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Taking an Idea from Concept to Campaign

Advertising concepting

It takes several pieces working in conjunction with one another to make a successful marketing campaign truly come to life. One of the most important elements is solid creative work, and that starts with a great concept — the unique idea that forms the creative expression of your primary message.

When it comes to concepts, almost all ad industry pros will agree that:

  1. Simple is better.
  2. Simple is also difficult.

We tend to get wrapped up making sure a concept says everything at once, when it really only needs to communicate the most important thing. The concept should be the spark that captures a customer’s attention and makes him/her want to learn more about a product or service. That’s what great concepts do, anyway. The bad ones, well… they get ignored.

Before we present any concept to a client, it needs to make it past our internal team — and we are our own biggest critics. Below are some questions we ask ourselves when determining if a concept is really worthy of taking to the next step:

1. Do people understand it?

This one is simple; if people don’t understand the concept quickly, it doesn’t work. If you hear, “I don’t get it,” then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. People aren’t going to take extra time to understand something that doesn’t make sense to them right away.

2. Does it follow a strategy?

Coming up with a unique, one-of-kind way to illustrate “expertise” won’t fly if the client has specifically stated its number one goal is to communicate “reliability”. It may not mean the idea is incorrect, but a solid concept has to fully support the client’s primary communication objective.

3. Is it adaptable?

Imagine you’ve got a concept that looks amazing as a print ad — so much so that you want to frame it and hang it on your wall. Well, how does it work as a mobile banner? What about environmental graphics — how does your concept adapt for the wall of a trade show display? This is where simpler ideas win over complicated ones. Ideas that don’t lose impact when you need to reduce or streamline the creative for print, digital and environmental formats work best.

4. Is it distinct?

When you have a really great idea, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and forget the importance of making sure you’re not unknowingly copying something that’s already been done or putting out work that’s not just adding noise. We don’t believe that all the best ideas are already out there, but we do know that great ideas take time, and often that requires researching your competitors. Comparing your potential ad concepts to what others are doing helps ensure your work is unique and impacting. It also helps take away “tunnel vision” and tests whether your work grabs attention or blends in with everything else.

Given everything above, there’s a good reason that great concepts don’t always happen overnight. As the backbone of the creative work, it’s essential to put the effort into making sure your ad concepts communicate the story you truly want to tell your target audience.

What B2B ad concepts have you seen lately that you think are really great? Comment below to share your thoughts, or contact us to learn more about developing a successful food ingredient marketing campaign.

What B2B Food Ingredient Marketers Can Learn from the B2C Marketing Space

Tips for B2B food ingredient marketersWhat was the last ad you remember seeing that really left an impression on you? Was it a B2B ad or a B2C ad? Odds are it was probably a B2C ad and it left you wishing you could do something for your B2B business that evoked a similar response from your customers.

Far too often B2B advertising gets unfairly dismissed as being stiffer and stuffier than its B2C counterpart. While there are a lot of mediocre B2B ads, there are also several excellent ones that stand out because their targeted messages and creative approaches are successful in creating engagement and (ultimately) motivating an audience to take action. B2B food ingredient marketers can use strategies from the B2C space to better reach and engage with customers.

Know what your audience REALLY, TRULY wants

It may seem like I’m stating the obvious here, but a lot of companies assume they fully understand their customers’ needs. However, assumptions and reality don’t always line up, leading to incorrect strategies. And starting with the wrong strategy is not a recipe for marketing success. IKEA, Apple, and Trader Joe’s all have very loyal customers because they understand what their target audiences want and build their marketing strategies around those needs.

Ask yourself what is motivating your B2B customers. Is it a need to guarantee quality or a need to make operations more efficient? Whatever it is, it’s important to identify the need and craft a strategy that answers how your products or services deliver the best solution.

Put emotion into motion

It’s also important to remember that our customers — food and beverage manufacturers — are making products that we share with those closest to us — at family meals, parties, restaurants, holiday gatherings and more. Food brings us all together. It has sentimental value and it helps enhance our overall wellbeing.

Whether it’s through humor, empathy or excitement, successful B2C marketers know how to use emotional ties to develop meaningful communications with their target audiences. B2B food ingredient marketers can apply this thinking to communicate their company’s passion through effective messaging that pulls at their audience’s heartstrings. The most effective ads don’t look or sound like ads; they work harder by tapping into our emotions to draw us in.

