Having offered premium fruit to consumers for decades, there’s a new strategy underway for those familiar with the notable Auvil Fruit Company; an extension of its Gee Whiz brand. Utilizing this brand push as a navigation tool, Auvil’s Director of Marketing and Brand Development, Lee Arthur, recently told me that the company is looking for more than just a pleasing aesthetic, finding instead an image and mission that will resonate with its consumers.
“We’ve always been known as Auvil Fruit Company, but we want retailers and consumers to recognize our high-quality products as the Gee Whiz brand,” Lee says of the company’s shift to focus on its eye-grabbing brand name. “We’re focusing on our mission to be a family that is invested in one another to produce the best eating fruit in the world. This is our promise to our customers.”
Perhaps the most important aspect to the Gee Whiz brand is its newest tagline, one that Lee says effectively relays the quintessential nature and focus of the company, “Where Passion Meets Flavor.” The passion that is inherent in the Gee Whiz brand is one that every member of the Auvil team stands behind, and as Lee puts it, this sets the standard that the entire company doesn’t waver from. Everything the company does, from growing, to harvesting, to packing–is benchmarked against Auvil’s tagline.
“Every Auvil team member has passion behind the quality of our fruit. If fruit doesn’t have the right flavor or doesn’t meet our eating experience standards, it won’t go in our Gee Whiz box. I don’t know a lot of companies that do that,” Lee explains, pinpointing the leading technology in the company’s packing facilities as a means to help deliver the flavor and quality, which includes appearance.
To launch Gee Whiz even further into the consumer’s basket, and emphasizing that new importance of the brand, Auvil is making a big push into the realms of social media to engage its consumers online. Lee says that the company is also utilizing philanthropic endeavors, a new website, an interactive vendor portal, and a clothing line for employees, to draw attention to the brand.
“We’re getting the Gee Whiz name out to different venues, and explaining who we are. We want to be known as Gee Whiz,” Lee divulges. “To further that, we have a series of rebranding videos which are five to seven minutes long which represent who we are. At the end of the year, we’ll release a ‘When Passion Meets Flavor’ video.”
In tandem with the branding push, Auvil has launched a new pouch bag pack program, that features both a smaller 2.5 lb bag and a family size 4 lb bag of its premium apples. Consumers can now select their favorite bundles of Gee Whiz varieties in convenient stand-up bags with handles. This program also complements the company’s successful 3 lb and 5 lb Gee Whiz poly bags.
To further support its branded identity, and to up production of its quality fruit, Auvil is looking to add an additional thousand acres, or more, within the next three years.
Lee tells me that retailers can get additional sales from consumers’ love for apples out of its new cider blend, sold in old-fashioned glass Growler bottles or an assortment of clear plastic bottles. The cider’s progressive labeling and variety of sizes offers even further merchandising opportunities at the store shelf.