It was almost six months ago when the National Pork Board gave National Pork Industry Forum delegates in Kansas City a sneak preview of its new master-brand concept. Now the Pork Board is ready to roll out Real Pork, a master-brand strategy which celebrates all that is real about pork and the people who bring it to the table.
"Consumers just have a different expectation for products nowadays than they ever have before, and certainly with the introduction of other competitors in the protein space, we've been very sensitive to the fact that pork is pork," says Angie Krieger, NPB vice president of domestic marketing. "When you look at it on a label … it's one word and it's real, and so we leaned heavily into that as we started developing the master brand of real pork, and it's rooted in the authenticity of our products."
Krieger says the master-brand strategy for real pork has been under development for well over a year, as NPB recognized it needed to do something that had never been done before as an industry — celebrate pork products from farm to fork.
"I really see us leaning more heavily into sustainability and production in 2021, because consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and what happens on farms," Krieger says. "What we'll use Real Pork for is the platform to connect our We Care ethical principles, which have been so beloved by our industry for over a decade and producers are really proud of. We Care has been a very inward facing brand, so Real Pork will be the way we bring those to life for consumers."
What makes Real Pork different from prior taglines and branding? Krieger says it is not a campaign, it is a master-brand strategy.
"When you think about the great, successful campaigns that we had in the past — Be Inspired and Pork. The Other White Meat — those were taglines that were very fresh pork focused campaigns and a lot of times mostly focused on retail, and we retired both," Krieger says. "As we were thinking about the 'new us' going forward, we really want something that's going to sustain over time, so there won't be a tagline associated with Real Pork. It will just be who we are, and we'll continue to use the blue pork pic[ture] as our identity because that's very well known, well recognized by consumers."
During the pandemic, retail sales of pork have surged as consumers are cooking more at home, purchasing different products than they normally do and experimenting with new recipes. Supported by extensive consumer research, Real Pork aims to not only sustain the growth from pandemic purchasing but extend it long term by highlighting pork's advantages.
The first introduction of Real Pork to consumers comes in September, and focuses on "Pork as a Passport," which celebrates pork's position as a culturally relevant protein around the world. It encourages small adventures for weary quarantine cooks by showcasing delicious pork dishes from next door and across the globe.
Pork as a Passport will help consumers travel through their taste buds via inspiration that will be found in digital, social media, video and a new landing page on the Pork.org site. A few examples of planned activities include:
- Matching pig farmers with global chefs to connect over pork products
- Highlighting globally inspired pork recipes with modern photography
- Engaging a family psychologist to provide insight about the importance of family meals
- Sharing information on global recipes and flavors using pork through social media influencers
- Connecting U.S. chefs with international chefs to cook and together, create rich sharable videos for online and social media
- Highlighting pork in the most authentic, real and delicious way possible, through street food in a multicultural effort called Menu Urbano
Krieger says NPB also hopes Real Pork will be a bright spot for producers in such a challenging year.
"This has been an incredibly tough year and we have such wonderful momentum going with our products here domestically … something we haven't seen for years and we're going to capitalize on that, on their behalf," Krieger says. "But also, hopefully they see Real Pork as something that they can celebrate. We're going to tell the farm to fork story in a way we never have."