You would think that cultivating a constructive and enriching company culture is a no-brainer, but not every company is, shall we say, enlightened—something I can attest to with past positions set amidst a seemingly endless sea of gray cubicles. A company could attempt to conform to the same old norms, but celebrating what makes it unique is far more rewarding. Renaissance Food Group (RFG) is one forward-thinking company that understands how corporate culture and marketing go hand-in-hand, and it acts on that belief by building a strong culture base and using that unique formula to influence its in-house marketing decisions. I was lucky enough to speak with Nelia Alamo, Vice President of Communications for RFG, who explained to me the value of investing in a strong company ethos.
Maggie Mead: With so many marketing strategies to choose from, why has RFG gone down the in-house marketing path, and why is it so important?
Nelia Alamo: At RFG, we prioritize in-house marketing as a vehicle for positively impacting our company culture. Supporting, promoting, and effectively communicating our core values in a transparent manner with the team fosters trust and dedication among our employees. That comes through how we go to market and differentiates our program and product. This trust and dedication is an aspect we strive for in all our operations and an area of personal development that we invest our time and energy in regularly.
MM: Why is corporate culture so important to RFG, and how does it necessitate in-house marketing?
NA: We pride ourselves on corporate culture and make a point to share and celebrate our successes with the RFG family via that in-house marketing I spoke of earlier. Highlighting the many great people who work hard every day to execute projects and drive RFG’s accomplishments is just one way we incorporate our innovative culture into daily activities. Our team is constantly looking at ways to improve in-house communication and use our marketing expertise to share the RFG story.
MM: What makes RFG’s corporate culture unique?
NA: RFG is a fun place to work! Our office is strategically designed with an open layout that promotes idea-sharing and collaboration. From the brightly painted walls to the oversized produce images that line the perimeter, we believe creating a space where people feel welcome and inspired helps drive our company mission to create really good food. While we cannot speak to others in the market, we are proud to work in an engaging and fulfilling environment.
“...we will continue to seek ways to enrich people’s lives by providing quality, convenient, and healthy products...”
– Nelia Alamo, Vice President of Communications, Renaissance Food Group
MM: What is different about the way that RFG approaches marketing?
NA: We view ourselves as unique in many respects, and our marketing strategy is no different. A large portion of our business supports private label programs, and so we view our marketing team as an extension of the sales team. We accomplish this by working to identify trends and providing sales material and guidance to ensure customer success. Being in the value-added space, our marketing team understands consumer demand for healthy, convenient products, so we strive to sell time back to our consumers by providing the freshest products available. In today’s age, the gift of time is a rare gift for many. As a company of individuals who have many families of our own, we understand that concept and value it greatly.
MM: What are the unique challenges when it comes to marketing inside the company rather than outside it?
NA: While in-house and outside marketing are equally important, we know every employee on our team is also a consumer, and at RFG, we aim to create brand ambassadors through in-house marketing. We believe that if our employees take pride in the products we create and the value we deliver, their loyalty will span beyond the walls of our office. RFG has a storied history that is part of our marketing narrative, and we know how important it is for both employees and end-consumers to be inspired by our company culture and dedication to fresh.
MM: How do the company’s core values affect your approach to production and marketing?
NA: Quality, innovation, values, and family encompass who we are. We carefully evaluate new products and marketing strategies to ensure they align with each pillar of our core values.
MM: In what ways are you embracing innovation at RFG?
NA: Innovation is one of our core values and as such, we challenge ourselves as free thinkers who strive to be first to the table with new ideas and products. At RFG, we are inspired to take risks in order to meet the ever-changing culture of eating and offer food we are proud to serve to our own families.
MM: How do you see this approach influencing RFG over the next five years?
NA: At RFG, we will continue to seek ways to enrich people’s lives by providing quality, convenient, and healthy products that effortlessly fit today’s on-the-go lifestyle. The food climate is changing not only from a flavor profile, but also in terms of how we view food as fuel, shop for food using technology, cook food at home, and make calculated food choices when eating out. Our commitment to innovation means we will evolve and adapt our processes and products to remain relevant and on-trend in this dynamic environment.
RFG’s success through cultivating a positive corporate culture and applying that approach to its marketing practices is inspiring. Not all companies take an employee-centric view—to their own detriment! Nelia’s comments paint a picture of the future of RFG, driven by a focus on a progressive corporate culture and transforming that which makes the company unique into marketing success. For companies not headed in this direction, it may be time to consider a change.