Even if you aren't a sports fan, you can likely name some famous dynasties. For baseball, it's the New York Yankees. In the NFL, you have the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys or, most recently, the New England Patriots. For basketball, there's the Minnesota Lynx, Los Angeles Lakers, and Chicago Bulls.
And for the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) Golden Penguin Awards, it's Land O'Lakes, Inc. Our Dairy Foods division has brought home Golden Penguins 15 out of the past 16 years. Like other famous dynasties, sports or otherwise, it takes a team to win -- and keep winning.
This year's powerhouse includes U.S. Dairy Foods, Retail Operations and Customer Marketing teams, Marketing, Integrated Marketing Communications, Test Kitchens, Corporate Communications, the Land O'Lakes Foundation, and the Retail Foods Sales teams. These teams helped us win gold awards in the Overall Marketing Campaign Manufacturer and In-Store Display categories.
"Our participation in the NFRA and June Dairy Month drives a triple win: elevating Land O'Lakes' visibility in the industry, advancing customer partnerships and amplifying our brand messaging to consumers," says Chris Scheid, director of Customer Teams. "The cross-functional team has developed a winning formula and strong commitment to deliver results year after year that reflects well who we are and how we operate."
Each year, the NFRA recognizes excellence in successful merchandising and promotion during June Dairy Month (JDM) with the Golden Penguin awards. Competing against Land O'Lakes are some big names including Sargento, Chobani, Yoplait and Kraft.
"It was a great collaborative effort," says Bob D'Imperio, national team leader for Retail Operations.
"There are about 15 dairy companies that participate," says Bob. "We outshine them and have a terrific track record.
The road to gold
Dairy Foods has been a dominate player in the In-Store Display category. This category recognizes the "creative and effective use of signage, visuals, props, etc., promoting June Dairy Month." Display planning kicks off each April with a webinar that highlights the JDM theme and goals with Advantage Solutions, the broker for U.S. Dairy Foods. (A broker is a third-party firm that's an extension of our U.S. Dairy Foods sales team and represents Land O'Lakes, Inc. brands to our customers.)
"Last year was our first year with Advantage Solutions and we won silver," says Bob. "This year, we challenged them to go for gold and they delivered."
The theme for this year's JDM campaign was "Discover the Cool Possibilities." Retail Sales supervisors from Advantage Solutions and Land O'Lakes Retail Sales teams worked with store and dairy managers across the country to build eye-catching displays. In total, the teams helped create 197 displays, a 14 percent increase from 2017.
"Building these displays gives Land O'Lakes competitive advantage," says Bob.
"We communicate with Land O'Lakes customer development managers who manage our accounts to see what promotions are set up," says Ron Kariofiles, retail operations manager. "Advantage retail supervisors will connect with the store's sales merchandisers and make sure they order enough product to account for both the ad promotion and store display."
And the ingenuity works. Kozy Shack® saw a 7 percent increase in June sales compared to 2017.
"Teams do a great job with getting creative," says Ron. "I've seen a lot of cow themes, farm scenes, BBQ and grilling…even lobster tie-ins with LAND O LAKES® butter."
While increased sales are incentives in themselves, there's also another prize on the line for the Advantage Solutions reps.
"The top 50 displays are recognized and the representatives who deliver them appreciate and strive for that recognition from Land O'Lakes," says Bob.
Photos of the top 10-15 displays are included with the Golden Penguin award entry.
"A display is judged on whether it attracts a consumer," says Ron. "Is it eye-catching? Is it big enough? Does it create excitement?"
This year's grand prize display was in a ShopRite® store in Brick, New Jersey.
"They used not only the point-of-sale materials we gave them," says Bob, "but they also included over 20 LAND O LAKES® and Kozy Shack® products in the display. It was a very creative and impressive display that really showcased our brands."
When you step into your local grocery store next June, keep an eye out for a Land O'Lakes JDM display. You never know what you might see, but you will know that a lot of hard work goes into creating them.