Moxxy Marketing's Karen Nardozza Discusses Defining a Produce Brand
SALINAS, CA - How do you breathe life into the multi-faceted mechanism that is your brand? I dove in with Moxxy Marketing’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Karen Nardozza, to further define this term that has become a necessity in differentiation.
“There are so many components to a brand, beyond your label or even your mission. It is how the outside world views you, and the story only you can tell,” Karen explains. “How do you get to the crux of what is important to you? What drives, differentiates, and empassions you? Each company is different, but when you deal in commodities, it is so easy to answer with quality, efficiency, or food safety.”
These seem to me like the go-to requisites of a produce brand, but Karen argues that is exactly why companies need to dig deeper.
“Because those things are necessary to keep a buyer buying, they aren't differentiators, they are the minimum requirements, and they certainly aren't what to build a brand around,” she points out. “How others experience your brand also needs to be in sync with the brand image you want to present.”
So, what can you build a brand around? When looking to examples, Karen points to two very different successes: Berry People, a relative new-comer, and the Southeast Produce Council (SEPC), an established and well-known representative of our industry that wanted a new website to reflect a new era.
“When it comes to the crux of a business identity, Jerald Downs of Berry People knew exactly what the answer was, and it is in the name: people,” Karen shares. “When your company says you want to be known for something, whether that is sustainability, authenticity, or, in this case, people, you must be that and uphold it.”
While this serves as a splendid example of how to find direction in your brand, Karen shares that a young company like Berry People is starting with a blank canvas and is free to picture anything. More frequent in produce are long-standing companies that want to make themselves more known to a new channel or generation of buyers and consumers while taking care to retain those who know and love them.
A perfect example of this is SEPC.
“I love SEPC’s new website direction because its challenge wasn’t just retaining its recognition, but also equal representation for the multiple regions and categories it champions,” Karen recalls.
Moxxy redesigned the council’s website after it revealed it wanted to go in a fresh direction with its brand, and Karen says she and her team had quite a time ensuring only the necessary parts of the slate were wiped clean.
“SEPC is very well known, so refreshing the website while holding onto established equity is a balance. But the team knows what differentiates them: traditional values and a long history. So, how do you take this into the modern age? In the end, it became the headline: Southern hospitality for the produce industry. Strong, clear, and easy to understand with nothing else like it,” Karen answers.
Within these two examples alone there is such a wide space of branding possibilities, filled with a multitude of alternative directions. When I make this observation, Karen assures me that, as each story is different, so is the path to their brand.
“A brand is so much more than visual identity, that is just a piece of it. This can bring some difficult conversations,” Karen explains. “Our responsibility is to guide our clients to the brand that is going to deliver success, and we take being a trusted advisor very seriously, even if it means not saying ‘yes’ to your first idea, or even your second.”
Digging into these conversations looks to be increasingly necessary as more and more industry experts theorize the current climate will warm consumers to cyber produce departments like never before.
As what defines all the components of our industry becomes more and more sought after, I can’t wait to see the strategies that emerge.