Bringing Home The Bacon: What Food Marketers Can Learn from Pork’s Success

The continued growth of the pork industry has made it the envy of food marketers for decades, and, come 2017, it shows no signs of letting up.

Pork sales climbed 20 percent over the past six years according to the Washington Post, and, by the end of 2018, U.S. farmers are expected to produce as much pork as beef – an unprecedented “score” for the industry. As of June 1, the nation’s hog and pig inventory – a reflection of global demand — was the highest on record.

Clearly, there’s a lot the pork industry is doing right, and a lot we food marketers can learn from its example. Here are a few bits to chew on:

Heed the herd – If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re familiar with the Pork Board’s “Other White Meat” campaign. What you may not know is that the highly successful, multi-decade campaign was born out of astute observations about meat sales and consumption trends.

In the mid-80s, chicken consumption was growing rapidly, and pork’s share of the consumer’s plate was dropping. In 1987, experts predicted chicken would outplace pork…


Uncover Your Employer Brand: Q&A with Barry Saunders and Natalie Smith

For many companies today, it’s more difficult than ever to attract and retain great employees. Organizations have had to adapt their strategies to better align with the millennial generation’s workplace preferences and expectations. They also have to work harder to keep their employees: according to Gallup, 51 percent of U.S. employees say they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings, and millennials in particular are more likely to switch jobs than any other generation.

So what can you do to make sure you are attracting and retaining great talent? It all starts with having a strong employer brand. I sat down with two of Padilla’s employer brand experts, Barry Saunders and Natalie Smith, to better understand what an employer brand is and why companies should be paying attention to theirs.

 Q: What is an “employer brand” and why is it so important?

Natalie: To put it simply, your employer brand is the perception your stakeholders have of what it’s like to work for your organization. It can have…


Three ideas to “fun up” your workplace culture

via quickmeme

In two weeks, we officially welcome summer (whether your local weather agrees or not). These next couple of months usually bring an increase in tans, relaxed faces and vacation stories to the office. And despite all the empty desks, there’s a renewed energy swirling around the halls. A lot of fun things take place in our personal lives over the Summer – why shouldn’t your employees experience the same in their professional lives? No matter your business or industry, I’m confident your workplace culture could stand even just a teeny bit of an upgrade in the Fun Department. I get that it’s a job and you’re paying people to be there and well, work… but what about infusing some fun experiences into your employees’ work lives, too? Give them joy beyond the paycheck.


Spoiler alert: By doing something above and beyond for them, you’re getting something in return. When employees encounter positive experiences at work, they feel appreciated and valued – and perhaps even compelled to share the story with family and friends. You’ve now enhanced your workplace culture with the bonus…


What is an Emoji Strategy and How to Build One

Whether you can’t finish an online conversation without at least one emoji, or you find emojis to be a total nuisance, these little pictures can be worth a thousand words. In fact, there are now 2,666 distinct emoji icons (talk about #options), and nearly 92 percent of online consumers now use emojis on a regular basis.

But how and why should your brand use them? And how should they factor into an overall social media strategy? It’s never a one-size-fits-all solution, but this quick guide to emojis will get you started developing a strategy for using them and using them smartly.

The first thing I’ll say is that while emojis can and should be used in a variety of ways, you need to make sure they fit into your brand voice and (most importantly) you need to  make sure you fully understand the context behind what some emojis mean. Ready to cringe? Here are some brand fails you can laugh at and learn from. One of my favorites was this Chevy press release created…


Want to Build a Great Brand? Start with Great Character.

In August 2016, Target’s Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones left the company to join Uber as its new President.

Just over six months later, he resigned, saying that “…the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber…”

That’s pretty damning, but it shouldn’t be all that surprising. In Jones’ first year, he spent a good deal of time talking to Uber drivers to hear about their issues and experiences. While our firm doesn’t work for Uber or its rival Lyft, I’ve been doing roughly the same thing for the past 18 months – asking drivers who work for both which one they prefer.

My informal tally of roughly 100 drivers shows that they prefer Lyft to Uber by a 9 to 1 margin.

You’d think the reason would be economic – that Lyft pays more than Uber, or that Lyft allows passengers to tip in the app (it does). But the reasons drivers cited were often less tangible – the policies on surge pricing (Uber being viewed as predatory), the method for doing auto safety checks (Lyft slower, but more deliberate), and the tone and tenor of


2024 Olympics: A Sustainable Solution

It’ll be a heated summer in Paris and Los Angeles, as both cities vie for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Ahead of the announcement on September 14, even the number of social media followers are creating controversy.

This is exactly what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would like, two competing cities driving online engagement, all in the spirit of the Olympic Movement. This healthy competition will push the planning and bid committees to spread positivity about the Olympics around the world.

