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: 08/18/2016

    Will Adidas’s Speedfactory disrupt shoe production?

    People are unique and like to customize things. At the same time, there is a lack of patience for anything, including customization. So to the extent that this can deliver a customized solution more quickly and closer to the customer, it's a win!
  • Posted on: 08/16/2016

    Are supermarkets digitally disconnected from retailing reality?

    Taking a generational look at this, younger generations are more engaged in the digital marketing realm while older shoppers are not as much, but our research shows that Facebook, for example, is heavily used across all generations. Even so, there is a "digital disconnect" with social media, for example, showing a large gap between those who are engaged on social media and connectedness to their primary supermarket. The opportunity to close this gap is going to continue to grow and grocers do need to be engaged in the digital space or they will be viewed as not "with it" by shoppers as time goes on. Having said this, there does need to be a healthy balance between traditional marketing tools and the newer digital tools as they continue to evolve.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2016

    Aldi lets parents try before they buy new baby line

    Seems like a bit of a stretch to have baby changing stations at a street festival. But in terms of trying the product by getting it in the hands of parents, IF it is strong enough in terms of quality this could be a good move. On the other hand, if there is a high failure rate or the product simply isn't any good, it could all be over when the band finishes playing.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2016

    Can (should) brands do without department stores?

    Department stores really need to rethink their positioning. Most don't have a strong "excitement" quotient, layouts are often difficult or cumbersome to shop, and merchandising varies. Online will continue to make inroads here.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2016

    Is it OK for brands to have emotions?

    Having spent many years leading a corporate foundation for a Fortune 500 company, social responsibility is something that is important to all generations but how they engage in it may vary a bit. But as a whole, people want the work they do to have purpose. And if a brand can connect emotionally with purpose, it turns into a win-win!
  • Posted on: 08/09/2016

    Are loss leaders a losing proposition for stores?

    Loss leaders (and cherry-picking) have been and will continue to be a component of selling. This approach can also be adapted online to try to drive more online sales as well, although the rules of engagement there are a bit different.
  • Posted on: 08/08/2016

    Study: Overly positive reviews driving product returns

    A great deal depends on the product category of the item. Obviously it is harder to gauge how the shoe fits or how the shirt feels until you are wearing it. On the other hand, if you buy Tide Pods online and have used them in the past, chances are that you are not going to return them. As someone who purchases a wide range of products online, I rarely return anything simply as a result of a discrepancy from the reviews. In fact, many times those reviews help me determine exactly what to buy and when I have ignored a potential flaw in the product as indicated by the reviews I have been sorry. So reviews can be helpful in NOT purchasing the wrong product in the first place!
  • Posted on: 08/04/2016

    Would Walmart + be an Amazon killer?

    The play here would be for Walmart to gain knowledge and learnings from this acquisition to move them forward in e-comm. So from that standpoint it makes sense and if they can leverage something out of it, the juice will be worth the squeeze.
  • 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.

Contact Brian