Teamwork and relationships within a team can be very elusive. Well done, a strong sense of team seems effortless, but rest assured, it never is. At RMD, we constantly work to balance the need for conflict to bust through complacency in a hurry … with the need to build bridges within our teams that forge strong relationships. We have found these six tips to help along the way:
1. Take the initiative. Go to the other person first.
2. Sympathize with their feelings. Listen before talking. Focus on their feelings.
Natural Products Expo West is arguably the biggest, the most interesting and the most exhausting food trade show of the year. Food brands of all types come from across the country and the globe to introduce their foods and new product development, share their ideals and gain new distribution and fans. In short, everyone is after the almighty and powerful retailer relationships … and consumer dollar.
So, what were the trends that Team RMD spotted at Expo West last week? Here’s a summation, along with some of our favorite finds:
Bars and Balls: From protein-enriched to caffeine-enhanced, meat and grain bars and nutrition balls are making their way into all meal categories — and aren’t just for snacking anymore. Our favorite: The Better Than Coffee bar at 100 calories and just 3g of sugar, it truly tastes like a caffeine kick (and agency people are known for their love of coffee). We also love the relaunched MetaBall, which has introduced a whole new array of flavors (and new packaging!), including our favorite – Berry Cobbler Crunch.
Pork Rinds: Grandpa’s snack has made its way to mainstream America with reinventions of this old favorite. Our favorite, of course, is Southern Recipe Small Batch’s rinds. Newly introduced at the show? The oven baked rinds, touting less fat and a powerful bacon flavor. The traditional line of Southern Recipe Small Batch rinds is equally delicious. We suggest the Spicy Dill. This flavor combination insists that your taste buds take notice.
Grab ‘N Go Everything! There’s protein-enhanced, grab ‘n go foods in nearly EVERY category. Clearly, we’ve gotten the message that protein = good and we’re all on the run. For a flavor sensation that’ll make you turn that car around and want more, give Lilly’s Hummus a taste. It’s hummus made with clean, simple ingredients… and obviously, lots of heart.
Grain Free/Alternative Grains/Gluten Free: The Gluten Free community is in for a TREAT if Expo West is any indication of what’s going to be found in grocery aisles and on Amazon in the coming months. Outrageously delicious, this category has come a long, long, long way. Our must-try favorites: Soozy’s Muffins, Brekki Overnight Oats, The Toasted Oat and Oggi Pizza. OMG, delicious!
Convenience: Everything that’s entering the market is in some way trying to solve our biggest challenges … we’re time-starved and still, want delicious food when we sit down at the table. Food brands have gotten this message. For the best products in this category (that we LOVE), try Saffron Road entrees (like, wow!) and Medlee Food’s new line of flavor-infused butters.
How To Stop Thinking Just Anyone Can Represent Your Business in Social Media
The food industry is crowded with brand after brand just trying to make it to the shopping cart of the consumer. What makes a food brand special? What makes you indispensable in the consumer’s mind and heart? An agency that specializes in the food industry has access to knowledge that can propel you forward, putting you in the hands of the perfect consumer for strength and sustainability.
For each brand, their purpose is different. It’s time for you to evaluate (or re-evaluate) yours … and identify the most strategic avenue by which to share it.
The list of impactful social media platforms goes on and on. While a good product is a key to success if consumers don’t know about it, how well can it perform? In the meanwhile, the world is seemingly in tune with the latest social trends. In order to maximize your momentum in this space, there’s something deeper brands should responsibly consider.
The question is, why should you employ the services of an agency to manage your social media instead of that eager new intern or a family member who can’t wait to get their hands on your social accounts?
Instead, consider these four big reasons to rely on an agency to help share your brand’s story and, just as importantly, your purpose:
1. Talking to the consumer and managing crisis.
A series of high-profile food crisis has caused a growing awareness of particularly stubborn pathogens amongst all consumer groups. Both food manufacturing teams and their marketing counterparts have been charged with the daunting task of exemplifying excellence in food safety by incorporating industry best practices, particularly by bolstering their crisis management plans … this is especially necessary in a space as transparent as the social space.
