Shoppers of artisanal cheese products from Vermont Creamery will see a fresh look this Fall, starting with goat logs, followed by aged cheese and other products rolling out within the next year.
Behind the whimsical design there is a great deal of thought, collaboration and design muscle -- all working to create something that represents the values and heritage of Vermont Creamery.
The design gives a subtle nod to the consumer, indicating what Vermont Creamery stands for.
“We have only seconds to grab the consumers’ attention and this design immediately speaks to who Vermont Creamery is,” says Tim Scott, Land O’Lakes Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “I’m excited to see how consumers react to the new look.”
For Vermont Creamery Marketing Director FM Munoz, it was about moving toward a brand look that better reflected our farm-to-fork commitment and the personality of the brand.
"If we were going to spend all this time and energy working on a brand refresh, it had to be authentic. It had to be something we believe in, not just what data says we should do," says FM.
A subtle design, powerful in showing company character
The new packaging prominently depicts a Vermont farm scene. Each individual illustration represents a piece of Vermont Creamery’s story. Notably, the barn illustration is reminiscent of the historic Gambrel-style barn at Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, one of the Creamery’s milk suppliers.
If you’re buying goat cheese, shoppers will see a goat on the packaging. Likewise, they’ll see a cow when buying cultured butter or crème fraiche. Each artful illustration signals the product’s origins.
There is a tractor, silos, round hay bales and even a little clover that is taken from the original package design. The clover harkens back to the Creamery’s original logo and happens to be Vermont's state flower.
“Each image is emblematic of a company that knows who it is, where it comes from and most importantly, never forgets its roots,” says FM. “The farmers, the state of Vermont, our values, they make us who we are. We now have a look that reflects that.”
Finding the new look together
It took only a few months to create the look that would help Vermont Creamery stand out in a "sea of sameness.” This was critically important to the project team.
Sue Murray, Director of Corporate Marketing and Brand Packaging at Land O'Lakes, says “Vermont Creamery energized and challenged their usual way of doing business.”
"There was no way I was not going to work on this project. It was different, and yet familiar.”
Sue worked to come up with ideas and coordinate efforts between Vermont Creamery, Land O'Lakes Research and Development and Minneapolis branding agency Little & Company.
The refresh was truly about teamwork. In the beginning of the process, Land O’Lakes Director of Insights and Strategy Lynn Franz worked with an integrated, small team that identified Vermont as a “Brave Little State.” It was the idea of “being small, mighty and a place where family, farming and business ownership thrives. Vermont Creamery has an ambition of growing their community without comprising their craft...and that’s very much a Vermont way of thinking about the world.”
We consulted with all the standard experts, plus some unusual-sounding ones, including Cheesemongers. No, that is not a made-up word. Think of a Sommelier for wine or Cicerone for beer. Cheesemongers are tested and experienced experts in their craft who can offer insights to all things cheese.
In this case, they provided feedback on preliminary packaging designs in relation to how they view Vermont Creamery. They considered whether the design “fit” with how they think of the brand.
Vermont Creamery was able to harness the expertise of the Land O’Lakes insights and packaging R&D team to not only improve the appearance of the packaging but elevate the consumer experiences. What does that mean exactly? Take, for example, the new goat logs which use a new technology called “Haptic Ink.” This tech creates a feel more akin to paper than plastic, thus signaling the high-quality product within.
Beyond form there is function, too. The change marks a step forward in Vermont Creamery’s sustainability commitments. The new Crème Fraiche cup is paper wrapped and uses about 15 percent less plastic. The know-how and purchasing power that the Land O’Lakes Supply Chain brought to the process helped deliver a quality product that delivers more with less – both to the company and to consumers.