• Lisa Cork

When it comes to fresh produce branding, strategy is everything. I don’t care whether

your company is big or small, strategy is the great equalizer. You can be a small company with great strategy and you will get more wins than a big company with poor strategy. Seriously.

Just the other day I was on a virtual call with a group of growers. They wanted a new brand for an IP fruit they were growing and exporting to Asia. I asked my typical 100 questions and what became clear was the absence of strategy.

This was not intentional, but their structure and their independent nature meant they hadn’t thought beyond the need for a brand. They were not aware and had not considered a brand can only succeed when it's part of good strategy.

Let me explain in more detail.

The growers wanted to hire me to create Brand X, where Brand X was an IP fruit. So far so good. I asked what was the vision for the brand. They noted over time, they wanted the brand to include not just one IP fruit, but multiple IP fruit. And they wanted the brand not to just work in one particular country, but their domestic market and other export markets too.

These are really important factors that influence my ability to create a successful brand, but they were not even part of the brief.

We then started talking about distribution strategy. Having spent 30 years working with growers globally, I understand distribution channels and know they vary among growers. But I needed to understand if they saw this brand as a trade brand (trade channels)…or a consumer brand (O2O channels). Again, they hadn’t considered the impact of their distribution strategy on the brand.

Finally, I asked for their vision for the brand and they said the wanted consumers to buy it, remember it and then come back and ask for it again. I love the belief than one purchase can create consumer pull, but it is just not realistic.

And this is where strategy enters the picture. Strategy is the foundation a successful brand sits on, not vice-versa. Brands can only succeed when they are part of a well thought out and well-developed strategy.

Knowing your market volume and growth projections, knowing your distribution channels and target markets, being clear on your USP and much, much more – this is all strategy – and it is a critical part of any brand development process.

Brand and strategy are like a good marriage. Yes, both parts can stand alone…but together, each is stronger.