Brandspeak: Rebranding a 100-Year-Old Company

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Driscoll's berries - Joy Starts Here

Marketing as the Hub of the Changing Consumer Needs

Frances Dillard - Driscoll'sThe following is written by Frances Dillard, Director of Marketing and Global Brand Lead with “Driscoll’s, “the market leader of fresh, beautiful and delicious berries around the world.”


The public is fascinated with Unicorns. I’m talking about the the privately-held tech startups that are worth more than $1 billion in valuation. Ten years ago, tech Unicorns were mythical creatures considered magical, rare and almost non-existent. Today, Uber, Pinterest, Snapchat, Hulu and close to 270 companies make up the Unicorn list of fast-trending, fast-moving startup companies with skyrocketing revenue growth. Revenue rewards abound when companies are nimble enough to meet the ever-changing needs of a dynamic consumer marketplace.

An equally interesting list is one comprised of private, family-owned companies that have been in existence for more than 100 years and are quietly generating more than $1 billion. As credible category leaders with the ability to deliver business performance beyond one generation, these companies are also a special breed worth examining.

Driscoll’s, the global market leader for fresh berries is one such company. We recently navigated through a global rebranding effort to help position us for continued generational success and growth. This is my experience of how our marketing strategy served as the guidepost to incorporate the consumer voice into the brand strategy. Perhaps there’s a helpful nugget or two for the hopeful tech Unicorns that want to be around for the next 100 years.

Driscoll's Share the Berry Joy

1. Plug into the ethos, culture and the purposeful hum of your company’s DNA for authentic brand differentiation.

Management guru Peter Drucker allegedly said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. The same could be said for when marketers attempt to “spin” and consumers sense they are being “sold” something vs. being part of an authentic, transparent partnership. While not all 100-year-old, private, family owned companies may be purpose-driven organizations, I would bet most lead with authentic values and a clear mission that allow the brand teams to naturally identify a unique brand differentiation ultimately benefiting the consumer.

Driscoll’s farming heritage has fueled a generational passion for growing great tasting berries. Known as mavericks within the berry business, Driscoll’s has a long history of many firsts that continue to pioneer the fundamental growing practices in the produce industry. The singular focus to continually delight berry consumers is a result of our deep commitment to the research and development of proprietary varieties which are exclusive to Driscoll’s independent growers around the world.

As part of our brand strategy, we’ve coined the term “Joy Makers” to describe the team of agronomists, breeders, sensory analysts, plant health scientists and entomologists whose mission is to develop the very highest quality berries. It provides an inside look into our company’s DNA and what inspires us to get up in the morning. This purposeful drive to create a little happiness for our berry consumers is what Simon Sinek calls our “why.” Our mission to grow fresh, beautiful and delicious berries taps into the fresh food movement fueled by millennials who are seeking better tasting, natural and sustainable food solutions.

2. Move beyond the functional aspect of your product to truly understand the emotional drivers of why your consumers buy your product and how your brand benefits their daily lives.

If Marketing is to serve as the hub of changing consumer needs, it’s imperative to understand the psychographic drivers of your industry and category. For the past five years, demand for fresh berries in the produce category has outpaced retail sales of any other fruit or vegetable. To understand why consumers prefer to eat Driscoll’s berries more than any other fruit or veggie, the Driscoll’s Brand team needed to know the consumer a bit deeper—so we dug further. The answer—eating berries actually brings a little joy to ordinary moments.

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.

Driscoll's Berry Together

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.

It’s a humbling and satisfying journey to be part of company’s 100-year history. When you are given the privilege to guide a company’s strategy through the changing needs of the consumer, you must become the brand hub with authenticity and openness to continually learning.

Below, Driscoll’s previous branding and the iconic clear clamshell package:


BIO/AUTHOR: Frances Dillard has spent more than 20 years creating compelling brand experiences and driving profitable growth for mission-driven organizations. Frances has held senior level experience in general management, marketing and product innovation in both start-up environments and established high-growth companies. From managing power-house brands like Disney, LeapFrog and Mattel to rolling-up her “Sand Hill VC” sleeves at a gaming start-up, Fran is always at the intersection of storytelling and technology. Frances is currently the Director of Marketing and Global Brand Lead with Driscoll’s, the market leader of fresh, beautiful, and delicious berries around the world.


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