Rebranding or initiating a brand for a locally recognized product and experience with national potential is a big step for those involved behind the scenes. Especially when the brand is farmer-owned with a local legacy but you want to step up your customer’s experience and bring them back for more.
Originally know by many names (the Cache Valley cheese store outlet, the Beaver cheese plant, DFA cheese store) the cheese plant in Beaver, Utah, has been owned by local dairy farmers and has been making “squeaky” cheese aka cheddar cheese curds for more than 60 years. Many generations have made this store their essential pit stop half way between Salt Lake City and Vegas to stretch their legs, use the restroom and grab a bag of squeaky cheese, as part of their family tradition.
In 2016 local management proposed the idea to expand their offices to better serve customers and effeciently oversee the daily creation of their locally made cheeses. After the proposal worked it’s way up to the chief operating officer and local farmer-owners for approval, an idea emerged to overhaul the customer shopping experience with more than additional square footage but a new story-based experience and brand.
The Creamery opened it’s doors to customers on November 17, 2018, featuring the Creamery Kitchen (new for customers and the brand) an ice cream counter, retail coolers and aisles and family-friendly experiential learning space.
Expanding the legacy from the Cache Valley squeaky cheese curds to The Creamery’s locally made cheddar cheese curds, takes more than an new building. A digital strategy was necessary. This is where I joined the brand story and began managing the online digital presence for The Creamery.
At the time I was the social media specialist for Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the milk marketing cooperative made up of local family farm-owners behind the local cheese plant, and was overseeing our main national accounts while working with businesses owned by the cooperative on their digial presence. From Kansas City, Kansas, I created the social media accounts and began working on brand recognition throughout our established communities.
Initially people knew of the ‘cheese store’ and the cheese curds sold there. Next was connecting people to the new brand and helping them to make the transition to enjoy the elevated experience. Some didn’t like the new big store, missing the ma and pop feel of the old store, while others loved it. Overall the goal was to introduce new families to our farmer-owned story, beyond the typical families making a bathroom stop.
By establishing consistent brand-customer-connection through our social media channels, and focusing on organic content that relates to adventurous families and road warriors in Salt Lake City and Vegas, I was able to gain more than 250 followers each month, leading to nearly 3,000 followers in the summer of 2019.
That summer I accept a promotion and relocation to join the onsite team and manage the total online digital presence and marketing for The Creamery. Since then we have expanded from soley organic content to paid promotions, influencer and brand collaborations, sponsorships, launching a new website and being the presenting sponsor for a nationally recognized sporting event.
Each year I have been able to expand and execute my strategy for the brand and grow our followers in line with my goal to drive both in store and commerce sales, while sharing the goodness of our locally made cheeses and the farmers behind the product. And each year our sales have double the sales the previous year, our farmer’s stories continue to be heard and our cheeses maintain the same high-quality (and tasty) standards beloved by past generations.
From the support of our farmer-owners and breaking ground, to record breaking sales, regional recognition and an expansion, taking the step to refreshen the customer experince was a big step but it was the right step for this side of the road cheese plant in Beaver, Utah. All which could not have been done with out the love for ‘squeaky’ cheese and the passion of our local family farm-owners.