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Olive Oil Brands Encouraged to Connect With Consumers in Innovative Ways

Apr. 9, 2014
Vanessa Stasio

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Attendees of the sec­ond annual New York International Olive Oil Competition con­fer­ence on new direc­tions in olive oil prod­uct devel­op­ment and brand-build­ing (Erik Freeland)

In front of a sold-out audi­ence on the first day of the sec­ond annual New York International Olive Oil Competition, sev­eral fea­tured speak­ers empha­sized the power of engage­ment, sto­ry­telling and cre­at­ing con­nec­tions for olive oil pro­duc­ers in today’s global mar­ket­place.

While it was fre­quently noted that edu­ca­tion should be a pri­mary goal to improve aware­ness of, and access to, the best olive oils across the world, another com­pelling theme emerged through­out the day at the International Culinary Center: sell­ers of high-qual­ity olive oils have myr­iad oppor­tu­ni­ties for inno­v­a­tive mar­ket­ing and brand­ing tac­tics to reach a wider audi­ence.

Branding Outside the Bottle and Leveraging Trends

Debbie Millman

Debbie Millman, pres­i­dent of design at Sterling Brands, daz­zled atten­dees with her explo­ration of the evo­lu­tion of brands, their mean­ings and their man­i­fes­ta­tions since the 19th cen­tury. She high­lighted the mag­i­cal way that some brands cre­ate trans­for­ma­tive emo­tional expe­ri­ences for their cus­tomers. Millman encour­aged olive oil pro­duc­ers to lever­age their abil­i­ties to serve as con­nec­tors.

Self-described mer­chant adven­turer Liz Tagami, President of Tagami International, described appe­tiz­ing new ways to inspire and edu­cate con­sumers via deli­cious food and bev­er­age recipe shar­ing. She also deliv­ered inter­est­ing com­men­tary on how to com­mu­ni­cate the true value of the health ben­e­fits of olive oil.

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Innovative Strategies

Bryn Mooth

Bryn Mooth, food jour­nal­ist and copy­writer, delved deeper into the oppor­tu­ni­ties for olive oil brands in the realm of con­tent mar­ket­ing, with spe­cific focus on the online space and social media. She explained that man­u­fac­tur­ers have a plethora of attrib­utes that they can tout when craft­ing their brand nar­ra­tives. Olive oil pur­vey­ors can engage cus­tomers by giv­ing them details of their unique hand-har­vest­ing processes and pro­duc­tion con­sid­er­a­tions or by pro­fil­ing the indi­vid­u­als who work to get their prod­ucts to mar­ket. Brand mar­keters can also sug­gest inven­tive usage ideas, describe their prod­ucts’ tast­ing notes and health ben­e­fits, or con­vey asso­ci­a­tions with the Mediterranean lifestyle, such as the idea of slow­ing down and savor­ing one’s food.

Engagement Through Storytelling

Jason Gibb

Speaker Jason Gibb opened his pre­sen­ta­tion by telling his own per­sonal story of how he came into the world of olive oil. Gibb went from being a foodie who worked in tele­vi­sion in Los Angeles and enjoyed reg­u­lar to trips to his local farm­ers mar­kets to mov­ing to Italy, buy­ing and restor­ing an aban­doned 21-acre olive grove, and found­ing his olive oil com­pany, Nudo Italia, with his part­ner Cathy Rogers. He went on to develop the highly suc­cess­ful Adopt an Olive Tree” pro­gram where Nudo cus­tomers adopt one of their trees for a year and enjoy pre­mium olive oil from their very own tree.

With a high-qual­ity offer­ing, Gibb says, olive oil pro­duc­ers can uti­lize sto­ry­telling in their own ways to engage and com­mu­ni­cate with their con­sumers via mul­ti­ple chan­nels. He closed by say­ing, People like sto­ries. Make it your own story, and of course you have to have a great prod­uct to back it up.”

The 2014 NYIOOC con­tin­ues Wednesday with more strate­gies for olive oil mar­ket­ing, mer­chan­dis­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion.

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