Time is of the essence

We’re bombarded with hundreds of messages each day. Smart marketers know they have only a few seconds — if that — to capture their audience’s attention and make an impression. For example, think of a McDonald’s billboard or ad you’ve seen lately — it probably had very short copy with a bright red background, simple imagery, a logo and a tagline. These components made it highly effective and efficient in communicating a message. Similarly, it’s important for food ingredient marketers to craft messages that quickly and easily resonate with their customers.

Because there are so many ways to connect with people today, food ingredient marketers need to remember that one single tactic won’t address all marketing needs. Spread your product story out across several tactics (via an integrated strategic marketing plan) and keep your messages concise so that your time-strapped customers aren’t overwhelmed. Your print copy doesn’t need to be a mile long. It just needs to pique someone’s curiosity and motivate him/her to act. Likewise, social media channels are great for sharing bite-sized insights with your followers and positioning your company as a thought leader. Detailed information that requires more time to absorb can be communicated through videos, white papers or other downloadable content that also helps with lead generation.

Over time, all these tactics working together will help you communicate your product story and drive the engagement you want for your B2B business. For more information on B2B food ingredient marketing, please contact us.

Humor and Emotion Prevail in the 2018 Super Bowl Ads

This past Sunday our team came together to watch Super Bowl 52 and discuss our favorite part of the big game, the ads. Although not all of the Super Bowl commercials related to the food and beverage industry, it was great to see a variety of inventive ads. Below, I discuss our team’s top five Super Bowl 2018 ads.

“The Time of My Life” – The National Football League

This television spot, which mimicked the most infamous scene from Dirty Dancing, had everyone in our group laughing. I even caught myself cheering on Odell Beckham, Jr., to nail the lift with Eli Manning.

“Answering the Call” — Verizon

Using only still photography and actual audio of real people thanking the first responders who saved them, this spot drew some watery eyes among our team. The final on-screen message, “They answer the call. Our job is to make sure they can get it,” was highly emotional and reminded us that the simplest concepts can often be the greatest ones.

“Alexa Loses Her Voice” — Amazon

During the spot, Amazon scrambles to find a suitable replacement for Alexa. Yet, as demonstrated in the ad, even our favorite celebrities are no match for Alexa’s soothing tone and witty responses.

“Lip Sync Battle” — Doritos and Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew and Doritos’ “Lip Sync Battle” was yet another great concept that had our group laughing. In the spot, Morgan Freeman sipped on Mountain Dew Ice while lip-syncing to Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On.”

“Good Odds” — Toyota

Toyota released several ads during this year’s Super Bowl. However, the commercial with the biggest payoff featured Paralympic skier Lauren Woolstencroft, who defied all odds by winning eight Paralympic gold medals.

Of course, these are just our selections. Which 2018 Super Bowl ads do you think came out on top? Comment below to share your thoughts.

Top 2018 U.S. Food and Beverage Trade Shows

Exhibiting at a trade show often requires a major investment in time, resources and money. Chances are if you are exhibiting, you already have a pretty good idea of how you’ll make your mark at trade shows in 2018. If not, now is the time to begin drafting a plan and preparing your displays and supporting materials. To fully leverage the impact of your resources, it is important to have a clear strategy in mind. The first step is strategically selecting the right shows to attend.

Below, we compiled a list of the top 2018 food and beverage trade shows to help you determine which ones are worth your investment. Our team will be at several of these trade shows, and we’d love to see you there!

2018 Food and Beverage Trade Shows
Click to view larger map with more details.

For more information about developing a clear strategy for trade show marketing, please contact us.

Customer Engagement at IFT16

Food ingredient marketers know what it takes to have a successful trade show exhibit. Strong branding, the right messaging, customer engagement tactics, a well-designed booth space and a knowledgeable team are all essential to make a company’s trade show presence a successful one. And the best gauge of how well all these pieces are working together is by witnessing them “in action” at a trade show; seeing how engaged attendees are with a company’s booth space and team.

At the IFT16 Expo in Chicago, I walked the floor and observed the world’s top food ingredient companies and their trade show teams in action. I saw how industry trends are affecting the design of the booths and their graphics, as companies strive to show how their products align with the demands of a new generation of consumers. I also saw some very effective strategies to help exhibitors increase engagement with customers and attendees.

White Space, Bright Colors
The combination of vibrant colors and simple imagery on clean, white backgrounds was something I saw everywhere. This graphic style was clearly influenced by the clean-label movement as companies continue to move toward simpler and better-for-you ingredients. It gave many of the booth designs a clean, modern look and was the perfect graphic solution to convey the purity and transparency consumers are seeking. These shots show just how much this look permeated through many of the designs this year.


