BrandStorm Takeaways: The Top 5

Find Your Posse – In Life and in Marketing
Perhaps the best thing about BrandStorm is the sheer thrill of being around other marketers of fresh produce. It’s literally the only couple of days a year that you can be 100% certain that you don’t have to explain what you do. And it’s the ideal place to both lament about our challenges, and revel in the glory of what we get to do for work. This all sets the perfect stage to listen to other experts, engage with peers and explore new ideas.

Bonus that BrandStorm (and similar events) is also where I get to see my Produce Posse: a tribe of powerhouse female marketers who are as professionally awe-inspiring as they are fun.

Same-same for brands: find the people who share your particular sense of thrill. Get them pumped up about your brand and want to share the love.

Follow Your Gut
There were some common themes this year at BrandStorm as we navigated the sketchy waters of emotional marketing, intelligent packaging, brand-telling and more. And while we’re all there to find that new trend or tool, it turns out that we already posses the most powerful one—our gut. And as marketers (especially in the case of pushing perishables), trusting our gut is not unfamiliar territory.

It was comforting to hear from experts that all the strategery in the world doesn’t replace good ‘ol intuition.

Authentic is Easily Boring
Brand-telling, storytelling, weaving your narrative, bringing your message to life — whatever you want to call it, all marketers are trying to do it… Authentically. And while it’s true that our farmer story (and yes, his kids) is indeed compelling, we’re getting a little numb to the sameness of it all.

The takeaway here was a reminder of the ultimate throwdown challenge in ALL marketing:

How can you find that nugget of differentiation that’s just interesting enough to own and run with? What’s your unique thing that takes the story down a new and interesting path that might catch today’s consumers?

So Have Fun with It
Part Two of The Ultimate Throwdown Challenge: how do we make it fun?

Today’s consumers (all ages, HHIs, markets, etc) are bombarded with the pressures of making the right decisions. We’re just about shamed into becoming the notion of what pop culture thinks we should be. In the beautiful land of fresh produce, negativity should be left at the door. There are no bad decisions in the fresh department!

So given the negative nature of our world today, and the challenge to be unique… Getting fun into the mix is a must. We’ll be actively campaigning for more entertainment in 2018.

Our speaker Jay Azcuno gave us great examples of uniqueness (hello, Death Wish Coffee), and clearly had some fun too.

Be a Resource Realist
Yet another common theme we grappled with at BrandStorm: who owns selling the value of marketing? Is it us, the marketers? Is it leadership? Who can own the ROI when only one can own the budget allocation? Phew, it’s tiring volleying this topic back and forth!

The bottom line, is well — the bottom line. To be effective in today’s challenging world of marketing it’s simply mission critical to be a resource realist. No matter how small or large that budget of yours is, you won’t get anything out of it without being realistic. KPIs are great and all, those require a hard look at budget-appropriate benchmarks. And in my opinion, those need to come from both marketing and leadership (following collaboration from other departments).

Shameless Plug
BrandStorm is a great example of conferences marketers need in their vertical markets. By nature, we thrive on collaboration and inspiration. Yes, as a member of the United Fresh Marketing & Merchandising Council who puts it on, this is a 100% shameless plug. But it’s an authentic one!