Mustard Ice Cream & Other Tasty Learnings from BI Baltimore

Insights and wisdom were everywhere last week as Brand Innovators visited Baltimore-based McCormick & Company for a marketing summit. But we have to be honest: despite our best efforts, no single knowledge-bomb was as oddly satisfying as the mustard ice cream served to attendees.

Insights and wisdom were everywhere last week as Brand Innovators visited Baltimore-based McCormick & Company for a marketing summit. But we have to be honest: despite our best efforts, no single knowledge-bomb was as oddly satisfying as the mustard ice cream served to attendees.

As anyone familiar with the city skyline can attest, McCormick has been a Baltimore institution for a long time. (Since 1889 actually.) Our event was actually held in the brand’s gorgeous new digs in nearby Hunt Valley, MD.

You certainly know McCormick for their iconic red-capped spice containers; you may not know that they’re also the source of other well-known brands like Zatarain’s, Lawry’s, Old Bay Seasoning, Frank’s Red Hot and French’s–hence that wonderful mustard-infused ice cream.

Talk about startups and direct-to-consumer as trendy 2019 things all you want but it’s worth noting Willoughby McCormick started his business 130 years ago selling door to door. But before you go thinking McCormick is super old-timey, you should know they recently announced they are working with IBM on their first AI-enabled product platform. It uses AI to analyze decades of data and develop new flavors. Cool.

This summit was a landmark for Brand Innovators–our first in the mid-Atlantic region–and it was quickly apparent that we (and others) have underrated the amount of brand marketing talent in this area. Speakers embarked on a wide-ranging full-day program centered on how brands can add more (sorry) flavor to their marketing mix. The end game? Fueling growth by building long-term relationships with consumers

Our MC for the day was Mack McKelvey, founder & CEO of marketing firm SalientMG. The morning kicked off with a scintillating keynote from Jill Pratt (below), VP-North American Marketing Excellence at McCormick.

A morning panel discussion with McCormick, Stanley Black & Decker and the Baltimore Ravens focused on strategies for driving growth through digital transformation, automation and personalization.

Jami Crist and Jeremy Brodey from Under Armour sang the praises of their brand’s new partnership with The Rock and stressed how important it was for Under Armour to have a solid entertainment and sports marketing strategy.

Marketers from Marriott International, Choice Hotels and more revealed their tricks for having brands resonate with millennial and Gen Z consumers. All stressed the need for brands to think like digital natives and to be, how shall we say, personality-forward.

The Baltimore Ravens’ Brad Downs (VP-Marketing) and Deandra Duggans (Manager, Advertising & Branding) mesmerized the audience with a keynote on the art of storytelling, particularly the link between brands and emotions. For an NFL franchise trying to deliver the best possible fan experience, they said, this even means “embracing the darkness” on losing Sundays.

In a fireside chat, Chad Mitchell, VP-Head of Content & Digital Platforms for TD Bank, explained how the firm’s “Unexpectedly Human” campaign is more than just a tagline. It’s become a North Star not only for TD’s marketing efforts but for their company culture as well. Mitchell also spoke about his brand’s decision to in-house a portion of its creative in an effort to remain both objective & nimble.

Eli Aguilera and Brian Gelb gave a fascinating fireside chat about the privately-held, Maryland-based Total Wine. (Or “Disneyland for Adults” as it’s casually known for its wondrous in-store experience.) The chain has seen steady growth thanks to the burgeoning high-end tequila and whiskey industries and its customer-first ethic.

Baltimore, you left us impressed. We shall return. And by the way, for any marketers in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area, it’s worth noting we’ll be in Arlington this coming November 6. (Info here.)

By the way, you can make your own mustard ice cream if you like. The recipe from McCormick is right here. Hey, don’t say we never did anything nice for you.

https://share.wochit.com/5d9def15dc406100013c0955

Interested in our events?

RELATED STORIES

How AARP & Tivity Health are Protecting Seniors from Coronavirus Misinformation

Read More

Digital, Virtual, Empathy & Value-Adds Emerge as Keys for Marketers

Read More