CBX’s brand renovation work on behalf of Jennie-O Turkey Store was the focus of a case study presented this past August as part of the two-day BXP Live Virtual Design + Innovation Summit.
Our own Stacy Hintermeister, VP of Marketing & Growth, described how the use of agile scrums and design thinking allowed the cross-functional teams to meet deadlines that were about 50% shorter than usual. It’s the latest example of the remarkable efficiency of LEAP by CBX—our process for empowering brands to pivot, make decisions, and move forward like start-ups.
Key elements of the brand renovation included a deep dive by CBX into Jennie-O’s category, competition, and business issues, as well as the considerable strengths of many of its existing brand equities. With a view toward developing new visual and verbal principles, Stacy and her team looked at the overall brand portfolio and what Jennie-O Turkey Store means to consumers, as well as brand innovation territories to build areas of the portfolio for the future.
The brand framework and design strategy that emerged emphasized qualities such as navigation and shopability. “We also refreshed the Jennie-O identity, and that was an important step to breathe life into the new look and feel of the brand,” Stacy explained. “We implemented that through packaging and a redesign.”
Stacy was joined in the online presentation by two colleagues who were integral to the success of the project: Nicole Behne, VP of Marketing for Jennie-O Turkey Store (a Hormel Foods subsidiary), and Brett Krueger, Hormel’s Manager of Brand Design.
Jennie-O brought in Nicole last year to spearhead efforts to reinvigorate the brand. She dove into research on products, consumers, and brand health, and then started looking for a brand strategy and design agency to help Jennie-O regain its leadership position, eventually partnering with CBX to solve Jennie-O’s business challenges.
“CBX pulled together a plan that outlined stages, deliverables, research needs, the sprints we had to take, and check-ins along the way to get us our answers,” Nicole told the audience. “It was a very, very robust plan.”
Agile Design as a Team Sport
During the presentation, Stacy repeatedly emphasized the importance of collaboration in the Jennie-O brand renovation project. To pull it off in record time using six time-boxed sprints (generally three to four weeks in length), a host of stakeholders needed to fully commit to the process, which hinged on meeting goals in areas such as consumer research, packaging design, design adaptation, brand innovation, and portfolio architecture.
And that buy-in needed to come not just from outside creative agencies and internal brand teams, but also from executive leadership at Jennie-O and Hormel.
“Stacy told us that the only way we could shorten that timeline would be with commitment from everyone,” Nicole said. “Every week, my brand team and I would drive two hours from Wilmar, Minnesota, to the CBX offices in downtown Minneapolis. We’d meet with that core team to hit our deadlines and push the project forward.”
Aligning on Brand Strategy, Packaging Design, Consumer Research, and More
The tight workplan was structured to encourage decisiveness: Cross-functional stakeholders understood the importance of coming into alignment as quickly as possible. “Instead of going off and having a sit-and-think for a week, we were able to make decisions in the moment and pivot as necessary,” Stacy explained.
And because design thinking is all about consumer empathy, the project put a premium on consumer research. “That allowed us to always stay in touch with our consumer and what they were thinking and needing from Jennie-O Turkey,” Stacy said. “We knew that we were learning every time we touched a consumer, and that applying these learnings would equal success.”
Some of those findings: Consumers thought of turkey as the “forgotten protein,” in part because it had been positioned as “not beef” and/or “lean” for so long. “We learned that consumers love turkey and want to celebrate it,” Stacy said. “They just need more ideas and inspiration for how to make it and serve it to their families.”
A Targeted Approach to Brand Positioning and Design Adaptation
As brand design manager for Hormel, Brett said he appreciated the effect on the project of extensive predevelopment collaboration. “All of that predesigned alignment—the brief, the tools, the exercises—led to a narrow, yet very targeted, creative exploration,” he said. “The work was objective and led by consumer insights; there was no subjectivity. Through that pre-work, we were able to make that rich insight actionable.”
The net effect is now visible in Jennie-O’s updated graphics, textures, photography, typography, and color, as well as in its livelier voice and messaging. Moving forward, the new framework will inform Jennie-O’s creative-communication platform, package design, and innovation pipeline, according to Nicole.
“We’re in a great place now with all of these learnings in place. They have provided a very solid foundation for all of our brand touchpoints. We could not be happier.”