On one hand, it is great to be an older, experienced, produce industry veteran. This year is my thirtieth in fresh produce marketing, as I officially started with Apio Produce Sales in California in 1998. All I can say is where has the time gone!
On the other hand, being older and experienced means you have to work harder to stay in-touch. When you have staff managing your company’s social channels or using apps to improve production, it’s hard to remain engaged with new thinking and technology.
So I thought for this column, we would do a little quiz. Let’s assess how in touch you are – and if you are feeling out of touch, let’s talk through some ideas to re-find the fountain of youth.
Part 1: Test your language skills
Do you think gucci is a fashion designer? Do you think the bible is just a religious book? Do you think salty just describes food?
Like any generation, Millennials have new words they use – often a twist on an older word. So in Millennial speak, gucci is something that is really good. ‘Those new shoes are really gucci.’ Bible is a word used to ensure the truth. ‘Do you really love broccoli? Say bible.’ Finally, salty is to be a bit bitter or agitated. ‘The new vacation policy has me salty.’
While my 16 year old son is mortified, I have tried to make an effort over the last few months to learn and understand the meaning of some new millennial words. However, it is a bit like the word Voldemort in Harry Potter – he who shall not be named. If you are over 40, while you may know these new words, you are definitely not allowed to use them.
Part 2: Test your social skills
How many reading this column are still only using Facebook as your primary social channel? As I have recently learned “Facebook is only for old people.” Since Facebook was my primary social channel (dare I admit that?), I have made a concerted effort to diversify my social media playbook.
Instagram has been growing significantly over the past few years. For business and personal use, it is now the preferred channel for connection and social engagement. It can be used socially – following people or businesses who post photos of things that match your interests. It can also be used professionally – you post photos of what your business does or an area of passion that drives your business.
One of my new year’s resolutions for 2018 was to engage more with social media. For my business, I primarily use LinkedIn and Twitter as a form of social connection. I was not using Instagram and felt I was missing out. So I spent a chunk of January reading about Instagram, hashtag creation and developing effective Insta posts.
Since my passion is branding and packaging, over the last few years in my many trips around the world working with clients, I have collected hundreds of packaging photos of real food products on retail shelves. So I decided to make my Instagram feed about my packaging photo collection and share some brand and packaging insights.
While I only have 100 followers, I have been posting daily and being smart with my hashtags and comments. I am confident my audience will steadily grow. It is hard to find real packaging shots – not just artist renditions of packaging – so I think I have found a niche.
At the end of 2017, I was feeling a bit old and out of touch. Now, having spent time researching and engaging with what is relevant and topical to a younger generation of consumers, I am definitely feeling younger and more engaged. My Instagram account has reinvigorated me and I feel like I have re-found the fountain of youth. Now, if I could just figure out how to link my Instagram account to Twitter and LinkedIn …
Lisa is a produce marketing specialist and founder of consultancy firm Fresh Produce Marketing. Lisa has over 25 years experience helping produce companies around the world extract more value and get more sales from their marketing, branding and packaging spend. Her current focus is helping growers and marketers turn plain, perfunctory brand and packaging messages into powerful and persuasive on-pack messages that drive sales, capture attention and build better relationships with customers.
You can follow Lisa on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/brandsandpacks/