Brian Numainville

Principal, The 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: 06/08/2021

    How fast can stores fill curbside pickup orders?

    While logic dictates not trying to promise anything faster than you can deliver well on, the expectation by the shopper is going to drive the fulfillment time down with the comparison to Amazon and relevant competitors. So buckle up and prepare for more speed in fulfillment moving forward!
  • Posted on: 05/21/2021

    If you google ‘Google store’, you’ll find one opening in NYC

    Google needs to explore physical stores to see what they can learn. Time will tell if this is successful a la Apple or more like some of the others who tried this and didn't do so well. I do think higher traffic areas will be important, but it also depends on the product mix. Can't wait to see more on this!
  • Posted on: 04/30/2021

    Shipt and its gig workers deal with phishing attacks

    Today's mix of modern-day social engineering and scams. Education and appropriate security measures help mitigate the risk, but it is an unfortunate reality with where we are at as a connected society. Definitely a challenge.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2021

    Toms finds one-for-one charitable model doesn’t add up for its business

    This is going to be a challenge. Like it or not, the one-for-one charity model was easy to understand for people who wanted to support the brand (albeit more complicated for the company to manage). Donations of dollars to causes will be more difficult to understand (even if much easier to manage for the company) and opens the door to criticism over causes selected.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2021

    Associates are starring in retailer ad campaigns

    Authentic. Real. Believable. Employees bring all of this to the table as compared to those influencers who you know really don't shop at a store or use a product. Will be interesting to see how this plays out going forward!
  • Posted on: 04/01/2021

    Will a ‘skyscraper’ store change how groceries are delivered in cities?

    In urban areas and with items that are able to be reliably handled with this approach, this makes a great deal of sense. And no doubt even outside of urban areas the learnings from this will morph into new applications in other settings. Although positive financial results may not be the focus here, it is something one wonders about for this to truly take hold beyond initial applications.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2021

    Can a celeb endorsement fuel a Payless reboot?

    Simply put, Payless is a brand that is going to have a difficult time becoming relevant. I don't see an influencer being the solution to this situation, especially after the crash this brand had previously.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2021

    Will pandemic-fatigued couples love Lowe’s and Whole Foods’ Valentine’s promos?

    I'll give them credit for trying, but I can't imagine spending the evening at my local Lowe's. Whole Foods seems to have really thought their promotion out well so my vote goes to them for a successful approach.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2021

    GameStop hires Amazon, Chewy and QVC vets to transform its business

    It's really all about digital at this point. I haven't set foot in a GameStop since my kids used the Wii. All the games they play are either downloaded or playable online now. I use an Oculus VR rig ... nothing but the headset needed in terms of physical assets as all the games download right to the headset. This is the future and anything else is "game over"!
  • Posted on: 01/26/2021

    Will retail and brand CMOs play it safe in 2021?

    While I would expect a focus on serving existing customers and markets to be the way many go forward in 2021, there are cases where one has to look at new customers. Companies that totally had to pivot in 2020 to a new customer base essentially have no choice but to try to attract new customers (but even there, can they leverage their previous customer base to transition -- perhaps in some cases). But selling more to existing customers wherever possible is always a good tactic.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2021

    Do sampled freebies drive loyalty?

    Sampling products drives trial and can be useful in gaining feedback about new products. Loyalty only results if the person sampling likes the product and continues to purchase it! Sampling can help a good product get more visibility but can also contribute to sinking a bad product.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Albertsons ditching in-house drivers to deliver online orders

    At some point doing this using in-house staff just doesn't work economically and retailers continually look to reduce costs while doing what they do best and outsourcing other functions. This move doesn't seem surprising viewed through that lens. The open question is around how well these independent contractors do representing the Albertsons brand to customers.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2020

    Is free at-home pick-up of online returns practicable?

    From a shopper perspective, this is a win (especially in the short term in the midst of a pandemic). It removes one of the pain points about purchasing items and then having to deal with the return if it is the wrong size, defective or otherwise not wanted. Plus, it is a differentiator and potential market share builder at a mass scale for Walmart.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2020

    Will ending minimum purchases turn Walmart+ into a serious Amazon Prime rival?

    Certainly a positive move for Walmart (and they should have done it on the first day of the program) but Amazon's benefits are still much better. Not likely going to create a lot of switching from Amazon to Walmart, but may be attractive in gaining new customers that don't want or need the extra Amazon offers.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2020

    Are retailers cutting their way to profitability or slowly bleeding to death?

    Closing a bunch of stores generally isn't a good sign, despite any spin put out that it is...,

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