By fine-tuning a food crisis strategy, your brand can ensure it continues to serve the organization well and protects its public profile while helping to instill trust between the brand and its consumers. Partnering with an agency with a deep knowledge of the industry and a solid track record in times of crisis is an exemplary way to prepare your brand for the unforeseen. In a volatile industry, such as the food industry, your agency partner should realize that food can either nourish us or serve as a toxin. Their work should prepare your brand and protect it accordingly.
2. Strong SEO means big power for your brand.
Powerful SEO is a must-have today and it can be integrated into your marketing mix seamlessly with the help of an agency. For maximum effectiveness and brand power, your agency partner should be able to incorporate a smart SEO strategy into your day-to-day efforts across social media. One brand, one topic, one voice every day. This is the fastest way to become (and stay) a Love Brand.
3. Posting in your voice, as a friend to the consumer.
As consumers peruse the social space, they’re actively reading messages and posts from their friends. It’s critical that your agency brings them friendly messaging that’s in line with what they’re already expecting to see on that platform, while broadening the conversation to accommodate a variety of subjects that relate to your brand.
Recent research demonstrates that 79 percent of Millennials and 84 percent of other generations prefer brands to let their personalities shine on Facebook, while 51 percent of Millennials and 35 percent of other generations like it on Twitter. Your fans want your brand to tell stories they can relate to, share recipes they can identify with or post articles that highlight how you can add value to their lives. It’s simple, it’s subtle and it’s friendly.
4. Posting on a regular schedule, without being predictable.
Strategically diverse – conversational yet intentional. There’s strategic thought that goes into each post, and the content calendar your agency creates for you is a tool not likely to be found in the hands of a social media team that’s not simultaneously armed with a marketing mindset.
Simple but effective tools built monthly for your company’s unique needs. Important holidays, food celebrations, retailer awareness and more are crafted to be talked about in each month, using a pattern that keeps the message fresh and the user engaged.
It’s easy to have that son or daughter, that cousin, that guy in billings who has an Instagram account, take care of your social media needs. It seems smart and affordable. But when you consider that social media is an advantage medium and your direct connection from your brand to your consumer, you realize your product may be the most important key to your business.
The advantage of daily communication with your consumer is a very close second … and that shouldn’t be in the hands of a single person who has an idea of what they’re doing, or just having fun learning. That should be entrusted to a team of individuals that want the same thing you do: success.
See how we can help you and your brand find just that right here.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the client love too — learning that something transformed a brand’s business, that product is selling off the shelves or that the efforts of the agency earned a brand’s way into an account. But I’ve learned to really embrace negative news, too.
But why do we appreciate hearing that product isn’t selling in a certain area, that messaging is falling on deaf ears within a certain market — or that the competition is “eating our lunch” within a specific retail geography (yes, pun intended)? Because this news fuels the right agency’s performance. And yes, RMD IS the right agency. Here are three ways this news can be useful to a super-charged team:
It turns on the firepower.
When you’ve teamed with an agency that cares more about serving your brand and your consumers, than they do about managing agency hours, negative news can turn on the firepower. It’s akin to having a best friend who rises up to defend you when you need it most.
We work hard to INTEGRATE and pump up the power when we hear that sales are down, or not what they can be. Social media takes on a hyper-focus with carefully crafted posts and smart, smart, smart geotargeting. Simultaneously, Public Relations truly IS the silent partner in every success story, mobilized to turn on the energy in a specific market. Meanwhile, Advertising should cut through the noise and first grab awareness, then educate.
It solidifies a client/agency team.
Nothing builds bonds faster and stronger than a brand in need, and an agency that rises up to meet that need — quickly. There’s a gift in speed and being nimble enough to adapt and improvise or mobilize resources for immediate results. The food business requires this and teaming with an agency that cares enough to be effective when it’s needed most builds lasting relationships.
It allows the agency to actually DO something.
