J.M. Smucker ditches berries for more stylized identity

Dive Brief:

  • J.M. Smucker Co. revamped its visual identity, abandoning the familiar strawberries, leaves and countrified typeface for a more modern look featuring abstract leaves in red, yellow, green, blue and purple and a sleeker font, the company announced.
  • The new design better reflects the company’s expanded portfolio, category expertise and multigenerational appeal, per the food company. The visual refresh is also designed to position the brand as a modern and evolving employer and help “attract additional talented professionals,” President and CEO Mark Smucker said in the announcement.
  • Over the past two decades, J.M. Smucker Co. has expanded beyond its core jellies and jams to become a multicategory conglomerate with brands such as Jif, Folgers and Milk-Bone, in addition to its namesake jams and jellies. The new look is designed to better reflect this evolution and expanded product portfolio.

Dive Insight:

The brand is the next in a line of consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies looking to reinforce their identities and expanded portfolios in recent months. The corporate efforts may be a way to engage with consumers who are becoming more likely to try new brands during the pandemic.

Similarly, Kraft Heinz in June began rolling out a back-to-basics brand identity that highlights the company’s staple pantry products, a move that comes as some people stock up their kitchens with shelf-stable items in order to avoid frequenting grocery stores during the pandemic. Earlier this month, Tecate unveiled a new visual approach, including a simplified logo and new packaging, to evoke the brand’s history and heritage. In August, Ferrara Candy Co. launched an updated marketing campaign for its recently acquired Keebler brand. The Keebler refresh is intended to get adults to think differently about the brand known for its classic cookies.

That these venerated CPG companies would launch campaigns amid the pandemic is not surprising. Smucker, for instance, saw its revenue rise 10% in the quarter ending on April 30 after many shoppers stocked up on food in the pandemic’s early days, but cut marketing spending 5.8% to $119.5 million amid pandemic disruptions. Similarly, Kraft Heinz’s sales increased 3% in the first quarter, but in Kraft Heinz’s case, the increase has led to an increase in marketing activity.

However, as the pandemic draws on, consumers have shown more flexibility when it comes to brand preference. About a third of consumers tried a new brand in the early days of the pandemic, as shoppers found shelves empty or were looking to add some variety to their options. As the health crisis continues, 45% of consumers changed at least one brand preference so far during the pandemic, and 66% expected those changes to remain permanent, a Ketchum study predicts.

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