“Our creative team gets to do all the fun stuff!”
Will all the account executives who can identify with that statement raise their hands?! I can almost hear the swish of hands shooting into the air.
It’s true – sometimes it feels like the creative side of the agency gets to have all the fun, while those of us in account management get stuck with the paperwork and the hard client conversations.
Broad generalizations I know, but this one has a happy ending, so please allow me some leeway and read on.
We recently had the privilege of working on one of those rare projects that allowed our creative team, coupled with expertise and facilitation from our account team, to bring a beautiful new brand named Crafted Creations™ to life.
The client that I spend my days with, Tyson Fresh Meats (TFM), had a problem: they had a seasoned & marinated beef brand and a separate seasoned & marinated pork brand. They didn’t want the two to compete with each other but rather, wanted to leverage the strength of having both species.
As many of you already know, value-added items in the meat case are experiencing strong growth. The ever-popular Millennial consumer is keenly interested in this type of product. They are not, however, interested in another run-of-the-mill teriyaki tenderloin. With regard to flavors, they are interested in… wait, scratch “interested in.” They demand products that deliver unique, bold flavors and provide an eating experience that is far from ho hum.
The seasoned & marinated beef and pork items that TFM has created fit that demand perfectly because the line includes some non-traditional cuts for this category, carefully paired with spices and seasonings to complement and enhance the specific muscle texture and flavor. Items include Mesquite Beef Flat Iron, Crushed Rosemary & Garlic Beef Petit Shoulder Filet, Smokey Chili Beef Skirt Steak, Four Cheese Pork Skillet Medallions, Applewood Pork Sparerib Mini-Racks and Green Chili Fusion Pork Sirloin Roast (my favorite!). Mmmm, makes my mouth water, just writing the names.
We successfully combined TFM’s need to fully leverage their seasoned & marinated portfolio with a consumer need for more flavorful, innovative items in the category. The only thing missing: a brand identity.
As our account planner and our creative team at Midan talked with our client partners at TFM, got immersed in the product offering and dug further into the seasoned & marinated consumer, we began to see areas of potential strength. One of the keys to creating a strong brand is gaining consumer insights – it’s a critical step and one that companies tend to neglect.
Let me be brutally frank here – the manufacturer of a product, regardless of the category, SHOULD NOT sit in a room with other like-minded folks in their company, throw possible names on the wall, choose one and then walk out of the room congratulating each other on a good brand development process. That is a recipe for disaster and disappointment.
We did our homework, starting with consumer research. We asked seasoned & marinated meat consumers what they like, don’t like and feel is missing within the category. We asked about their meal habits, their favorite preparation techniques, the time they spend (vs. the time they want to spend) on meal prep, the trade-offs they make between quality and price, their favorite cuts and additional variety in cuts and flavors that they’d like to see. We asked about the differences between their weekday meal routines and weekends, their shopping behaviors and why they buy seasoned & marinated meats. Heck, we asked just about everything except how many pets they own. Why? So that our creative team could literally visualize this target and combine that with their knowledge about the product in order to develop a brand that was meaningful and delivered on the key needs of the ideal consumer. See why I say that the creatives get to have all the fun?!
The next phase of brand development involved developing brand names, followed by logo options. In order to create a standout brand that also prompts consumer purchase, every detail needed to come together. Consideration had to be given to the connotation of the brand name, the feel and texture of the font chosen and the placement of visual cues in order to help the consumer “feel” the brand. Developing a brand from the ground up is an exercise in controlled overthinking, to a certain degree, in order to get it right the first time.
We then conducted more consumer research to ensure that we hit the mark. Sprinkled into the mix were client reviews and revisions, approvals, legal reviews, trademark searches and hours of discussions about retail targets and positioning within the B2B world.
Building a brand is a delightfully messy process, oftentimes involving some toe-stubbing and backward steps. But that’s really okay, provided that everyone on the team is committed to moving the process forward. A little toe-stubbing can sometimes uncover something that you might have overlooked otherwise.
At the end of this process, Tyson Fresh Meats gained a beautifully-branded seasoned & marinated line of beef, pork and chicken items named Crafted Creations™. The brand essence delivers on the promise of bold flavors, more cuts and diverse meal solutions, all key elements for the target consumer. Our creative team was acknowledged as a group of superstars.
And the account management team? Well, we got to hear all the client compliments and kudos firsthand. Wait a minute – maybe the creative team doesn’t get to have all the fun.