Cultivating Success: Sandra Nomoto's Ethical Marketing Journey in the Plant-Based World
Are you eager to delve into the dynamic realm of plant-based entrepreneurship? Join us as we delve into the inspiring journey of Sandra Nomoto, an award-winning ethical marketer deeply committed to advancing cruelty-free businesses. In this blog post, we'll unveil Sandra's extraordinary path to success in the plant-based business sphere and uncover invaluable insights for budding entrepreneurs. Whether you're a part of the plant-based community or aspiring to leave your mark in this industry, continue reading to glean wisdom from one of its brightest luminaries.
The Journey Begins
Sandra's journey into the world of plant-based living is nothing short of captivating. After managing a successful public relations agency for over a decade, she made the bold decision to close shop in 2018. Coincidentally, that same year marked the initiation of her remarkable 11-year voyage toward veganism. Fast forward five years, and Sandra has seamlessly transitioned into a prominent figure in the plant-based marketing landscape.
It was in early 2020 when Sandra embarked on her new venture. She christened herself the "Content Doctor," specializing in copywriting for vegan businesses. However, her journey didn't stop there. Sandra diversified her services, extending support to authors in various facets of book publication.
The Secret to Success in Plant-Based Business
During her insightful interview, Sandra was probed about the elusive secret to a thriving plant-based business. She underlined the absence of a one-size-fits-all solution. Vegan enterprises employ an array of tactics and strategies, often blending multiple approaches. Given the diverse nature of their target audiences, what works wonders for one may not for another.
Sandra underscored the paramount significance of identifying a unique marketing angle. Flourishing vegan businesses typically carve out a distinctive niche that sets them apart from competitors. This distinctiveness captivates consumers and positions them favorably in the market.
Key Takeaways for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Sandra graciously shared invaluable takeaways for budding entrepreneurs venturing into the plant-based business domain:
Build a Robust Foundation: Commence with the fundamentals, including the development of a website, cultivation of an email list, and establishment of a robust social media presence. These elements serve as the bedrock of your marketing strategy.
Specialize and Target: Precision is key. Identify your niche audience and tailor your messaging to cater to their specific needs. Whether your focus is on vegans, omnivores, parents, or professionals, clearly define your audience.
Experiment and Learn: Fearlessly experiment with various marketing tactics. Employ a multi-faceted approach, and if a strategy falls short, be prepared to adapt or discard it.
Highlight Your Vegan Credentials: If your business operates within the plant-based realm, prominently showcase your vegan credentials while also ensuring your messaging resonates with omnivores.
Networking Matters: Participation in vegan networking groups, such as Vegan Business Tribe, is invaluable. It provides an avenue to connect with kindred spirits, share experiences, and collaboratively grow your enterprise.
Making a Positive Impact on the World
Sandra envisions a future where plant-based businesses assume a central role in ushering the world toward a more vegan-friendly era. Her mission involves collaborating with clients to enhance their marketing strategies, facilitating growth, and contributing to the vegan movement.
Her unwavering dedication mirrors the broader aspirations of plant-based entrepreneurs seeking to drive positive change across environmental, animal welfare, and human health spheres.
As Sandra continues her inspiring journey, she remains actively involved in writing, ghostwriting memoirs, and even editing vegan fiction. Her commitment to her craft and the plant-based community is resolute.
To connect with Sandra Nomoto and tap into her wealth of expertise in ethical marketing, please visit her website here. Whether you're seeking marketing guidance or are intrigued by her literary projects, Sandra is an invaluable resource in the ever-evolving landscape of plant-based businesses.
In conclusion, Sandra Nomoto's narrative serves as a testament to the boundless potential for success and positive transformation within the realm of plant-based entrepreneurship. Her evolution from a PR professional to an ethical marketer is nothing short of inspirational, and her insights hold immense value for anyone seeking to thrive in the dynamic world of plant-based business ventures. Stay tuned for more captivating stories from the vibrant plant-based business universe, right here on Plant-Based on Fire!
>Podcast Episode’s Transcript:
and welcome to another episode of Plant Based on Fire where we're talking about plant-based businesses and their inspiring stories to thrive in the industry. I'm your host Brian and joining us today is Sandra Nomoto. Hopefully I got that right. She is an award-winning ethical marketer for cruelty-free businesses and I think we met through the vegan business tribe. Is that right? Welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.