Sometimes, brands become protective. And, in the interest of safeguarding the company, we actually hold on to our brands too tightly. Being in dire need forces us to let go … just enough to allow success to happen. To be clear, I love a calculated move — and more importantly, a calculated brand. But that’s not always how the world operates. Brands that are built with transparency and honesty are more effective today than those that mark every move. As consumers, we buy brands from people, not from corporations. Freeing your agency from the ties that often bind us has led to some astounding success throughout the two and a half decades of food brand experience at RMD. Sometimes, we need to let go … and let good happen.
Is your brand ready to turn to a strategic partner that digs in? Let us show you what we could do for your brand.
Grassroots Marketing Efforts Mean Expansion for Ohio-Based Nonprofit
Ten years ago, RMD Advertising dreamed big. The agency’s team members took the first step in what would become the company’s largest charitable initiative. It all stemmed from a simple desire: to give their clients a holiday gift that would stand out from the typical corporate gift.
So, the agency took the money earmarked for client gifts and bought 25 red wagons, filled each with food and distributed them throughout the community to local Columbus families in dire need during the holidays.
Wagons Ho Ho Ho began with that simple mission in mind. We’ve grown since that first year. Last year, our Wagoneers donated more than 8,000 pounds of food and built a total of 1,000 wagons. This year, we’ll call on the Central Ohio community to help us build and distribute 1,250 sturdy wagons – our largest initiative to date. But we’ll also fill each one with enough food to feed a family of four Christmas dinner. 1,250 wagons and enough food to feed 5,000 people … all assembled in one day. More than 600 volunteers make this possible.
How does one 501(c)3 organization mobilize a group of over 600 volunteers and inspire the Columbus community to donate enough nonperishable food to feed so many Ohioans in need? Powerful marketing, lean, targeted messaging, smart event marketing and word of mouth certainly play a critical role.
Marketing to the head and the heart
Wagons Ho Ho Ho is an enormous responsibility, and without the support of our volunteers and the city of Columbus, it wouldn’t be possible. With strategic and targeted marketing efforts, our grassroots initiatives have fostered a giving and selfless community that has made Wagons Ho Ho Ho’s annual Build Day more than simply eight hours during which we assemble wagons.
Build Day is now an event that epitomizes the spirit of the holidays. It reminds volunteers that what they contribute is unique. On that day, the city’s local recreational center turns into Santa’s workshop and strangers work side-by-side, working towards one goal and becoming friends in the process.
We’re proud of this accomplishment. We realize that providing a gift and a meal on Christmas is important, but what is really important to us is what each wagon represents to its recipients … hope. It’s our way of showing these children that there is a community of people who care about them during the biggest holiday of the year.
Each local radio interview, television segment, printed story and event Wagons Ho Ho Ho participates in is an opportunity to make an emotional connection with the next potential Wagoneer. While we share the harrowing facts of Ohio’s food insecurity and the daunting need of families in the area, we are also keenly aware of our story.
Marketing Wagons Ho Ho Ho as a brand has required us to approach each piece of content created as a vehicle for communicating our story, celebrating the people behind our strong but mighty nonprofit and our hopes for the future. By concentrating our media opportunities to the months leading up to the annual Build Day, we have been able to saturate the local airwaves with our story … and in return, have continued to inspire volunteers to proudly step forward and call themselves Wagoneers.
Can a wagon really change a child’s life? We think so. And it takes just one voice to help a family know they have a supportive community of caring neighbors behind them.
Today, the face of the hunger has changed. 1 in 6 in Ohio experience food insecurity, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from. These are your neighbors and your co-workers. Sometimes, it is a matter of having to sacrifice dinner one day a week. It may even mean having to choose between buying food or medicine for a sick child. If they are struggling to buy food, how can they buy Christmas gifts for their children?
On Build Day this Saturday, December 2nd, we’ll once again open the doors of a local recreation center and invite over 600 hard working Wagoneers to bag food, build wagons and send each delivery off with our dedicated distribution charity partners. With music, plenty of food and laughter filling each corner of the room, it’s plain to see – this is a special event not only for the recipients of the wagons but also for the builders themselves.
Every volunteer who touches Wagons Ho Ho Ho, whether by donating food, funds or their time, is an important part of the Wagons team. Visit WagonsHoHoHo.org to learn more, and help to give a child HOPE for today and the future.
