Bear Naked Creates a Custom Experience

Bear Naked (, was born when two individuals had a raw, unstoppable craving for more adventure, and a better way to fuel it all. They set out to find the absolute best nourishment this world has to offer. Now that company has been around for more than a decade and has continued to grow over the years, offering a range of delicious granolas and wholesome snacks.

However, when the company realized that its Food Forward Millennial consumers were looking beyond the cereal aisle for new food experiences — also to explore new and different tastes and flavors — the company launched Bear Naked Custom Made Granola.  

“This is new territory for the Bear Naked brand, and we are excited to continue to learn more about consumer preferences so that we can continue to drive innovation across the entire Bear Naked line of products,” explains Chris Tutor, vice president of Strategy, Bear Naked Custom Blends.

A Natural Fit
Consumers can visit www.BearNaked  and select from more than 50 unique ingredients to create their own blend. To accomplish this complex task, Bear Naked had to tap into a set of partnerships with different technologies to create a successful custom experience.

First, the company is leveraging CloudCraze (, an e-commerce solution that sits on top of Salesforce (

“We already had a relationship with Salesforce, so it was a natural fit,” explains Tutor. “CloudCraze offered a solution that allowed us to move very quickly (we launched the site in four months) and allows us to quickly iterate the UX/UI as we learn more about what consumers want.”

Then, Bear Naked embarked into a partnership with IBM Chef Watson (

Tutor elaborates, “With almost 500,000 possible combinations and ingredients that consumers aren’t used to including in their granola, we knew that folks might want a little help creating their blends. IBM Chef Watson is essentially an ingredient matchmaker that serves as a guide through the process.”  

Chef Watson is able to understand and visualize relationships between ingredients and their underlying chemistry, and as a result, “he” is able to help identify unique combinations of ingredients that are likely to taste good together.

Each time a consumer selects a base granola, Chef Watson sifts through thousands of possible flavor pairings to suggest an interesting match.

Tutor adds, “We built Bear Naked Custom in response to a clear consumer need and desire for more taste exploration and culinary adventure. We wanted to empower them to create exactly what they want and experiment with new and different ingredients and combinations of ingredients. At the same time, we wanted to deliver the granola through an interactive, customizable experience online.”

Blending Resources
To build out the Bear Naked Custom Made Granola experience, Bear Naked’s team searched high and low for ingredients. features a massive selection of ingredients that range from jalapeos and olives to pomegranate and hemp seeds.

Each ingredient is also 100 percent Non-GMO Project Verified and thoughtfully sourced. The Red Sea Salt, for instance, is a traditional Hawaiian-style sea salt that is enriched with purified red alaea clay straight from Kauai. And the freeze-dried cinnamon apples come from Smeltzer Orchard Company, a family owned farm in Frankfort, Michigan that has been producing fruit for six generations.

In addition to creating custom granola with Chef Watson, consumers can also choose from three chef-inspired blends featuring delicious chunks of natural and bold flavors, including Chocolate Strawberry Jalapeo (a sweet and spicy combination) Olive You, Kale (a Mediterranean inspired blend), and Michigan Farms (a blend celebrating the great fruit farms of Michigan).
To complete the Custom Made Granola experience, shoppers name their blend and choose a unique bear illustration for the packaging. Bear Naked will then deliver it.

Tutor also reveals that the company is supporting this project through an integrated marketing approach that includes PR, digital media, experiential marketing, etc., and the response on social media has been great [see In the Media sidebar].    
“We are rapidly testing different channels, targeting, and messaging to determine what’s working best. At this time, we are still testing and optimizing our media strategy, but, generally speaking, we have seen strong performance from Facebook and from our grassroots promotions,” he says.   

A Taste of the Future
From this initiative, the company is learning about taste preference, which will help inform the evolution of Bear Naked Custom and its innovation pipeline more broadly.

Tutor says, “We’re learning about direct response marketing and direct-to-consumer e-commerce, which has broad applications across our business.”

He also notes that Bear Naked is executing a more entrepreneurial go-to-market, which has implications for its future innovation and product launch strategies.

In keeping with the Bear Naked founders’ adventurous spirit, Tutor unveils that, “At this time, we’re focused on the launch and providing our consumers with a way to explore their tastes so they can have an amazing custom granola experience.”

“We’re taking it one step at a time, but are excited to learn more about the consumer preferences so that we can continue to drive innovation across all Bear Naked products,” Tutor closes.