Sandra Nomoto (00:24.873)
Yeah, or both members.
Sandra Nomoto (00:28.902)
Oh, it's my pleasure. Thanks so much for the opportunity, Brian.
So tell us the name of your business and give us a little bit of that backstory. How did you, how'd you get into this business and lifestyle with us?
Sandra Nomoto (00:41.161)
Yeah, well, I previously ran a public relations agency for just over 10 years. I closed it in 2018 and that was the year that I went vegan. That was an 11 year journey. And thank you. Yeah, so it's been just over five years. Super proud of that. And yeah, for a few years, I was sort of freelancing and figuring out what my next career move was going to be. I didn't think I was going to stay in marketing and just I sat down to meditate at the end of 2019 and my intuition said,
Sandra Nomoto (01:11.081)
you are a vegan now and you will always be writing. So put those two things together. And I know enough times that I've ignored my intuition. It just comes back to me stronger years later. So I listened to the call this time and I went, okay, let's try this out. So right at the start of 2020, I launched a new business, told everybody I knew, who do you know who runs a vegan business, who needs help with their content. And that's really how I started. So I was operating for the last three years as the content doctor.
Sandra Nomoto (01:41.521)
But I just recently dropped that title. Now I'm just going by my own name because I've since expanded my service roster from just copywriting to other marketing related things. And I also service authors so I can help authors with different services to help them publish books. So I'm definitely not just a copywriter anymore. Although that's how I started three years ago.
just such a wide diversity of different skill sets, right? I mean, so you have a book called Vegan Marketing Success Stories you published yourself, right, to help all of us on that front. And I think you won a vegan choice award too, is that right? Yeah, so just congrats on all your successes in our space here and growing it. So the name of the business and where do we find it right now is Sandra Nomoto or?
Sandra Nomoto (02:18.301)
Yeah, yeah, super honored by that.
Sandra Nomoto (02:24.981)
Sandra Nomoto (02:31.069)
Yeah, just my name's sandranomoto.com, everything's there.
All right, cool.
And so, uh, probably similar journey to me, you know, I've probably been 13, 14 years down this path on that front. Um, and we, we get into it. So tell us the secret. Like this is, this is all about what this podcast is really about. In my opinion is helping more plant based businesses come in, helping celebrate and showcase amazing ones like yourself. So what is the secret? Do you think to making a successful plant based business thrive?
Sandra Nomoto (03:07.453)
Yeah, I wish I could I had an easy answer for that and I really don't and that's why I wrote the book. You know, I wanted to collect, you know, what makes vegan businesses thrive, right? And that was the main question. I said, you know, tell me what campaign tactics you've used and the answer I got back from a lot of the businesses was well, we use a combination of tactics first of all and we just
You don't have the recipe book?
Sandra Nomoto (03:33.885)
really just keep doing what works for us. There's no, you know, a lot of marketing is trial and error and it's an art and a science really. And I've talked to so many podcasts that have asked me this and I'd say, you know, it's different for every business. One thing I can say is that no strategy is the same. So even if you were to try and copy what your competitors are doing, your audience is gonna be slightly different. So, you know, it may not resonate exactly with them.
Sandra Nomoto (04:00.609)
And the other thing that I've realized, now that I've been able to step back and really look at all of the businesses that I had participating in a book, is that the most successful ones, I think, have one unique marketing angle that they're using, at least one. And so they're doing something a little bit different than everybody else is doing. And yeah, so that's kind of what I've gleaned.
That is awesome. And it's that.
the strategy, like even, even I think this is a newer podcast. We're trying to figure out our own strategy and growth, but just by hanging out with people like you and others, I learn a little bit on how I can hone in even this podcast on that front. So I think your, your style is exactly right. And it, to me, I say it's, how do you set up those little micro experiments that you can do throughout your business, but especially in the marketing side of it? Do you have some,
some techniques or some ideas and tips for people to, to brainstorm some of these micro experiments and like, I guess I call it fail fast and figure out what works. Any, any tips for them on that?
