This article is by Frances Dillard, Driscoll’s Global Brand Lead.
The sweet, juicy taste of fresh strawberries is often associated with nostalgic memories of summer, smiles and time well-spent with family and friends. With more than 100 years of family farming, Driscoll’s is passionate about growing great tasting berries. Over this past generation, Driscoll’s has quietly created a strong community of brand advocates who have propelled fresh berries sales to the top-selling fruit or veggie in the produce aisle. In a typically commodity driven agriculture industry, achieving brand equity speaks to consistently delivering a premium product. And yet, truly iconic brands go beyond a functional product experience. When navigating the reinvention of a 100-year old brand, Driscoll’s is tapping into the strategic underpinnings of psychographic drivers to harness the power of emotions. Macro trends of a fresh-food movement fueled by millennials seeking better tasting, natural and sustainable food solutions indicated Driscoll’s re-branding efforts were poised to meet marketplace demands. Here’s a peek behind the curtain at what’s been working for us:
Expand your market segmentation beyond demographics, purchase patterns and consumption rates to include attitude, beliefs and motivation drivers.
Consumers don’t buy product features, they purchase emotional benefits. Knowing that, Driscoll’s global brand team was on a mission to answer the question: Why do consumers eat berries and what differentiating role does the brand play in their lives? What we discovered through qualitative and quantitative research was that fresh berries bring a spark of joy to ordinary moments and those moments are made more special when shared. We also learned that consumers craved a deeper understanding of how Driscoll’s berries are grown. A surprisingly large number of consumers were unaware that Driscoll’s berries are grown from proprietary varieties – in fact, an RD team of agronomists, breeders, sensory analysts and plant experts are dedicated to develop the best berries possible, exclusively for our network of independent growers. Driscoll’s relentless focus on flavor is at the heart of our marketplace success and insights indicated we needed to be more transparent connecting berry lovers back to how our berries are grown.
Crystallize the functional and emotional brand positioning into an actionable strategy.
Many brands get stuck understanding macro trends – the key is to not only gather data and research, but to move it forward with a meaningful plan. Rolling out the brand’s first global visual identity system across all branding assets, logo, and packaging was the first phase of uniting our global brand strategy. The new look and feel captured a fresher, more playful and modern approach. The Driscoll’s brand is the last name of our founders, so it was important to integrate the founding families into the design journey. With the new branding at critical mass across all key channels, our next phase, currently being executed as part of our latest campaign, #BerryTogether, is all about authentic storytelling.
With the launch of #BerryTogether, Driscoll’s goal was to capture the positive emotional connection people experience when consuming berries. The campaign features an integrated approach of combining live, in-person experiences with digital extensions that inspire bringing people together, kicked off in the Twin Cities with a 3D experiential art installation that required people to come together to receive a berry reward. The concept of the installation supported the notion that berries are better when shared. In addition, we debuted the Joy Makers – a look transparent look at Driscoll’s RD team and how they use science, senses, and imagination to grow Only the Finest Berries.
Don’t confuse branding and marketing. Ensure authenticity is at the heart of any communication strategy.
It’s quite possible that the tactical process associated with marketing is dead. Marketing implies an artificial push of disruptive communication that demands attention. Instead, authentic, purposeful brands develop a storytelling cadence that reflects the relationship they have with their advocates. For Driscoll’s, a 100-year old company with a strong internal culture, passion and spirit of what shaped our brand equity in the first place is a non-negotiable component of our marketing strategy. Capturing Driscoll’s internal DNA and connecting it to the consumer’s needs, wants and perceptions is the magical intersect of branding.