RMD Advertising Is Honored With A National W³ Award
We are proud to be honored with a national W³ Award by The International Academy of Visual Arts. This award highlights RMD Advertising’s excellence in overall strategy and digital design for a Cause-Related Marketing Campaign for Rudolph Foods’ annual Truck Driver Appreciation Week campaign.
The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning sites, videos, marketing programs and mobile sites/apps. It is the only major web competition to be accessible to the largest agencies, the smallest firms and everyone in between. Amidst hundreds of submissions, RMD’s entry for Rudolph Foods’ annual Truck Driver Appreciation Week campaign was distinguished as a leader in its respective categories.
“We’re honored to have been recognized as a leader in the advertising industry,” shares Sue Reninger, Managing Partner, Client Brand Strategist at RMD Advertising. “W³ recipients represent prestigious companies, both large and small, leading corporations, small businesses, and nonprofit associations and institutions. It’s exciting to be publicly recognized as part of such an accredited group of professionals!”
Rudolph Foods, the world’s largest manufacturer of pork rinds, works to celebrate Truck Diver Appreciation Week each year – an event partnering with the St. Christopher Truck Driver Relief Fund. During this pivotal awareness week, Rudolph Foods, with the help of RMD Advertising, shared their gratitude for the hard-working truck drivers who play such a critical, yet underappreciated, role in the food industry. This campaign effort accurately portrayed RMD’s excellence within the Challenger Food category and led the agency to its W³ wins.
We couldn’t resist. With October comes the ghostly opportunity to shine a new light on some frightening food marketing stats. Can these help you to build out a skeleton of a plan for a stronger, better 2018?
You be the judge. But the truth remains: not all food marketing is the same. If your Challenger Food Brand plans to make a bigger splash next year, consider these three powerful thoughts:
Challenger food brands can’t ignore Millennials, for sure. According to Statista 2017, nearly 80 percent of them regularly purchase specialty food brands. But the markets you’re ignoring could be killing your profits.
Gen X consumers (ages 40-51 years old) and Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) also line up for your brand. In fact, more than 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively, actively purchase and seek out specialty foods.
Frightening Fact #2: It’s not a fad. You’re discounting the growing gluten-free category.
Though the buzz has quieted, it’s interesting to know that the gluten-free marketplace is actually growing. According to Statista, consumers choosing to go gluten free are actually climbing at a steep rate. In fact, 72 percent of the market for gluten-free consists of consumers who choose the lifestyle as a way of life (up from 56 percent in the previous two-year period.)
Frightening Fact #3: Brick n’ Mortars are battling online shopping.
According to a Bricks Meets Clicks study, Americans who shop for groceries online once per month do an average of 17 percent of their total grocery spending online. That leaves a LOT of room in the budget for traditional grocery brands. This compares to 21% for those who shop twice online.
The most heart-warming, rewarding and hard-working months
To Future RMD Interns:
The next two and a half months at RMD Advertising are going to be the most heart-warming, rewarding, hard-working months you’ll have. RMD is a special place where you’ll be surrounded by people who want to see you learn and grow, who enjoy laughing and sharing in good times, but who also buckle down and work hard.
I know from my internship, working at RMD is an experience I’ll never forget. I want to share with you the five pieces of advice I have that you should keep in your back pocket as you experience RMD for yourself.
1. Be Open-Minded: Your first week as an intern will be exciting and overwhelming. You’ll be learning so much, very quickly. Be a sponge. Soak it all in and definitely, take notes.
2. Ask Questions: Show your curiosity, and don’t be afraid that the words coming out of your mouth might feel silly. RMDers will go above and beyond to make sure you understand what you don’t yet know!
3. Overcommunicate: I can’t stress this enough. It’s one RMD’s core values. If you’re having trouble understanding a task, RMDers will help you through it.
4. Be a Helping Hand: Agency life can get busy, but if you ask how you can help an RMDer, it will alleviate their stress and will show that you care. It’ll teach you that the team you’re playing on is bigger than any one player.