Sandra Nomoto (05:08.445)
Mm hmm. No, that's yeah, that's exactly what I what I you know, I hope I share in the book is that there are so many tactics that you can use and it's impossible to try all of them at once. And so it's almost like a layering approach. I always say like when you're starting out in business and you're new to marketing, you know, you've got to have a website number one, that's your home base, you know, I see businesses just starting on Instagram. And that scares me because
Sandra Nomoto (05:35.645)
If it goes down for a day, that's your business, right? So you've got to have a website, you know, try and have a really strong name. You know, that can take some time. Folks might, you know, might be wondering, should I use the word vegan in my company name? You know, there's pros and cons to it, right? Then I say, you know, email, have an email list, because again, you never know when a social media platform may go down or your website's under construction. You always want a way to contact your audience. So an email list.
Building an email list will help you do that. Of course, social media. And again, don't need to be on all of them at once, right? I always say maybe save your company name on all of the platforms that are out there and then use one or two or three really consistently and really well. And then the last thing I say is blogs.
Nobody's, you know, nobody wants to do blogs because they're not exciting and like what am I gonna say? But there's a ton of things that you can use as a blog post, you know, obviously announce what's going on in your company But you can put news releases out there, you know things like oh we want an award That's an announcement you would use as a blog post even something like a podcast interview. You can transcribe that And use that as a blog post and that will help organically increase your SEO your search option
Sandra Nomoto (06:55.633)
search engine optimization. So when people are typing in those keywords and your company comes up, that's what those blog posts are for. And so that's what I call your four marketing basics. And then from there, you can always layer on when you have more time, or if you have a bigger team and more of a budget, you can always add on more. And like I said, keep doing what is working for you. And if something is not working, you've tried it for a month or a couple of months.
Sandra Nomoto (07:24.622)
Obviously, yeah, maybe stop doing that or delay that tactic for a while.
Yeah, absolutely. Those that that's just jam packed full of advice. I almost asked you to go back and re listen to that two or three more times and take down some great notes there. What is the, the tricky thing for me is around the balance between like going after every vegan on the planet with my product or service versus how do I get the new people into the fold? Like the, the meat eaters that just want to try this or
the people that are veg curious or stuff like that. Like what's the, how do you create a marketing strategy that both resonates to both communities kind of a thing or helps people come into that foliage or it's not too veganish kind of thing? Or I don't know, do you have some thoughts or advice for our listeners there?
Sandra Nomoto (08:19.433)
Yeah, that's such a great question. I think I've touched on it in other podcast interviews, but nobody's ever asked that, which is great. You just went out and asked, should we go for omnivores or should we stick with vegans? And yeah, and exactly, that's what I say, is there's nothing wrong with just targeting vegans if that's what you want to do. There's what, maybe 20 million vegans on the planet? That's a sizable market, but.
We totally should.
Sandra Nomoto (08:43.601)
If you want to usher people along the plant-based spectrum, and most folks, I think, who are vegan and running businesses, we want to see a more vegan world. Then you've got to integrate what I call your activism or your education. Folks in food naturally have to do this because most of the world is eating animals. And so they kind of have to say, well, here's why you should try our product, right?
whether they talk about the health aspects, the environmental aspects, or just what's happening with animals. So if you're in that boat, naturally you're gonna have to figure out what kind of messaging you're gonna use to touch on that. But yeah, I do recommend that most folks cater to omnivores in some way. And so figuring, yeah, again, it's like a cocktail. Figure out how much of that activism, or that education you're gonna use to...
usher people along the plant-based spectrum. And then for the vegans, obviously, you just wanna straight up say, like, yeah, we're plant-based, we are vegan, so that you naturally will get those folks buying your product or your service as well.
Yeah, I want to unpack that, but we're going to take a quick, small commercial break. And we'll be right back.
Welcome back everybody. Thank you for that. We were just talking before the break about the, the targeting the meat eater world versus the non meat eater world, uh, in that space. And I guess my, my question is really like, how do you, gosh, I lost my train of thought while we were at commercial. Um, how, like I see so many companies that have vegan products, but aren't like blatantly blasting it. Like it's vegan. Like,
And then I see I see vegan products that are like just not targeting that non The non V, you know, they don't have the packaging in the right way kind of a thing Like is that a true marketing decision you think or is it just they need to focus on that a little bit? Or I don't know. I'm sure you've seen some of that some of those examples too, right?