Natural Colors
Likewise, the ongoing movement toward more natural color sources had an impact on the messaging and tactics of several of the booths this year. Land O’Lakes Ingredients sampled cheese powders made without FD&C colors and featured a daily presentation about the history of coloring foods. I also saw several color houses creatively communicating the natural sources of their products through their messaging and graphics. GNT and DDW both had great examples of this with creative expressions that made me take a second look.


Open Spaces
The last few years, there’s been a substantial move toward more open trade show spaces and floor plans, with companies utilizing all sides of their area for customer engagement. Without “big walls” blocking off entire sides of a booth, a trade show team can have its people on all sides to initiate customer engagement or offer product samples. Corbion did a great job of this with an open floor plan that clearly defined their area and allowed attendees to easily scan across it to absorb everything that was going on. Its team was positioned throughout the space to engage with customers from all sides, and it generated a lot of attention.


Going Outside the Box for Engagement
Something that made an impression on me was how aggressively some companies went to initiate customer engagement. Kerry and Mintel were among the exhibitors that not only had several team members working within their booths, but also had additional members stationed in the aisles nearby to approach curious attendees and make the first move. It was an effective way of removing those invisible boundaries that always seem to separate the attendees from the exhibitors and help start the conversation with customers.

Hats off to IFT for another impressive expo and to all the volunteers who, year after year, make this event so successful and so beneficial to professionals and students throughout the food ingredient industry.

What kind of overall impressions did you get from IFT16?

2016 Flavor Trends Roundup

 As we’ve all experienced, the culinary climate is full of experimentation when it comes to flavoring foods. In the trends we’re seeing for 2016, next year looks to be the year to get bolder with flavors as consumers continue to seek more exotic and adventurous foods.


According to the Packaged Facts trend report, there is an entire world of flavor adventure that’s being explored, and it continues to expand to new and unexpected places. With Sriracha now a household word, kimchi has been popping up in savory and dried snacks while hot peppers keep getting hotter and more diverse. Product developers and chefs are looking beyond Asian flavors to keep up with consumer demand for bolder flavors. To keep consumers interest and meet their demands, chefs are adding citrus to their flavor lineup along with other tangy flavors like cilantro and tomatillo.

In McCormick & Co.’s annual trend report—the Flavor Forecast—America’s love for spicy flavors will continue in 2016, but will take on an evolutionary twist with tangy accents that will open the door to more multicultural flavors. According to McCormick’s predictions, the tang will come from ingredients like limes, kumquats and cranberries as well as rice vinegar and tamarind. Distinct flavors from Southeast Asia—which include “tropical Asian” flavors from Malaysia and the Philippines—will help product developers continue to meet the ongoing demand for spicy foods.

Meeting the demands for healthier foods, simple ingredients and culinary adventure in an ever-evolving society was the overarching theme of Comax Flavors 2016 flavor trends report and the debut of four new flavor collections. In its trend report, Comax Flavors (Comax) notes that consumers will gravitate toward green vegetables and fruit with flavors, which will be the main focus of its Green Goodness collection—featuring flavors such as avocado, pear, broccoflower, green jackfruit and jalapeño honey. With Cuban cuisine expected to heat up on menus, Comax wanted to offer authentic flavors to meet the upcoming trend. As part of its Cuban Culture collection, Comax will offer flavors like Café Cubano, Mamey Mojito and Toasted Coconut Flan.

Based on the forecasted flavor trends for 2016, it looks like consumers will be able to take their taste buds on the adventure they’re looking for. Feel free to leave us a comment below about other flavor trends you’re hearing about.


Branding Your R&D Capabilities

Recently, we wrote about the impact that the clean-label movement is making throughout the food ingredient industry and how that impact influenced a lot of the messaging we saw at IFT this year. As the food industry continues to ride the wave of reformulations and better-for-you product rollouts, a flurry of action is taking place within one of the most important parts of many food ingredient companies—the R&D division—whose talents and innovative thinking make ingredients come to life in customer applications.

Companies that promote the resources and capabilities of its R&D is nothing new in food ingredients. However, we’re seeing more and more companies going beyond simply giving this team of experts a brief write-up and taking the extra step to fully brand this part of its company.