5. Share Your Ideas: Big or small, don’t be afraid to share ideas you have about a social media post or how to tackle an upcoming campaign. It shows that you’re willing to jump in and participate!
All of this and more that I’ve learned at RMD are life lessons I know I’ll carry with me throughout my career. Thank you RMD, for an incredible experience!
As I scrolled through my social media feeds, this quote caught my eye. Not because of its inspirational undertones, but because it reflects my experience as an RMD SPC. The mentality here isn’t just to work hard but to work right; the mentality here is if you can take in the right direction, take it.
But what is an SPC?
SPC stands for “Special Projects Coordinator,” which is essentially RMD Advertising’s internship program. I like that my title isn’t “intern” because that word suggests brevity, expendability, and immaturity, and as a recent college graduate, I want to be taken seriously, prove my worth, and make an impact. In comparison to my previous internship experiences, my time as an RMD SPC falls much closer to the professional side of the spectrum.
With a proper title come proper responsibilities. The weight of knowing my work impacts that of my team is both fulfilling and fueling because I know my time and effort is worthwhile and perpetual. Don’t get me wrong, this fulfillment is an earned feeling – it’s definitely a learning process in its own right.
As a student, I thought my biggest professional challenges would involve tasks like writing press releases in short amounts of time, negotiating with clients, or giving flawless presentations.
My biggest challenges in reality were time management, organization, and prioritizing. Now, I’m not a disorganized person and I work relatively quickly, especially with a journalism background. However, the RMD work grind is very rapid, therefore the level of meticulousness is also very high. During my first few weeks, I felt like I was drowning because I didn’t have a full comprehension of how much work I could handle or how quickly I could work.
In due time, I learned the key is communicating with my peers and someone will always extend a hand to help ease the path. I learned that everyone is very willing to provide support because the culture here is a collective one – rather than “I am successful” it’s “We are successful.”
The satisfaction of seeing (and experiencing) the ripple effect of the PR Team, Creative Team, or Social Team output out is inexplicable – it’s almost like a literal push of RMD’s energy into the rest of society.
When I go grocery shopping, I can proudly pick up a product and say “Hey! The agency I work with represents this brand!” When I drive by a restaurant, I can happily point and exclaim, “Look! That’s one of clients we work with!”
So here, at this agency, we take a step if there is a step, and that is probably the crux to our growth and reputation.
Recently, I had an article shared with me about Millennials, and their quest/desire for experiences over material things. Admittedly, this is not a quest isolated only in Millennials. I believe people, in all walks of life, prefer experiences. However, the fact remains: we are experience junkies as a population overall.
But not all experiences are positive ones, right? Of course not. In fact, when we fail at a challenge, task or goal – that’s an experience, for sure.
So what if all experiences COULD be positive? Failing in fact can be a positive experience. By focusing on the art of failing forward — always learning, improving and growing from those times when we “fail” or fall down, we can create a positive experience. By embracing what we don’t know and growing from those times, even something devastating can have a positive affect.
More than simply “positive thinking”, a growth mentality is not only crucial in a hyper accountable, hyper productive environment like RMD Advertising, it’s a strong career survival skill. If there is any shortage in the workplace today, from our vantage point, we think it’s a shortage of accountability. By learning every step of the way, seeking progress and growth, everyone wins: our team, our food clients and our community. Here’s how to adapt this state of mind:
1. Stop and Analyze: How would I do this differently NEXT time? What would I change? How would I reword that? How do I see myself acting differently next time around?
2. Be Alert: The “next time” isn’t always so obvious, and it doesn’t come with a flashing yellow light. Do yourself a favor and before rushing into an experience, task or project, take time to be alert and reflect.
3. Grow in Confidence: Know that knowledge can be obtained by books, seminars and classes. But WISDOM comes only after experiences … and the act of failing forward. And wisdom always trumps smarts.
Sue is a the head of client brand strategy at RMD, based in Columbus, Ohio. Her love affair with the agency world and the food industry sprouted at a very young age – and she’s spent nearly three decades working tirelessly to build the client brands she loves. Today, she mostly helps consumers and customers better connect with the nostalgic nature of the food she strategizes for.