Sandra Nomoto (10:51.549)
Yeah, well, I mean, everything's a decision, right? Whether the business owner is conscious of it, that's another question, right? And so, yeah, I think you really need to look at these details. Like how big is that vegan word or the vegan logo going to be on your package? Right. And I think it should be pretty distinctive so that, like I said before, so that you do naturally attract vegans. But again, what else are you doing so that you also cater to omnivores?
Sandra Nomoto (11:19.513)
So I think, yeah, it's really a fine balance that you've got to strike. But I think it's totally possible because veganism slowly and surely is becoming a good thing when it comes to marketing.
So what advice would you give to some plant-based entrepreneurs who are just starting off with their marketing strategy? I know you, you touched on reserving the names and a few things like that. It's almost overwhelming to start a business in today's day and age, but we need more entrepreneurship in America and worldwide for that matter. But what are some of those couple key tips as they first get started?
Sandra Nomoto (11:55.677)
Yeah, I back up this podcast at close to the beginning when I talked about the four basic things that you should have. That's your foundation, the foundation for your marketing strategy, I think. And then on chapter one of my book, I do talk about basics and that was a chapter I didn't plan on writing, but I just realized that things like tracking the customer journey are so important because when you ask your customer, hey, how did you find us? Or what made you to finally decide to buy?
Sandra Nomoto (12:24.073)
and then you replicate that. That's so important for, yeah, to be able to replicate your success. And so market research, I touch on in that first chapter, that's super helpful, because again, you cannot market to everyone. If you're marketing to everyone, you're marketing to no one. So really decide, are we gonna go for vegans first and then go broader, or are we gonna choose the omnivore path? But again, within that, it's, you know, who are we targeting? Are we targeting moms, parents, youth?
Sandra Nomoto (12:53.313)
You know, business professionals, there's, you know, so, so you've got to have a niche audience that you're targeting again, just to help focus your messaging. Of course, everybody may be able to use your product, but yeah, you always want to have that core audience that you're speaking to.
I like to say don't.
Don't spend any money yet until you've done some good customer discovery. Right. Like really, really hone exactly what you talked about. So, you know, we met through a networking organization. You, I think are involved in a few other places up in Canada, right. Networking, like talk to us about your, your networking, uh, aspects and how important that is and help me unpack that. I think you're a cohost of something up in Canada, right.
Sandra Nomoto (13:15.709)
Sandra Nomoto (13:39.217)
Yeah, so I co-host Canada's only vegan networking group. It's called Veg Networking Canada. And you can find our, you know, we don't have a website. Our homepage is YouTube, so very easy to find us. And yeah, and the only criteria to join our group is that you've gotta be Canadian, or working for a Canadian company, and you have to be vegan. Now the folks that we interview as special guests don't necessarily need to identify as vegan so long as they're working for a vegan business. So we also bring in those folks
Sandra Nomoto (14:08.769)
talk about their businesses too. So yeah, about half of our weekly meetings are networking and then the other half is meeting either a new member coming in or a special guest who works for a vegan business. So yeah, super cool that we're like the only Canadian vegan networking group. So yeah, feel free to join us if you're Canadian. And then, yeah, I just wanted to touch on just my personal journey when I...
decided to start this business, I knew that I wanted to work with vegans. And so immediately I tested out vegan business tribe. You know, I took courses from vegan mainstream, which is another cool network in the US. And yeah, and just really tried to find all of the vegan networks possible so that I could, yeah, just find my target clients. So so that's really helped me. And I continue to network in those places today.
That's awesome. That's awesome. And what do you like tell us some of your success stories? Do you have any memorable ones of helping unlock some like wow moments? I know I've done some SEO in the past and the first time I go the next day and I type in the name and it pops up first I was just like wow. What has been some of the wow factors throughout your journey here?
Sandra Nomoto (15:23.441)
Yeah, so there's 47 contributors to my book, you know, all great folks. And I added in another few dozen examples that I got permission to use from online. So a lot of stories in this book, but one that I'll share, you know, who is another vegan, fellow vegan business tribe member is that of Meredith Marin. She runs a company called Vegan Hospitality. But before she founded this business,
She founded Vegan Aruba. So she relocated to Aruba in 2016. This is where her husband is originally from. And she found herself not with a lot of options, both in the grocery store and at restaurants. And she took it upon herself to really almost, you know, make this island vegan friendly. So she talked to chefs at restaurants, said, hey, what kind of dishes can you make for me as a vegan? She spoke to local media and she got in.
really amazing media hits like travel magazines that were in the seats of airlines in every hotel room in Aruba and then of course built the accounts vegan Aruba on social media so that would attract more travelers to the island. She taught vegan cooking classes and just yeah a culmination of all of this boots on the ground work.
