The Packaging Pitch: The secret behind a great fresh produce brand

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The Packaging Pitch: The secret behind a great fresh produce brand

By Fresh Produce Marketing founder Lisa Cork

Lisa Cork2 (2) - sqPeople often ask me what the secret is to creating a great produce brand. Having created a few great brands over my career (Eat Smart, Wild About Fruit, Love! Kumara, Avovita, Born Pure and Winter Sweetz Texas grapefruit to name a few), I put it down to three things. You have to:

1. Find your unique ‘story’.
2. Find your consumer-centric proposition.
3. Use and apply ‘trend’ thinking to give you a competitive edge.

You see, creating a great brand is more than just coming up with a name and getting a logo designed. Creating a great brand is both a strategic and creative process that takes you and your business on a journey of discovery, revealing not only brand name options, but new strategic opportunities for your business as well.

While I have always been a strategic brand developer (I created Apio’s innovative ‘Eat Smart’ brand back in 1992), my original business focus was fresh produce marketing. But like many of your businesses, my business has evolved over the past decade and today, 99% of my work involves helping growers/produce marketing companies develop high impact, consumer-focused fresh produce brands and packaging. This makes sense when you consider the ‘all things fresh’ eating trend we are in the midst of. 

As an April, 2016 article from The Hartman Group states: “Consumers are attracted to fresh products for a variety of reasons (taste, quality, healthfulness, status, ideology, etc.). It is important to understand that fresh is not so much an objective distinction (as in the difference between fresh fruit and canned fruit) as it is a multifaceted framing device that allows consumers to differentiate between the real and the imitation, the raw and the processed, the tasty and the bland, the ripe and the stale, the good and the bad, the fancy and the plain, and so forth.”

So how does one go about creating a great brand? I’ll share with you the process we use in the hopes of demystifying how brand development works.

A good analogy and one I use when I tell people what I do, is creating a great brand is like building WASGIJ puzzle. A WASGIJ, which is "jigsaw" spelled backwards, is an innovative puzzle concept in which the picture on the box is merely a clue for the puzzle you will be putting together. So unlike a traditional jigsaw puzzle, where the picture on the box gives you the answer, with a WASGIJ, you have to create the answer using the clues. This perfectly describes how I create great brands.

In my business, I am the strategist. My role is to work closely with clients, ask hundreds of questions, do extensive background and trend research and probe for any and every untapped opportunity I can find. This process gives me the pieces of the puzzle I have to work with.

For clients, this questioning process, even before the brand development has started, has huge value. They find the process of answering my hundreds of questions gives them ‘a-ha’ moments as they see their business through fresh eyes.

Once I’ve done the deep-dive background research and asked the questions, I then process all of the information through what I call a ‘consumer-centric’ filter. Using this filter as my guide, I analyse the data, looking to see what fits together and creating a picture of the new opportunities available. Simply by seeing the information and insights in new ways, new thinking emerges. And in this new thinking, the client’s brand and positioning strategy is revealed.

Once the strategic work is done, I bring in my team of experts. A copy writer helps with brand ideas and creating the brand story. A creative strategist helps bring the brand and story to life visually. A packaging design specialist helps design high impact packaging that stands out on a crowded shelf, connects with consumers in a meaningful way and drives new sales or value growth opportunities.

The whole process is a bit like alchemy, a seemingly magical process of transformation or creation. But in truth, doing this work is my absolute passion and I love every minute of the challenge until the WASGIJ is solved and the client is happy.

Great brands are more than just clever names and pretty pictures. A great brand is a truly strategic process that balances a company’s products with consumer needs and wants, creating an opportunity sweet spot. And in this sweet spot, more sales, faster sell through, new accounts and more revenue is generated.

Safe and happy holidays everyone.

As you look forward to the New Year, have a think about your brand. Are you still using a grower or farm name? Do you have competitors who have innovated and are you feeling left behind? Want to do something innovative, but not sure where to start? If yes, give me a call or drop me an email. Going through a branding process can be absolutely revolutionary to your business.

Lisa Cork is planning her first trip to Peru and Colombia in late March and early April 2017, and is looking to meet with progressive growers and/or produce companies who are interested in branding to run either half-day or one-day branding workshops. She can be contacted by email at

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