Our Industry's Marketers Talk Up United Fresh's Fifth Annual BrandStorm™
AUSTIN, TX - Though I’m no marketer by trade, I left last year’s fourth annual BrandStorm™ with major marketing pep in my step. In fact, my drive back to Sacramento from San Francisco, albeit short, was one full of hashing and rehashing all that I learned, discussed, and experienced at the United Fresh event. With the fifth annual BrandStorm just days away, I’m betting next week’s show will be just as impactful as years prior—meaning come with extra space in your suitcase for those ideas, innovations, and notes you’ll gather during the event.
Each and every year, produce’s most formidable marketing minds converge on BrandStorm like no other event in the industry. If this doesn’t prove how important this must-attend show is, let these marketing mavens’ words wash over you as we all gear up for February 10th through 12th…
“In the marketing world, Austin, Texas, is known to many of us due to South by Southwest (SXSW). With United Fresh taking BrandStorm to Austin this year, I am looking forward to the awesome, creative vibe the city has and all the great conversations that will be held over the course of the conference with great marketers across the produce industry,” said Chris Veillon, Chief Marketing Officer of Pure Flavor®.
While past BrandStorms already provide a roadmap for this year’s event’s success, the United Fresh team has left little to the imagination in terms of what attendees will be doing while in Austin next week. With cutting-edge keynotes, workshops, and exclusive experiences filling up the itinerary, there’s enough happening on February 10-12 that will incite jealousy in those who can’t attend.
“BrandStorm is an exciting event to learn new trends, network with fellow marketing executives, and build new relationships within the produce industry all while expanding your marketing knowledge,” Krista Beckstead, Marketing and Branding Specialist of Starr Ranch Growers, shared with me. “I’ve attended BrandStorm several times in the past and look forward to attending it again this year.”
This year’s BrandStorm will kick off with an opening keynote that will be delivered by Dr. Todd Dewett (author of Show Your Ink: Harnessing the Power of Authenticity), followed by a speaker lineup to envy, including Hugh Forrest, 30+-year SXSW content creator.
“BrandStorm is the marketing event of the year,” Megan Jacobsen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Gills Onions, emphasized. “You can feel the energy in the room and our industry’s passion for communicating the story of fresh produce. The event offers a phenomenal program and the information you get out of it is incredible. I attended last year, and I encourage folks to go—because you need to go!”
Day two will offer attendees the chance to enjoy a food media panel breakfast general session, “Winning in Today’s Food Media,” that will feature the following food culture personalities:
- Carla Hall, American Chef, TV Personality, and Best-selling Author
- Melanie Hansche, Deputy Editor, Food & Wine Magazine
- Debra Puchalla, Senior Vice President, Digital Programming & Video, Food Network, Genius Kitchen & Cooking Channel for Discovery
- Kristen Hartke, Food Writer, Washington Post/NPR The Salt
- And Moderator, Chadwick Boyd, Food & Lifestyle Expert, Television Host, Author and Owner, Lovely & Delicious Enterprises
In addition, Cece’s Veggie Co.’s Founder, Mason Arnold, will take the stage to share his past business ventures, the current state of entrepreneurship in fresh produce, and what he sees on the horizon.
“BrandStorm offers the perfect synergy between produce and marketing,” John Chamberlain, Vice President Marketing of Limoneira, told me. “There’s something for everyone in our industry to learn—the content is inspiring, relevant, and actionable. And….it’s a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to interacting with United Fresh colleagues in Austin (one of our nation’s most vibrant cities).”
On top of keynote speakers, the fifth annual BrandStorm will provide workshops where our industry’s top-notch marketers can wrestle with topics like sustainability, brand packaging, digital marketing, and more.
“I have attended the last three BrandStorms and find that they get better and better. I love the willingness of the committee to explore new ideas each year, like the FRESHx Passion Pitches, yet build on past year learnings to take us deeper into the trends and topics most relevant to fresh produce marketing,” shared LeAnne R. Ruzzamenti, Director, Marketing Communications, for EFI. “Whether it's your first or your fifth BrandStorm, everyone will take away larger trends to shape overarching strategies along with tactics that can be implemented immediately.”
New this year is the FRESHx Passion Pitches, an interactive pitch-style presentation of creative strategies for elevating fresh produce in the global food narrative. This year’s pitchers will include Chris Veillon, John Chamberlain, LeAnne R. Ruzzamenti, Jason Stemm, and Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak.
“We are thrilled to be presenting one of the FRESHx Passion Pitches this year at the United Fresh BrandStorm Conference,” said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH). “At PBH, we believe that the industry must come together to elevate new fruit and vegetable consumption behaviors as a national priority—to grow and protect the future of our industry as well as to serve the public good. United Fresh has created an important platform in BrandStorm for the fresh produce marketing community to learn and grow together. It really is a fantastic meeting of the best marketing minds.”
“I’m looking forward to my first BrandStorm and being on the FRESHx stage,” Jason Stemm, Vice President of Padilla, revealed to me. “I’ve always heard great feedback on the content and attendees and am glad to be sharing my thoughts on the future of fresh produce with those who will help shape it.”
LeAnne added, “I am excited to hear the other FRESHx Passion Pitches and to share my perspective on making human to human connections, because I think they will truly build on the dialogue we've been engaging in over the past few years during the conference. I believe that the conference is critical to our industry as we must continue to differentiate ourselves in the competitive food space and elevate beyond commodities. BrandStorm provides the inspiration and tools we need, plus brings us together as an industry to think about the collective whole of the produce department and increasing consumption.”
Also new this year is the Exhibitor Storm Surge, an alternative to the sold-out BrandStorm tour. This opportunity will bring marketers together to focus on growing the success of their exhibits throughout the year.
“BrandStorm is so important on a professional and personal level. I like to meet and interact with the people I’m working with, and BrandStorm is a great event to meet new people to partner with,” Megan continued. “There are also great opportunities for personal development. Overall, the show leaves us marketers feeling refreshed.”
Have we convinced you that you need a one-way ticket to Austin? I know the ANUK team sure is! As a certifiable must-attend event, BrandStorm is the place to be this February, whether you’re a bona fide marketing maven, a merchandising up-and-comer, or just curious about the craft.
As more opportunities to strengthen the fresh produce industry arise, AndNowUKnow will keep you in the loop.