Name: Brian Hoffstedder
Title: Category Operations Manager – Snacks
Company: Clorox
Tenure with Current Company:  13 years
Years of Industry Experience:  21 years

Give us a brief history of your career.

I began my career at P&G in early 2000 working in Marketing on the Professional Products business. In 2004, I moved into the Consumer Market Knowledge function at P&G, working in North American Healthcare on brand initiatives and innovation for brands like Prilosec OTC, NyQuil/DayQuil, Pepto-Bismol, Metamucil and Align.

I joined Clorox in early 2008 as a shopper insights manager on the Kroger team, standing up local customer insights capability, including dunnhumby data corporately. In 2010, I moved to Bentonville, AR to re-establish customer insights on the Clorox Walmart team, helping win Home Care Advisory in 2012. I moved into a corporate insights strategy in 2013, working in Clorox’s Specialty Division, and in 2015, I was promoted to Director to lead Shopper Insights at Clorox, which is now Human Insights – Shopping Experience & Category Leadership

What has been the biggest learning experience of your career?
I think you sort of have to mention 2020 and COVID here, or at least recognize the disruption and how the pandemic forced such rapid behavior and habit changes, and then try to learn about what all of it means now—next and into the future. I’ve always believed in the collective power of resilience, persistence, clarity of purpose and focus as leadership traits, and I’ve always practiced them. But the pandemic taught me that these aren’t just leadership traits, they are culture and success drivers and, when consistently demonstrated, empower people and teams to achieve wonderful things.

Why are you excited to be part of the SIMA Board?
It’s a chance to shape the future of this craft at a time when the craft requires meaningful innovation—not just what we learn during COVID, but how we learn as well.

What role do you see SIMA playing in the CPG and overall retail industry?
I see SIMA as a trusted authority on best-in-class shopper insights thinking and approaches, first and foremost. A source of inspiration for how to build a powerful insights capability that helps both manufacturers and retailer partners deliver today while seeing tomorrow. A lot of the work today is in measurement and data, but success in the future for both manufacturers and retailers will be about taking what you know about shopping today and using it to see around the corner and prepare for what’s coming. SIMA has an important role in laying that foundation for partnership.

What is the most important thing that needs to be addressed in the shopper insights discipline going forward?
Using data appropriately—not to prove things, but to explain things. Stop drowning people in numbers and charts and graphs—in research. Focus more on using data and research in balance with human context to explain what is happening now, what may come next and what the future might look like.

How are you thinking about the next 3-5 years in retail?
I think about it as the greatest learning lab of all time. The landscape will continue to change rapidly and it’s shopper insights’ responsibility to explain what is going on and make sense of all the change—connect dots and provide actionable clarity, not precision, on where things are headed from a shopper POV. Retailers who truly embrace a human approach to fulfillment will be the ones who separate from the pack.