February 20, 2023

Brand building is about choices, not mission statements – An interview with Matthew’s Choice Founder & CEO Matthew Wang

“Take care of employees, and they will take care of customers.” That was the thinking that once rescued Starbucks from record low profits, and it’s perhaps one of the most effective case studies in good employer branding. Founder Matthew Wang works under the same concept in how he operates his premium yogurt brand, Matthew’s Choice. 

“My goal was always to sell food products with quality ingredients to customers, support local farmers, and build a good brand,” Matthew says of founding his company in 2012 following 20 years of dairy experience at Taiwan’s largest food producer. “I decided at that time that I would find a way to overcome whatever challenges I faced and that there was no going back.”

Matthew’s determination has shown fertile results – as of this year, his company has twenty local farm partners to produce the fruit jam that goes with its yogurt.

Using actions instead of statements to build a brand

Matthew knows that brand-building isn’t just writing mission statements, but the cumulative result of many individual choices. The company’s interactions with its suppliers is one example of using actions to build a brand rather than words.

“We sometimes elect to purchase surplus stock from our suppliers, taking on the responsibility and working extra hard to sell out the inventory rather than letting this pressure fall to the farmers,” says Matthew. What may have been a fraught decision for another company is crystal clear for Matthew’s Choice. 

Its choices like these – as reflected in the company’s name – that let employees deeply feel the company’s values. 

At any given time, you’re more likely to find Matthew at a production site than in the office, demonstrating his commitment to building lasting and powerful relationships with suppliers. The company’s influence has even increased the willingness of second generation farmers to return home to take over the family business. 

Making sure staff experience the entire farm-to-table journey

Matthew also believes that his employees can’t effectively service customers until they’ve fully experienced the products for themselves. That’s why he arranges an annual employee trip to the brand’s cooperating fruit farms around the country.

“Our team members are given the chance to experience all aspects of the farming process from transplanting seedlings, picking fruit, to pest prevention,” says Matthew. “This gives them a deep insight into the farm-to-table process along with how we create such strong relationships with our suppliers. And because the sales staff at stores have experienced the production process firsthand, they can communicate with customers and gain their trust much more easily, which creates a positive cycle.”

The company even extended the production experience to customers through a small farm bike tour experience held in 2021.

Financial transparency to enable better team decision making 

Matthew is adamant about being transparent with his team about the company’s financial situation, making sure that data such as pricing, quotations, as well as profits and loss statements are made available to all managers as a reference for their decision-making.

“Knowing the role they play in the company’s ecosystem gives our managers a much clearer idea of how they can impact business performance,” he says.  

As of today, Matthew’s Choice has seen five consecutive years of growth. And with new production facilities just opened in the south, they expect to increase production by five times and expand their product range to drive even more growth.

Matthew’s story drives home the idea that company culture is not an abstract mission statement, but a concept deeply rooted in the hearts of employees and expressed in every decision, no matter how small. 

Key takeaways

  • Brand building is the cumulative result of many individual decisions, not the one-time writing of a mission statement.
  • Letting employees experience your production process end-to-end makes it much easier for them to gain customers’ trust. 
  • Making company financial data (both good and bad) transparent gives employees a great reference for how their own decision-making impacts the company. 

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