Look to the Past to Build Your Brand Position of the Future

Taking our own advice by transforming our brand messaging platform

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About six years ago, I sat at the head of a dining room table in a charming old farmhouse and facilitated a business meeting between generations. The youngers were moving home to take a leadership role in the family orchard. Anxious to make their mark, but thoughtful to maintain respect during the succession planning process, they brought me in to assess the brand position and craft a brand platform for the future. The elders seemed open to ideas but became guarded as details were discussed in depth, occasionally leaning into an “ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality.

At the center of this meeting lived a desire for change. Not a swift “out with the old, in with the new” transition, but a thoughtful path for the next generation to build on established values while bringing a fresh perspective that would draw new audiences.

Leading a meeting of this nature required both acumen and empathy. An analytical consultant might direct the discussion around industry trends to uncover sure-bet revenue streams to generate growth. But the older generation achieved a level of success with sweat, passion and intention – not spreadsheets and data reports. If their perspective was not considered or respected, the modern paradigm would be out of balance and, ultimately, unsustainable.

Ultimately, we landed on a position that the brand could demonstrate on a daily basis and everyone could rally around, with statements that led with the strengths of the past while clearly stating an experiential focus for the future.

At the heart of every Quarry Hill harvest lives a strong bond with the land and our customers. We’re passionate about cultivating quality fruit and meaningful relationships, inspiring people to enjoy fresh, wholesome tastes that spark engaging conversations and memorable experiences.

Today, the family works together sunrise to sunset (and sometimes beyond) to demonstrate this mission in the field and at point of sale. They’re constructing a beautiful barn to house their growing farmers’ market. Cultivating new relationships among personal and wholesale customers. Launching seasonal family festivals and online ventures to extend the reach of their products. And, maybe most importantly, fostering transformational experiences that bring joy (and loyalty!) to their growing customer base.

Family Image

(Picture Above: Three generations of the Gammie family, plus their furry companions)

It’s important to note that each of these actions is highly strategic, anchored by their mission. This family has not acted on a whim, chasing shiny things for short-term gains. Progress is made and sustained on a strong foundation staged by the older generation and their desire to connect good food and good people. This is the legacy that continues to be expressed, bringing slow, steady increases to the business over time.

Enter the 2020 Muse Messaging Evolution

It’s brand positioning engagements like this – one of many – that have inspired our own 2020 Muse messaging evolution. We asked ourselves: As a first-generation business, what legacy will continue to inspire us and bring value to our clients? With whom do we do our most valuable work?

This exercise led us toward an honest examination of our client accounts to determine where we’ve made the most impact for the investment. Here are the common themes that arose from our introspection:

  • We’re inspired by transformation. Our work helps clients achieve the change they want to see in their businesses and in the world. Our experience is weighted in evolutionary industries like food, wellness and learning, but we accept engagements from any industry with a desire for change.
  • We’ve proven the value of a clear, concise communication platform. Transformation requires energy and optimism. Our clients are bolstered with confident narratives that spark change, elevate performance and bring lasting growth.
  • While most marketers focus on internal and external attributes, our method aligns past, present and future perspectives, which helps support stakeholder acceptance. Without organizational buy in, change is short lived.
  • We work best with visionary thinkers. Those who understand that financial return is a natural outcome of commitment to a consistent strategy. Together, we define a metrics framework that benchmarks long-range steps to success.

These thoughts are expressed on the latest iteration of our website, where we’ve become much more definitive about who we work with and why. If you see potential solutions to your own brand challenges, I hope you’ll reach out.

I’ve since become very close to the Gammie family at Quarry Hill Orchards. I highly recommend you experience their harvest for yourself this year. I promise, you’ll be transformed.

About the Author

Jackie Bebenroth is Founder and Chief Brand Advisor of Muse. She works alongside leading brands and executives to develop strategic positioning and messaging strategies that set the stage for long-term success. Her work, from local restaurant branding to six-figure global initiatives, has flown her around the country to speak on the art of content marketing. Jackie has earned a number of accolades, most notably a SXSW Interactive finalist award, the American Advertising Federation’s 40 under 40 award and Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing Leader of the Year.

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