In the end, both cities might be declared winners. There are rumors that the IOC will name one city the winner of the 2024 Games and the runner-up as the host of the 2028 Games. This is a good idea, as both cities are top-notch finalists.

However, the IOC’s plan highlights a deeper issue: the unsustainability of selecting different host countries for each Olympic Games.

High building costs, paired with limited post-Games usage are a very large barrier for potential host countries. Many countries are passing on hosting the games – which ultimately hurts the Olympic brand.


A look to the past

In December 2014, I had the opportunity to tour London’s Olympic Park. Since…


Pepsi Ad Autopsy

You may have heard about a certain multimillion dollar television ad campaign for a carbonated beverage that was quickly pulled after quick and extensive online backlash. It stunningly revealed the dangers of using current events to sell products in today’s connected world.

As brands try to make more meaningful and emotional connections, more are wading into current and controversial issues. We saw plenty of sociopolitical co-opting by bold brands during the Super Bowl. SNL satirized it hilariously in a skit of competing ad pitches for Cheetos. For some reason, the Pepsi ad was different. The ad spawned a crowd-sourced outrage that ended in it being pulled in 24 hours in a form of social censorship.

I anticipate an extensive autopsy of how the ad came to be. Some are blaming the lack of perspective in the creative process by relying on in-house creative, while others see a desperate pepsi2attempt at relevancy for television advertising. I don’t think either are at the heart of the backlash. I have no doubt the intentions of the ad were good. The nondescript protests looked to be about equality…


Most believe B2B branding is unique; we believe that’s BS

Christian Markow and Barry Saunders have spent decades thinking about brand strategy and customer experience while working on top-notch brands, such as GE, Chick-fil-A and Target. They also lead Joe Smith, Padilla’s brand consultancy. I sat down with Christian and Barry a few weeks ago to discuss how B2B companies should approach branding.

Christian Markow

Christian Markow

Barry Saunders

Barry Saunders

Q: How is digital disruption affecting B2B branding?

B2B customers have been influenced by extreme improvements in customer experience and design on the consumer side. Everything we deal with in our daily lives – from the way we pay bills, buy stock and order sandwiches – influences how we think about our business relationships. So we have wonderful, dynamic, interesting and joyful experiences that are equally influenced by both digital and human interaction on the consumer side, but then our B2B interactions are total “BS.” They’re laden by horrible procurement processes, impossible invoicing and a customer experience with sales people who just spit stuff at us. Or we end up in the silo the salesperson represents when we need…


The Winners & Losers of Ad Bowl LI

A big thank you to my co-author, PadillaCRT Chief Creative Officer Heath Rudduck (@HeathRudduck)!


20141118_PadillaCRT_Richmond_Parrotte_0010Nikki: Each year, we marketers anxiously await the Ad Bowl (and the chance to write about it: 2016, 2015). It’s an invaluable opportunity to callously throw around judgment be entertained and educated. The ads that score excite and inspire us, while the ads that flop… well, same. And these days there’s so much more to witness than the good, bad and ugly commercials on TV thanks to brands’ bold adoption of the second screen. Like the good marketer I am, I was extending my ad-viewing experience not on my smartphone, but my laptop, frantically taking notes with one hand, clasping a glass of wine in the other. My colleague Heath was tuning in, too:

20141112_PadillaCRT_MNPLS_Rudduck_0040Heath: What a game. Despite the fact I was hoping for a different result, I couldn’t in any way discount the incredible effort a comeback of that magnitude took. What a brilliant game. Strangely enough, the advertising left me feeling a little the same way. I had high hopes for the showing of some brands. Was I going to be entertained or enticed? Who will grab my


Why Strong Brands Will Win the Wine Game

image: shutterstock

Millennials are changing the face of the wine world. And they’re doing a pretty kick-ass job of it.

Propelled by a thirst for authenticity and discovery, this new generation of drinkers is embracing both old-world traditions and experimental styles. They’re not just drinking more, they’re drinking better.

Producers around the world are eagerly trying to engage this lucrative yet elusive market. And overall, they are not doing such a kick-ass job.

With a mass of curious new-comers on their doorstep, most of those trying to sell to them are doing so in the cryptic lingo of the wine aficionado—with promises of “bramble berries,” “old saddle leather” and “forest floor” as an attempt to start the conversation. While others, fueled by trends reports and superficial demographic data, are pursuing an opposite yet equally flawed strategy, of bending over backwards to show their audience how well their wine will fit into a mundane, millennial existence. (“You can pair it with pizza! You can take selfies with it!”)

“This wine pairs perfectly with my ADD, you guys.”

Neither strategy is…