In February, Carl Hoverson, the newly elected chairman of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, expressed his desire for a more unified branding of Red River Valley red potatoes. The new image will start appearing this fall in trade show displays, pamphlets, print ads and websites, just to name a few.
Mr. Hoverson felt the old triangle-shaped logo used by fresh shippers was dated and did little to represent the product, so he suggested that a new logo for Red River Valley potatoes should be created to better represent Red River Valley potatoes as a unique and wholesome product.
Ted Kreis, marketing and communications director at NPPGA, got busy looking for ways to get this accomplished. Mr. Kreis was aware that the many in-house labels being used by NPPGA's 13 fresh shippers fragmented the market into many little-known brands. One way to get stronger brand identity would be to create a five-pound poly bag design that all of NPPGA's fresh shippers could use to market under one "Red River Valley Potatoes" brand.
Mr. Kreis, along with Valley Bag & Supply Co. of East Grand Forks, MN, worked with a Minneapolis marketing firm to develop a new logo that could also be used as a brand on a new bag design. After three months of ideas and concepts going back and forth, a new logo and brand that is simple yet incorporates many ideas finally emerged.
The new design graphically represents the Red River Valley by splitting two potato fields on flat terrain. One side represents North Dakota and the other Minnesota. The colors used are also symbolic. The dirt between the potato rows is black to symbolize the rich black loam soil in the Red River Valley. The words "Red River Valley Potatoes" are a majestic red color to represent the color of the Red River Valley's famous red potatoes. And finally the phrase "Nature's Flavor" was added to convey the flavor of red potatoes grown with natural rainfall rather than irrigation.
Mr. Kreis conceded that getting the new bags into circulation would be a slow process. Large inventories of bags need to be used up, and circulation of the new bag will be limited by the heavy use of private labels in today's market.
Because of these limitations, it was quickly decided to expand the new logo and brand as a total replacement for the old triangle shaped logo. This will allow shippers to use it as a supplemental logo on all bags and cartons. A new Kwik-Lok tag has also been designed that will allow shippers to place the logo on existing bags.
"We are very pleased that this group of wash plant operators saw the need to build on Carl's idea," Mr. Kreis said in a press release. "There was nearly unanimous support for the project, but there were some challenges along the way. We are really excited to roll this out."