Hormel Foods: Brands are built on stories

With stories come emotions, which is what differentiates a brand from a product.

Roy Graber Headshot
Scott Aakre
Scott Aakre
Courtesy Hormel Foods

Hormel Foods markets itself as a branded food company. That’s because people are drawn to brands, said Scott Aakre, the company’s chief marketing officer.

Among Hormel’s key brands in the meat and poultry industry are Jennie-O Turkey Store, Applegate, Black Label Bacon and Spam.

Aakre, while speaking during the Hormel Foods Investor Day on October 12, told of how when people hear Hormel is the parent company of Spam, it’s not unusual for them to want to tell a story that relates to Spam.

“We know that’s important for this brand and for all of our brands,” said Aakre. “They’re built on stories, and we know that there’s common threads in those stories that bring out the emotional part of the brand to move it from being a product to being a brand.”

When Hormel Foods leaders hear those stories, it helps the company to build on people’s associations with its brands, and potentially build on those associations and help create more stories.

“We can completely imagine new opportunities to keep a brand relevant and define new consumer targets. So, through these stories, we can segment consumers, we can geo-target the message. We can innovate new products or new recipes. That’s why brands are important. That’s why brands matter.”

Aakre has been with Hormel Foods since 1990. Prior to holding his current position, Aakre held a variety of management positions, including vice president of marketing for Grocery Products, and vice president of corporate innovation and new product development.

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