This blog post is taken from a presentation by Lewis Goldstein, Vice President Of Brand Marketing At Organic Valley. This speech was given in September of 2018, where he speaks about changes in their marketing plan and a new commercial that reaches customers on an emotional level.
Organic Valley started as a Coop in 1988. When I came there, three people were working in our headquarters. I believe we had the best marketing and digital teams in the country. Our goal is to do everything the big companies can’t do, are too afraid to do, or have to pass through their lawyer before they do it. We tell the team this every day. I make mistakes. Yeah, there are going to be mistakes that I make.
Maybe they would waste the money or perhaps we would do it wouldn’t look right. But, on the other hand, maybe the marketing team would create some magic that another company would be afraid to do. Their leadership would not encourage those other marketing departments to do something unique.
So, if you’re leading a group of digital people, I hope you encourage them to make mistakes and not show you everything. I hope you’re encouraging them to try things that have never been done before. If they have a good idea, do it. If you work for someone and they’re not letting you do that, I hope you push them to let you do that or find another boss.
The Past And Present Organic Valley Marketing Strategy
The Organic Valley marketing strategy is multi-faceted and straightforward. Everything that we do is from a digital standpoint. We have a lot of different audiences. Someone once told me a phrase that has stuck in my mind. It is not to forget the girl who brought you to the dance. Do not go for the other girl who may have different attributes. The girl that brought Organic Valley to the dance 30 years ago made us a $600 million brand and $1.1 billion company. The girl who brought us to the dance is our fundamental core organic enthusiast who probably went to the little natural store in each town with grubby floors, and everything was in bulk. I know this because my mother would drag me to those stores. That customer brought us to the dance, so we had to ensure we talked to her.
Growth Of Organic Valley
We have a new group of people that have just become organic in the past 10 years. They are a part of our growth to get to $600 million in revenue. We have 60 million people we’ve identified that are open to organic. Of the 60 million, 20 million are core. They are always organic in their carriage. The next 20 million sometimes buy organic. The last 20 million are open to organic but haven’t yet been convinced organic is right for them. We cross-tabulate that with the belief in what our co-op stands for. We find this belief from meeting with our 2,000-farmer cooperative of family farmers with an average herd of 75,000 cows.
On the positive side, these members want to tell their stories because all our stories are true. Some of them are cuckoo. Some of them are heartwarming. We choose to describe both the crazy and heartwarming ones because it’s true to who we are. That’s how we’ll compete with the larger companies that have entered our space.
Digital – Farmers To The Customers
Our digital strategy has to talk to the person across the dance. These new people have brought us 600 million. The next group of people will get us to a billion and a half. Digital is a core way of doing that. Specifically, that’s the consumer part. Then we must satisfy our retailers now, whether their brick and clicks are digital or online only. We must figure out how to provide them with the content to help them sell our products. Some of it may be branded. Some of it won’t be impressed.
This is what we’re working through now. We don’t know how to do it yet. We are trying it out. Our work with some retailers is to give them content and discover if it works with their consumers. We’re figuring out how to work with AmazonFresh, Amazon Prime, and Amazon Core. We probably are overspending in some areas, but we’re learning. We encourage our team to get out of their comfort zone and learn. Then we’re learning to direct people where to buy our products, either in a natural, brick-and-mortar retailer or online.
Our digital team is encouraged to dream about how they will do each of these parts. Accordingly, we put down what we need to accomplish and then figure out how to achieve this year. This one, we don’t have enough money. These two we can do. At least we’ve outlined our universe and how we will talk to people to reach our goals.
How To Look At Producing Organic Valley Commercials
Below, you are going to see our new commercial. I think we’ve done pretty well at Organic Valley, talking to 2 million people. We’ve spoken to 2 million people well, and they believe in us. These customers believe in our mission to save family farms and promote organic agriculture. They rely on our quality control in healthily eating organically. They support rural communities. That’s been fantastic. Those 2 million people are not going to get us to the 60 million that are interested.
I’ll tell you, I know that Coke will figure it out. Danone will figure it out. General Mills will figure it out. I don’t know how long it’ll take. Some of you may work for them or work with them. You’ll all figure it out in some way. My team’s goal is to figure it out now and beat them to the punch. We can be better at what is their weakness. I worked for Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group. Learning what our weaknesses were. I know what our strengths were. We need some of those strengths that we had at Dr. Pepper. Not in the way that we’re talking about here.
The concern is that a big company will not let anyone screw up too much. That concern of not letting anyone screw up too much is our golden nugget. If we can exploit it and exploit it differently.
The New Organic Valley Commercial
This video I will show you is targeted to the core of who we are. The first time we do an actual commercial will be 70% standard TV media placement and 30% digital. Indeed, this is a new thing for us to do. Mix traditional TV and digital, but we’ve learned much about how to. We have an 80% conversion rate of people watching over 2 minutes. We have learned how to optimize.
If they watch this one, we deliver something else. They click on that and go there. We’ve learned as a team, with some agency help, how to say, “Okay, if you follow this path that we feed you. We’re going to spend the money to feed you this 2-minute and 30-second one”. Additionally, we are further enhancing the relationship we have with that consumer. There has been a big learning curve for us, and it’s super exciting to go on that journey. We have screwed up along the way.
Farmers Are The Star Of The New Commercials
This national campaign will be a mixture of us figuring out how to find the people we want on our journey. It is worth paying to deliver a message and/or share it virally. So, this is the extended version of our campaign launching in the next month.
This commercial will be chopped up into 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds, for TV and for digital. Correspondingly, track the person and then watch them. Then, on the other hand, we have some videos that are much closer to our core. This video is for 60 million people, but the other videos are maybe for 3 to 6 million people. This commercial is for the mass market and another video material is for our dedicated fans.
Written By Matthew Baron of Wholesale Nuts And Dried Fruit.
Words By Lewis Goldstein, Vice President Of Brand Marketing At Organic Valley