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Mackenzie Wortham
Posted by Mackenzie WorthamNovember 21, 2017 8:31 AM

If you’ve read The Core or spoken to any of our team members in the past couple weeks, you know how hyped up we were for United Fresh’s 3rd annual  BrandStorm™ conference. United Fresh Senior Director, Marketing Communications, Mary Coppola, told us to prepare for an emotional roller coaster ride - which is exactly what we got! This year’s BrandStorm was filled with inspiration to create emotional marketing appeals and persuasions that will create brand loyalty to last a lifetime.

DMA Solutions had the pleasure of not only attending this year’s event, but to also join as presenters and sponsors alongside so many other inspiring marketing professionals in the industry. We left feeling encouraged and validated in our marketing efforts and hope that many of you feel the same. If you attended, note that we’re putting together a recap of the sessions along with recommendations for how you can take action on what you’ve learned that will be available from United Fresh on November 29. If you didn’t get the chance to attend, please consider downloading this recap tool when it becomes available so you can learn what we learned too!

In the meantime, we’d like to leave you with some of our favorite takeaways from the conference:


Emotional Connectedness

Out of everything we learned and every session we attended, one theme stood out above the rest: emotional marketing works. The speakers were practically begging marketers to tap into the humanity of their audience and use that to their benefit. Opening speaker Graeme Newell from 602 Communications shared that 85% of purchase behaviors are instinctual. Humans make purchases with our emotions, and the true way to separate yourself from the competition is to differentiate based on the emotional fulfillment and values that your brand provides.

Storytelling Creates Connections

Commodity-focused marketers focus on trying to sell the features of their products.World class brands, however, have marketers that understand it isn’t just about the products - they’re about the bigger story that their products exist within. For example - don’t be a “lettuce grower.” Be a “mealtime solutions provider that brings families together” that also happens to grow lettuce. To successfully tell your brand’s story, first find your brand’s core theme. This will be the emotional link for people to remember you by. It will also serve as a navigational beacon along the process of captivating your brand’s story. Video is one of the best ways to create and tell brand stories, so marketers should seek to allocate more funds toward video creation in 2018.

Smarter Packaging will Help Marketers get Smarter

Technology is shaping the way brands interact with consumers through packaging. Modern and innovative packaging is a message delivery vehicle for your brand. Explore opportunities to ad sensors and tracking codes to your packaging to send information back to you and your retail partners in real-time. Brands should also consider how they can tie their stories into their packaging through value-added messaging, calls-to-action and consistent typography, designs and patterns. Remember, the ROI on well-executed packaging will be realized with strong sales performance.

Collaboration is a Path to Success

Successful marketers should be collaborative in nature. Throughout the conference we could see that many of you are eager to collaborate with other brands and agencies to raise the bar on your efforts. In addition to finding creative ways to work with like-minded brands on co-promotions or messaging regarding controversial issues (GMOs and pesticides are a hot topic!), marketers should strive to collaborate with sales and vice versa. Marketers can win by creating a dependent relationship in which sales relies on the insights the marketing team has to offer. Find ways to gather preferential consumer data that your sales team craves to receive from you to boost conversations with customers.

Focus on What You CAN Do

We understand better than anyone that fresh produce marketers face many challenges that CPG brands don’t experience. We don’t have CPG budgets to work with or unlimited distribution and availability opportunities. Instead, speaker Jay Acunzo encouraged marketers to start by focusing on what they CAN do. Change your thinking to look at your constraints as a strength and as a way to form an “unfair advantage” over others. We grow the freshest, healthiest foods in the world. When we learn to stop obsessing over everyone else’s best practices and start focusing on our intuition and achieving our own marketing aspirations, the CPG brands won’t know what hit them.

Produce Marketers Still Struggle with the C-Suite

While there were certainly several CEOs in attendance who highly value marketing, many marketers expressed that they still have trouble convincing the c-suite of the value of more marketing dollars. During the marketing trends panel, our own Dan’l Mackey Almy encouraged marketers to talk to the C-suite about tying your marketing spend to a percent of sales instead of determining an arbitrary number each year. If you can first understand the overall business objectives, you can then align the marketing plan so that you have common ground with your c-suite to talk through strategies and budgets. Plus, by starting with what you CAN do as mentioned above, you can focus on winning in one area, showcasing the results, and experience more and more dollars come your way as you win on behalf of your company!

If you’re hungry for more direct insights, quotes from the sessions and tactical ideas, rest assured that there’s more coming! Stay tuned for more from United Fresh on how you can get the official recap on BrandStorm later this month. Do you have additional insights to share that we missed? Who was your favorite speaker? Tweet to us @TheCoreBlog and share your takeaways from the conference.


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