February 15, 2021
Meet the woman behind your favorite deli brand

Grocery stores are filled with brands, and for food products, it can be hard to stand out amongst the competition. In this type of environment, branding can play a huge role in establishing and growing market share. There’s a lot of money at stake in the food industry, and even small increases in market share can have a huge impact on a business’ bottom line. One recent analysis estimates that the U.S. deli cold cuts market is worth $46.7 billion, and that’s just the products we buy at the deli counter!

Enter marketing, brand and advertising expert, Wendy Avenius. You might not know her name, but she’s been a trusted marketing partner to Boar’s Head over the past 20 years. Wendy is the account director who helped them grow from a regional business into the premium national deli brand they are today. Throughout her career, she’s worked with brands to bring their stories to life and cut through the clutter, after all, stories are 22x more memorable than facts and figures alone.

Wendy cites her unique combination of skills: relationship building and execution, as key reasons for her success. I asked her about what she’s learned on her journey, and to share some of the wisdom she’s gained through her experience.

Tell us about your career or entrepreneurial journey so far

I started my career in advertising working in a media buying agency in NYC and after four years, I realized I wanted to explore the full service ad agency world to learn more about the creative & production process. 

As an Account Director, I managed a brand’s business with clients, as well as all internal teams, from strategy and creative, to production and finance. I was lucky enough to start working with Boar's Head almost 20 years ago. I learned a lot about the food industry, as well as their business. I transitioned to two agencies while working on the Boar’s Head business and prided myself on being a trusted partner to them. 

I recently started a new position at a marketing agency and look forward to helping businesses grow their client bases and create success stories for both my clients and my agency through creative and innovative storytelling. 

Why is storytelling important for brands and businesses?

Storytelling allows a brand to create an authentic connection with its consumers, allowing them to feel the emotional reasons they choose some brands over others. Stories resonate with consumers, make brands and companies relatable, and give them the reason to believe in the brand or company.  They can be supported by facts and figures, but having your own unique story will allow you to stand out from the sea of competitors and help build a loyal customer base.

Taking the time in the early days of building your business to uncover the "why" you do what you do, will help build that story for the future and allow consumers to connect with you on a deeper level.  I've found that most entrepreneurs have amazing stories as to why they started their businesses, so taking the time to build your own story now will pay off in the long run.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

I would tell myself to never stop learning, as it fuels growth and excitement. I also would say to not be afraid to fail, as within each failure has come valuable lessons to learn and grow from.

Wendy Avenius, Marketing, Brand & Advertising Expert

What is the most memorable marketing campaign you’ve ever seen?

One of the most memorable marketing campaigns for me, as a woman, has been Dove's campaign for “Real Beauty" which started back in 2004 and continues today. 

It features real women in real life situations versus models and make-up. The campaign aims to build body confidence and self-esteem in young girls. For me, it provides a dose of reality for how real women look and feel that doesn't exist in today's world of media and movies, which are unfortunately often who real women compare themselves to. Dove finds creative outlets to work with young girls to help create and inspire them to be themselves.

What is your personal and professional support network like?

This past year, 2020, has been a year to learn to ask for help from others. 

That is something I've never been too comfortable doing, but with COVID and isolation, I gave into it and honestly it's been a great experience. I have a few support networks which start with friends and family to keep me grounded. 

In 2020, I learned to reach out to online support networks such as Work Bigger, where I've met some really incredible and giving women. This community not only supports me professionally, but personally as well. 

Another network that I've enjoyed from a professional standpoint was EvolveMe, which brings together like-minded women who are in a career transition during their midlife phase. It's been pretty incredible to bounce ideas or obtain (or give) feedback to women from all different industries and roles, as they can often see more clearly the value you bring to the table than what's in your own head. 

For my mental fitness, I am part of a local Jazzercise group and I can honestly say that doing this fun exercise allows me to remain grounded and clear, especially through a year like 2020. It's been online for the majority of 2020 and is something I try not to miss, as it is my self-care time.

To learn more about Wendy and her work, connect with her on LinkedIn.

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