

April 19, 2024
Content Marketing | Direct | Marketing Strategy

Episode Summary

Partnerships can be the backbone of any business and it’s no different for Grove Cookie Company. Corrina and Taylor are joined by Kalen Olson, Director of Partnerships at Grove Cookie Company. From being recognized as one of Sendoso’s top vendors to partnerships with top customers and influencers, Kalen breaks down some of the more strategic campaigns that have fueled growth and enhanced brand visibility. 

Learn how cookies as a service has helped Grove Cookie Company come out on top. 

Follow Kalen on LinkedIn

Check out Grove Cookie Company

Connect with Direct’s hosts, Corrina & Taylor

Featured Guest

Name: Kalen Olson
What she does: Director of Partnerships

Company: Grove Cookie Company

Noteworthy: Expert in building partnerships with a background in sales, marketing, and coaching.

Key Insights

The Power of LinkedIn for Professional Growth

Kalen Olson attributes her career progression and role at Grove Cookie Company significantly to her active engagement on LinkedIn. This platform not only enabled her to discover job opportunities but also to connect with Grove’s CEO, Grayson, leading to her current position. Her story emphasizes LinkedIn’s effectiveness for networking, showcasing skills, and directly engaging with potential employers or partners. This insight highlights the modern approach to career development, where online visibility and proactivity can lead to unexpected, fruitful professional relationships.

Aligning Partnerships with Company Values

Kalen discusses the critical role of partnerships in Grove Cookie Company’s expansion, stressing the importance of aligning with companies that share similar values of joy, excellence, and relationships. Through strategic collaborations with companies like Sandoso, Grove has been able to amplify its brand and reach new audiences. This approach demonstrates the importance of synergistic partnerships that extend beyond mere business transactions, fostering long-term growth and brand enhancement.

Emphasizing Joy in Professional Endeavors

A central theme of Kalen’s discussion is the role of joy in her work. She shares how integrating personal passions and joys into her professional role has not only made her work more fulfilling but also more effective. By leading with what excites her, Kalen has been able to innovate and create impactful marketing campaigns, such as the March Madness cookie bracket. This insight sheds light on the significance of passion-driven work, suggesting that personal fulfillment can drive success and innovation in professional settings.

Episode Highlights

Expanding Grove’s Reach Through Creative Campaigns

Kalen details the success of Grove Cookie Company’s marketing strategies, particularly through unique campaigns like the March Madness cookie bracket with tech vendors. This approach not only showcased Grove’s creativity but also its ability to engage and build relationships with its audience and partners. These initiatives, according to Kalen, are rooted in the company’s core values of joy, excellence, and relationship enhancement, demonstrating how authentic engagement strategies can lead to substantial business growth.

“It was quite funny when the March Madness came about. I wasn’t even necessarily thinking of comms or I was just like I want to highlight people who are doing really cool things and put it all together and not just highlight one industry and say these are the people to watch for in 2024.”

The Role of Authenticity in Building Business Relationships

Kalen speaks to the importance of authenticity in partnerships, particularly with companies like Commsor that share Grove Cookie Company’s mission of enhancing relationships through authentic connections. This part of the conversation underlines the strategic alignment between Grove and its partners, focusing on shared values over mere transactional relationships. This alignment is key to developing meaningful, lasting partnerships that benefit both parties.

“They came out with the House of Authentic Connections with their brand. And that really mirrors our relationship enhancement efforts. And so I’m looking at those kind of connections where we are in mutual alignment and how can we do fun things and build off of each other.”

Navigating the Unknown with Trust and Vulnerability

Kalen discusses the importance of trust and vulnerability in exploring new partnerships and business ventures. This conversation reflects on how Grove approaches potential collaborations with an open mind and willingness to embrace the unknown, seeing it as an opportunity for growth and innovation. Kalen’s insights reveal the company’s strategy for building honest relationships from the outset, paving the way for successful partnerships.

“And I think sometimes you do have to lead with trust and vulnerability and say, you know, how is this going to go and where is this going to take us? And I think that’s how you build an honest relationship from the get go and kind of see what happens together.”

Exploring New Industries and Distribution Channels

Kalen highlights Grove Cookie Company’s interest in exploring new industries and distribution channels, such as the real estate and trade show sectors. This move is part of Grove’s broader strategy to diversify its reach and discover new avenues for its products. The discussion underscores the company’s innovative approach to marketing and partnerships, seeking opportunities that align with its values and mission.

“So dreaming too big is not really something we’ve ran into because we can go through the back door. Partnerships allow many hands to light lift and that’s what I love about it. It’s a very collaborative effort.”

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