GO Veggie! recently named Whitney Velasco-Aznar to its newly created role of vice president of marketing, where she will direct all marketing and communications. A global marketer with more than 20 years of experience, she has held positions at prominent food companies, including General Mills, Nestlé, Mars and Hormel Foods.
Most recently, Velasco-Aznar served as the vice president of marketing for Beyond Meat, where she helped expand retail distribution and launch new products like Beef-Free Crumbles from the refrigerated into the frozen case.
She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
PBN: How do you plan to use digital media (social media, mobile, Web) to define GO Veggie!’s brand and attract new audiences?
VELASCO-AZNAR: Digital media allows for more directed, more strategic and more intimate interaction with both existing consumers and new product adopters on their preferred social channels. Traditional marketing can be very effective in raising awareness of a brand and driving trial. Digital media enhances the experience by offering timely information and creating a sense of community among consumers. Digital simply provides ways to provide more customized experiences depending on dietary needs and health choices. Traditional media provides brand awareness and attributes, whereas digital media helps deliver the brand promise.
PBN: In your opinion, what’s the best way for a brand/company to strike the right balance between authenticity and self-promotion?
VELASCO-AZNAR: Be true to your brand. Consumers won’t return to you, or refer you to someone else, if you don’t deliver on your brand promise. In our case, our brand is about welcoming people back to cheesy bliss. All of our communication – whether a magazine ad, a Facebook post or even a trade-show booth – should feel as deliciously blissful as the product itself. If you focus solely on promoting your brand without creating other forms of value, you’re not only missing the entire point of marketing, you’ll start missing followers, too.
PBN: The marketing industry is evolving so fast. How do you stay on top of the changes and eliminate fads from staples of marketing development?
VELASCO-AZNAR: Fads are really just expressions of greater trends. If you don’t tap into the deeper consumer truth, you’re only tapping into a moment – not creating an experience. Trends indicate where buying habits are going. When it comes to food, consumers look for products that combine great taste with health and convenience. Nowadays, consumers take a more holistic approach to defining health. For food marketers, creating a health reputation now requires delivering against a combination of important elements such as the avoidance of undesirable substances and positive add-ins. At GO Veggie! we offer a range of cheese-free products that cater [to those who are] health conscious, lactose-intolerant [and] making heart-smart choices. •