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: 10/21/2016

    Should high-end brands avoid Amazon?

    Totally agree. One can be the luxury brand of yesterday or the luxury brand of tomorrow. As you point out, "affluent customers value time and increasingly expect a better customer experience." Time for luxury retailers to innovate their approach to retailing to truly serve all their customers, not just those who might happen into a physical store.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2016

    Smartphones drive increased e-mail usage

    Email continues to be a very relevant form of communication today. Successful email campaigns, however, require several facets including well-written subject lines that grab attention and formatting for all screen sizes (especially given mobile). Will email remain front and center with the next generation? Hard to say at this point. As new forms of social communication, like Facebook at Work, emerge and connect with younger generations we may find a migration. But just like with print, it isn't going to happen overnight.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2016

    What happens when managers unintentionally demotivate employees?

    I have often seen management hold themselves to a different set of standards than everyone else. Whether by virtue of rank and title or time with the company, some managers seem to feel they are "at a different level" than the other employees. And believe me, the employees notice and lose respect very quickly!
  • Posted on: 09/15/2016

    When will AR and VR become “realities” at retail?

    While AR/VR isn't a "today or tomorrow" priority for retail, it does have a place down the road. To simply dismiss AR/VR as a fad is shortsighted. It will change and evolve like anything else before it someday becomes more integrated into the shopping experience but it will happen. After all, how many things from Star Trek are in some evolved way, reality today?
  • Posted on: 09/12/2016

    Amazon to roll out pop-ups nationwide

    Smart move! As a recent convert to a Fire, it was a challenge to know whether or not the device would do what I wanted it to do without being able to test drive one. This will provide additional exposure to the array of devices offered by Amazon and agree that there is a "wow" factor to being able to try something like Alexa for the first time.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2016

    Why are retailers struggling to get social media right?

    Looks like lots of folks taking the poll feel that interaction is where retailers need to spend their time. I couldn't agree more. Recently I had a less than positive experience with a franchisee of a food chain. I took to social media and was initially impressed with the relative speed of response and promise to contact me. However, after getting my information and promising a response in 48 hours, guess what ... nothing happened. Retailers have to get the basics of customer interaction right first before anything more complex!
  • Posted on: 08/31/2016

    Can fresh foods revive department stores?

    Nope. I don't think this has traction at all in U.S. department stores given that they have enough of an issue getting traffic at dying mall locations in many cases. Offering food at the department store is just not going to make any difference, even if one could pull it off both in offering and value.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2016

    ConAgra, Unilever mull delivering meals to the home

    While I too am skeptical that the big CPGs can pull this concept off, I do give them credit for at least considering it. Many need to carefully examine where they are at today and where they are going to be in the future with the quality and healthfulness of food products offered.
  • 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!

Contact Brian