Marianne Gillette

Japanese poet Ryunosuke Satoro said, “Individually, we are a drop. Together, we are an ocean.” This quote truly resonates with me as I think about how our individual strengths combine to create a cohesive community—“Brand IFT”—that defines the endless possibilities we produce to make a difference in the lives of people everywhere.

Whether you work in industry, academia, or government, your organization’s brand recognition is critical to advancing its overall mission. For IFT, there are many diverse elements that contribute to the unique composition of our brand. These include experiential elements such as IFT’s scientific products and science-based publications, educational offerings, and events like the Annual Meeting & Food Expo®. There are also less tangible elements such as the camaraderie, collaboration, and collegiality we experience by being part of the IFT community.

At a recent IFT Board of Directors meeting, a leading public relations agency, Ketchum, delivered a workshop on the topic “Building and Guarding the Brand that ‘Feeds the Minds that Feed the World.’” We took a close look at our collective role in growing and shaping our organization into one that is relevant and indispensible to both our profession and to the world. We discussed the IFT brand and the position that it holds in a member’s mind. And we agreed that on behalf of our members, we must remain true to our mission and vision of “advancing the science of food to ensure a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere.”

The strongest and most relevant brands share at least two characteristics: They are proactively cultivated based on a brand strategy, and they provide a consistent experience to their constituents across all touch-points. In other words, strong brands don’t just happen. After participating in the Ketchum workshop with my IFT colleagues, it was evident to me that the branding philosophies and concepts I’ve learned to embrace throughout my career could be transferred quite readily into the branding strategy we need to explore within our own IFT community.

Part of this strategy involves all of us, as members of IFT, clearly and consistently conveying “who we are” and “what we stand for” as an organization. Ultimately, we are an organization dedicated to feeding the minds that feed the world, comprised of both volunteer members and staff devoted to supporting the outstanding efforts of our members. As part of the IFT community, every one of us needs to embrace the IFT brand and, essentially, “be the brand.”

Another facet of an organization’s brand is the collection of visual and verbal elements. A team of volunteer leaders and staff (the Membership Experiences Task Force) worked together with an outside communications firm for many months to develop new visual and verbal elements for IFT. Our new logo, shown on this page, is accompanied by our new tagline, “Feeding the Minds that Feed the World.” The new logo and tagline’s debut last month coincided with the debut of IFT’s newly revamped Web site, You will also notice IFT’s new look has been applied to all of its many communication vehicles, such as its peer-reviewed journals, continuing education programs, Food Technology magazine, and more.

I’m excited about “Brand IFT”—a brand that clearly reflects our IFT community and is defined by the significant work of thousands in the food science and technology profession. Together, we will create the future of food, and continue to make a significant difference in the lives of people around the world. Together, we are truly an ocean.

by Marianne Gillette,
IFT President, 2009–2010 
Vice President of Technical Competencies and Platforms, McCormick & Co. Inc., Hunt Valley, Md.
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