CMN

Guest Columns

Perspective:
Dairy Marketing

We are Proudly Wisconsin

Chad Vincent

Chad Vincent is an experienced consumer products goods executive and currently is CEO of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, leading the efforts to build demand and awareness for Wisconsin’s $45 billion dairy agriculture business. He contributes this column exclusively for Cheese Market News®.

A powerful brand is a critical element of any organization. It instantly compels people to feel something and, ultimately, take action. That’s why it’s vital for every organization to assess its brand’s performance. Is it an accurate representation of your organization? Is it meaningful to your target audiences? Does it stir the right emotions and incite the right actions?

At Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, we spent the last year asking ourselves those very questions — and many more. We started by conducting a thorough analysis of how we were communicating to our key audiences, followed by taking a hard look at data around stakeholder interviews and message testing. Then, we stacked the results against our mission, which is to make a difference in the financial lives of the farmers we represent and to be tireless advocates for the attention and respect Wisconsin’s dairy products deserve.

What did we find? Significant opportunities to better connect, better communicate and better brand our organization and the award-winning cheese and dairy products produced in our state.

• Aligning our corporate brand with our mission

Among our internal audience group, which includes dairy farmers, industry partners and employees, we found our former name, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, was no longer an accurate description of the role we played or the people we served.

In today’s world, we are not just marketers of milk. Rather, we are advocates for our dairy farm families. And so, moving forward, we will be known as Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.

• A stronger, more identifiable consumer brand

Among consumer audiences, we found another opportunity to strengthen our brand. At retail, we’ve been known for many years as Wisconsin Cheese. While national consumer research told us that the Wisconsin Cheese brand was favorable, it revealed opportunities to shine a brighter light on Wisconsin and the growing number of award-winning specialty cheeses handcrafted in the state.

More than half of consumers say Wisconsin is the best-known region for making cheese and research shows that consumers have a desire for Wisconsin cheese, but the recognition of cheese from Wisconsin was not as strong. We learned that while consumers want Wisconsin cheese, sometimes it is hard to identify. That said, we wanted to create a simpler, yet more prominent, on-package logo that would clearly identify that the product comes from America’s Dairyland — Wisconsin.

Moving forward, we will be represented by the new Proudly Wisconsin Cheese and Proudly Wisconsin Dairy logos. Research has shown that Wisconsin identification encourages brand recognition, facilitates the consumer shopping experience and selection process and leads to a 5.9 percent increase in sales (IRI Custom Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Cheese Sales Database).

The design of the new logos is a nod to old world Wisconsin — our heritage and the great pride we have in it — as well as the high-quality specialty cheese and dairy products created by our state’s award-winning producers. The typography and colors evoke a feeling of nostalgia and tradition, while also being eye-catching to pop on packaging and communicate quickly.

We are excited about these new logos because of their proven potential. The new Proudly Wisconsin ribbon logo stands out on retail product packaging, making it easier for consumers to identify Wisconsin products in-store. Additionally, research shows us that the new logo is more recognizable to consumers than the old logo.

• Our new brands in action

In addition to product packaging and point-of-sale merchandising that will be rolling out in the coming months, the next place you’ll see these brands applied is on our newly refreshed WisconsinCheese.com website. This platform elevates our brand as a whole and gives us an opportunity to better showcase our story.

The focus of the new site will be on our high-quality, award-winning specialty cheeses from Wisconsin and the people who craft them. Today’s consumers want to know more about the products they buy. They want to know where the inspiration for the product came from and how and why it was made. Our new website gives us the ability to share the stories of the state’s award-winning heritage and innovative cheesemakers to create stronger connections with consumers, retailers and foodservice professionals alike.

I hope you’ll take a moment to explore our brand in action at WisconsinCheese.com, learn more about our story, and see how our new look and feel better evokes our unique position in the marketplace.

• A stronger future for Wisconsin dairy farmers

If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that change is inevitable. The steps we have taken are the result of hard work, countless conversations and careful deliberation. And the results are worth it. Because, ultimately, we’re here to advocate for what makes our state strong, proud and vital.

We are Wisconsin Dairy Farmers. We are Proudly Wisconsin.

CMN

The views expressed by CMN’s guest columnists are their own opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of Cheese Market News®.

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