Sandra Nomoto (16:44.969)
over two years, also gave her the opportunity to partner with the Aruba Tourism Authority and they sponsored an influencer trip. So they brought over, I believe, six US vegan influencers, showed them a good time. A lot of that content is still some of the top ranking when you Google vegan and Aruba. And then Happy Cow named Aruba the most vegan friendly island in the Caribbean. And this is all because of what Meredith, I think, started.
Sandra Nomoto (17:11.821)
So I love that story because it just shows you the power of one person. You know, you may be a solo printer like me and thinking what kind of impact can I make? Well, look at the story. And because of what she did in Aruba, she founded Vegan Hospitality, which then helps folks like you and I to maybe do the same thing in our areas. So that's one of the success stories that I really love sharing from the book.
Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. You mentioned that. And now I remember seeing that when I was looking for vegan destinations for some of my vacations. So I will have to plan a trip to Aruba soon on that front. Yeah, exactly. So you're, you're deeply involved in the plant-based movement. And so how do you sort of envision that future for ethical marketing and its impact on sort of shaping a greener and healthier world that we're, we're pushing for here?
Sandra Nomoto (17:45.37)
I know, right? We all gotta go now.
Sandra Nomoto (18:04.137)
Yeah, what a great question. And I believe everyone has their own form of activism and every vegan can use their skills for to forward this move in. And personally, mine is through business. I wanna work with clients to help them improve their marketing so that they can grow and we can build the vegan world that we all wanna see. So that's my form of activism. And people tell me like, well, we don't wanna rely on processed meat alternatives.
Sandra Nomoto (18:33.265)
eventually, you know, we have to eat a whole food plant-based diet to really capitalize on the health benefits. And I say, yes, but there's that middle ground between, you know, when we were omnivores and when, you know, when we arrived at a mostly whole food plant-based diet and there's that middle ground where I think businesses are so important in ushering people along that plant-based journey. And that's where I feel like we really need to.
yeah, to grow these businesses in that sector so that we can usher people along. And that's why I'm so passionate about marketing and folks in this space. Cause yeah, cause I think it's important to just, yeah, make vegan alternatives the default so that we don't have to call them alternatives anymore. Just vegan is the default when it comes to at least packaged products.
Yeah, I mean, my local coffee shop has dropped the surcharges on all the non dairy milks finally. So I'm looking forward to the day when there's a surcharge for the, for the cow milk. That would be, that's, that's something to look forward to there. What is the next steps for Sandro? Do you have some big exciting projects going on right now? Do you have some other books coming out? What's, what can we look forward to hearing from you on in the future?
Sandra Nomoto (19:30.131)
Sandra Nomoto (19:35.177)
That's how it should be, yeah.
Sandra Nomoto (19:51.465)
Yeah, I just ghost wrote my friend's memoir, which and ghost writing was always something that I really wanted to start getting into. So, and that might not be published for a while, but really excited to just get that experience. So if, yeah, if you think you've got a book within you, you need a ghostwriter to help just put, you know, your thoughts down and make that a manuscript. I would love to help you, especially if you are vegan. And then, yeah, I never thought I would work on vegan fiction.
because I'm a nonfiction person. But yeah, I just finished editing a youth fiction book by a vegan author. So yeah, super exciting. And I'll be formatting her book before she publishes that. So a couple, yeah, that's one book project on the way, but yeah, always open to working with businesses as well on their marketing.
That is awesome. So again, just tell us one more time, how can we get in touch with you and connect with you and help boost you with our plant-based community here?
Sandra Nomoto (20:49.629)
Yeah, I'm everywhere on the social and my website with my name sandrannomoto.com
That is awesome. Thank you so much for being here. That's all the episode time we have today. But again, Sandro, it was a pleasure to hang out with you for a few minutes. You gave our audience some great tips on marketing. Check out her book, Learn More at sandronomoto.com. And thanks again for sharing your insights and experiences with our community. Until next time everybody, keep that fire burning. We'll talk soon.
Sandra Nomoto (21:18.025)
You're so welcome Brian, it was my pleasure too.