Here are some of the more memorable ways companies are creating a brand around its R&D—tactics that include memorable monikers, logo treatments, dedicated websites and unique characters:

Anyone who’s familiar with TIC Gums has seen the Gum Guru who represents the expertise and accessibility of the company’s team of food scientists. The frequent and consistent use of this character through all of the company’s branding has made the Gum Guru not just the symbol of its R&D but the symbol of the entire company, as demonstrated by its official tagline—We’re your Gum Guru. Its blog, video library and trade show mascot are just a few of the many ways TIC Gums has put the Gum Guru character in action to define the brand of the company. is a website devoted to the Bunge Ingredient Innovation Center, and you’ll see how it’s designated its innovation teams “the oil experts” and “the milling experts,” along with accompanying logos. It’s also named its mobile food truck MOE for “mobile oil experts” and has even given the truck its own twitter feed:


Naturex has a network of seven regional application laboratories around the world to support clients in its transition to applications made with natural ingredients. In a smart branding move, it’s named this network SPRINGlab for Sharing Product Ingenuity.

Chef’s Corner is a robust area of the Red Arrow website featuring several videos of its corporate chefs sharing tips and techniques on enhancing the flavor of various products, as well as a library of recipes organized by product category, food source and cooking method.

As you can see, food ingredient companies know that selling the capabilities and knowledge of a team tasked with making the R&D process a positive experience for food manufacturers is just as important as selling products. Branding these teams is a great way to bring personality to people who are key to a successful customer relationship.

Innovative Booth Spaces Lead the Way at IFT15

As creative director at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, designing and developing booth spaces for major trade shows are some of the most exciting and high-profile projects we work on throughout the year. These are important events for our clients, and as ambassadors for their brand we always strive to create a space that not only is the strongest extension of their brand, but also makes for an engaging and impactful experience for trade show attendees.

Once a trade show booth design is complete, the only way to properly experience it “in action” is by attending one of these shows to see for yourself how visitors react to and engage with it.

As an IFT15 attendee, I had the opportunity to see how the most prominent companies in the food ingredient industry were vying for the attention of over 23,000 attendees, and I walked away with a ton of inspiration and insights for future projects. I was able to experience firsthand some of the most highly sophisticated trade show exhibits in the industry, all gathered together, and see what was working best in capturing the attention of attendees and creating a space that allowed sales teams to best engage with customers.

Here are some things that stood out for me on the expo floor at IFT15:

Emergence of infographics

In the world of B2B social media, infographics are one of the most effective ways to engage with visitors to share relevant content. This tactic also seemed to work very well on the trade show floor. Exhibitors like Mintel, Ingredion and Innova Market Insights (Innova) used prominent space on their booths to feature valuable content to attendees through giant infographics. And every time I walked by the Innova display, I saw attendees studying these infographics or grabbing photos of them with their phones.

Innova Booth IFT

The “wholesome” look

With clean and clear label dominating industry news today, I saw a lot of trade show imagery styled to convey a sense of what I call “wholesomeness.” Design cues like: white space, close-up shots of raw ingredients, vibrant colors and hand-drawn typefaces all had the effect of portraying an industry committed to addressing the needs of customers facing the ongoing challenge of consumer demand for clean and clear label.

Kitchens on wheels

When product sampling is a vital aspect of your trade show appearance, do it right. Companies like Ardent Mills, Bunge and David Michael and Co. all made quite a presence at IFT with branded mobile kitchens being an essential part of their space. It’s a great vehicle—pun intended—to extend a brand’s presence and engage customers beyond the trade show floor. When the show ends, these kitchens on wheels can then be driven anywhere so R&D can work side-by-side with a customer’s product development team.

David Michael IFT


Innovations in printing and production capabilities have led to some very unique materials being used for trade show spaces. I found it particularly interesting that many exhibitors, including Mercer Foods, were utilizing semi-translucent materials for prominent branding, making their space seem larger and less confined. Other exhibitors were taking a less-is-more approach by limiting the amount of hardware and giving plenty of walking area for visitors entering the booth space.

Mercer Foods IFT

It was great to experience all of the action at IFT15. Walking the expo floor, you fully realize how much time, effort, planning and teamwork—both by the exhibitors and IFT—goes into this event to make it a success each year.

What from the IFT15 trade show floor made an impression on you?

Trade Show Best Practices: A Guide for Food Ingredient Companies

Food Industry Trade Show

By planning ahead and utilizing the right strategies, you can better allocate your time and resources for food industry trade shows. Learn more >>

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