Brian Numainville

Principal, The Retail Feedback Group

Brian became a Principal of Retail Feedback Group (RFG) in 2012 and is the Co-Author of Feedback Rules!, a book created to provide useful tips for everyone that listens to their customers, employees or business partners. In his role at RFG, Brian partners with retailers, wholesalers, other businesses and nonprofits throughout the U.S. to design and conduct voice of customer programs, consumer research, employee surveys, stakeholder studies, B2B surveys, custom research and market analysis projects.

Prior to joining RFG, Brian worked at Nash Finch Company, a Fortune 500 food wholesaler and retailer, for 18 years, where he led market research, public relations and the charitable foundation. At Nash Finch, Brian pioneered the initial implementation of geographic information systems, developed the consumer research program, and launched a customer feedback program in all corporate-owned stores and many independent locations.

At the industry level, Brian has served in multiple thought leadership roles including many years as Chair of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Consumer Market Research Committee and as a member of the Program Leadership Board at the University of Minnesota Food Industry Center. He is a frequent presenter/panelist at numerous conferences and events for organizations including the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), the National Grocers Association (NGA), and the Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA).

In addition to his research expertise, Brian also leverages his significant background in public relations/corporate communications which has included writing impactful press releases, creating compelling executive presentations, developing annual reports, heading media relations efforts, spearheading internal communications, utilizing social media, engaging in marketing and serving as corporate spokesperson.

Brian designed and executed many major cause marketing programs including Feeding Imagination (130,000+ books donated to kids) and Helping Hands in the Community Day (400+ volunteers). While Chair, the NFC Foundation/Nash Finch received the prestigious Jefferson Award from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.  Brian currently serves on four nonprofit boards with missions ranging from local hunger relief to international medical assistance.

A recipient of the 40 Under Forty Award from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, Brian has also been honored with the Alumni of Notable Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota and the WCCO-AM Good Neighbor Award. Brian earned his M.A. in Communication Studies and his B.A. summa cum laude in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota. He also holds Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) from the Marketing Research Association.

Buy: Feedback Rules!

  • Posted on: 07/27/2016

    Will Starbucks prosper or slide as CEO changes focus?

    Starbucks is a strong organization and I would bet on their continued success. Other organizations have gone through the same transition and most of the time it works out. Better a planned transition than an unplanned one. Given the past tribulation in leadership transition here, I am sure Mr. Schultz will be watching carefully and attentively to ensure things go well.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2016

    Are wearables just for the kids?

    If function were the ONLY important thing, we would have all been wearing Timex digital watches when they came out. After all, they were more accurate from a technical perspective plus had nifty alarms built in! Fashion does play a part in the wearable equation — many of the wearables morph from a basic functional aesthetic (think the original Pebble) to something mixed with a bit more fashion (like Pebble Steel). But clearly it is a mix of both (and perhaps someday getting beyond having to be tethered to a phone).
  • Posted on: 07/18/2016

    Pokémon Go showcases potential of augmented reality in retail

    Ignore gamification, AR and VR at your own risk. Reminds me of the ridiculous argument about texting when it first started ... it wasn't "real" communication and so on. Problem with that line of reasoning is that it IS real to those who engage in it. This stuff is growing and is here to stay in some form. And those generations that are driving future spending want and embrace it, and frankly it is irrelevant if older generations think it is "stupid" or a "waste of time." Whether Pokémon Go is the answer to generating revenue at retail, however, remains to be seen.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2016

    What is Starbucks baking up with its latest investment?

    It will be difficult for Starbucks to retain the qualities and uniqueness that make the product artisanal as they move from handcrafted to commercial. Hopefully they can hold on to enough characteristics to still offer a compelling and differentiated product that is appealing to shoppers.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2016

    Walmart counters Prime Day with free shipping, no minimum required

    Amazon clearly leads online shopping versus Walmart, who quite obviously views them as a competitor. I don't think Walmart's offer takes anything away from Amazon's Prime Day ... after all, they created the event so Walmart's offer looks more like a "me too." Nonetheless, it's critical that Walmart stay in the game with their own effort.
  • Posted on: 07/01/2016 lets consumers see inventory at nearby shops

    If you are a local retailer, and sell items that a shopper would rather get now compared to later, this might work well. Of course much depends on the accuracy of the inventory. Nothing could be more frustrating than showing up at the store only to find out the item is "out of stock" despite it appearing to be in stock in the system.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2016

    Sears extends iconic brands in surprising ways

    For the most part, these extensions seem to make sense based on the products listed. Having said that, the quality of these items will need to match these iconic brands or it will end up being a negative and hurt the brands. Although this sounds like a good idea, it will also depend on how much time it takes for sales to build.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2016

    The independent retailer lives on

    Independent retailers can focus on service as an advantage, they can be more agile without the red tape and layers of approvals needed to implement things like social media and new technology, and they often are deeply woven into the fabric of the communities that they serve. As far as technology, there are consortiums like the Center for Advancing Technology (CART) that can help them achieve the benefits of scale of larger organizations while doing what they do best in serving the customers.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2016

    Winning digital minds, analog hearts

    As one of the other panelists pointed out, digital only retailers are indeed also connecting emotionally with shoppers. The "analog heart" may be defined individually and for some that can come through a relationship with a digital retailer. I would argue that some of the younger shoppers today may not feel the need for the "analog" that many older shoppers hold so dear to their heart.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2016

    Unilever uses grocery delivery service to ‘test and learn’

    This provides a way for CPG companies to not only gain quick data on which promotions work best but also gets them much closer to the customer. It will be interesting to see how this works and who else tries a similar approach!
  • Posted on: 06/15/2016

    IRCE Recap: Should companies take control of their reviews?

    Companies need to take control of asking for, listening to and responding to all feedback, regardless of the channel. It is important to be proactive in asking for feedback as that illustrates care for the customer and their experience. But equally important is carefully listening to the feedback and responding to it so that the provider of the feedback knows they have been heard and something is being done to address their concern (if appropriate) or thanking them to take the time to let you know about a positive encounter (and not just by using a standard form letter). And whether it is a review or any other type of feedback, making it easy is key.
  • Posted on: 06/14/2016

    Microsoft/LinkedIn deal shows content is king

    Hard to say where this will end up. One positive for LinkedIn is that there is a substantially larger company backing them now and, if properly leveraged, this could improve offerings for both companies. But some of that depends on whether one uses Office 365 or Dynamics ... if not, there may not be much benefit.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2016

    Many shoppers are buying more online than in stores

    When considering products that are needed immediately or where the experience of buying them is much or most of the fun, in-store retail will still be the choice. On the other hand, when the product is not needed quickly, the shopping experience is less than exciting and a one- or two-day waiting period for shipping isn't a big deal, convenience and/or price will be a bigger driver and online purchasing becomes more compelling. Plus, as more and more Millennials move into more consumption, mobile will begin to accelerate more quickly as the way shoppers purchase.
  • Posted on: 06/09/2016

    Home Depot and Lowe’s can’t touch Ace for satisfied customers

    In the end, service is an advantage for Ace and whether or not this is an "equal" comparison against the bog box stores, it still centers around dollars spent on products and services in the same space. Could Ace scale up size-wise and do this in a much larger format store? Who knows? But the reality is that their model is working for them and has carved out a niche. Kudos to them!
  • Posted on: 06/07/2016

    Target designing stores as go-to place for smart home tech

    This is a good move. IoT and smart home tech is still very immature, with a lack of standards. However, unless there are knowledgeable associates that really understand the offerings, this won't work well. Many people simply don't understand this stuff yet and if the people selling it don't that won't instill much confidence in the buyer.

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