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A Family Affair

December 12, 2016

It can be tough going when your family food business—best-known for providing great behind-the-scenes food to customers like Uncle Sam’s armed forces—moves into the high end of the retail prepared food space. But at Planet Propaganda, we’re always ready to take on a new client's challenge, especially when it involves smoked beef, pork, chicken, and fish.

Old Hickory Smokehouse is a family business based in Lewisburg, Tennessee, run by Wayne Wolf and his three sons. The family is involved in every aspect of daily operations, marketing, and business development, with help from a tight-knit circle of long-time employees and other capable collaborators.

The Wolfs made their mark by efficiently providing all manner of comestibles in big quantities. Having the prowess of a reliable large-volume operation makes the Wolf team exceptional partners for folks like the U.S. Government and other white label customers, but it posed a particular challenge as they looked to move into the elevated prepared foods retail space—a happy dilemma created when the eldest son followed his passion for low-and-slow smoked meat and barbecue. After building a high-volume BBQ operation, including custom-made smokers, the Wolfs were ready to produce a whole lot of delicious food. But how could a company known for quality bulk foods launch a sub-brand aimed at discerning grocery aisle shoppers? That's where Planet came in.

We put Old Hickory through our Simplify process to figure out what separated their packaged goods in a crowded field. Once we understood the integrity of the preparation and ingredients (and identified pillars of the brand), we put our energy into brand architecture to create a defensible space for the family’s elevated efforts. The “Wolf Family” brand became a way to distinguish their line of high-quality retail prepared foods from other product lines and services of the larger Old Hickory Smokehouse company.

From there, we worked with the Wolfs to craft a rallying cry that summed up their commitment to family, customers, and quality process and product. That Manifesto helped us arrive at “Fare in Good Faith” as a Brand Truth—one that reflected the Wolf’s deep-rooted instinct to do right by consumers with delicious, honest food.

With all strategic cylinders firing, we dove into a brand identity system. Our designers worked to offer logo treatments that were modern but still reflected the handcrafted attention that goes into every batch of Wolf Family product. Next we integrated the new logo into a series of packaging (with photography by Stephanie Mullins and food styling by Teresa Blackburn), bringing the Wolf Family brand to life on both retail shelves and in the minds of consumers.

Thanks to the strength and integrity of the extended Wolf family, an exceptional product, and an integrated strategic and creative process, Wolf Family smoked meats are now available in one thousand Target stores nationwide, and we’d advise that you give them a try next time you’ve got a hankering.

Posted in Design, Print, Strategy