A Conversation with the Agency Veteran Who Is Leading Land O’Lakes to Record Growth

January 22, 2018

By Ryan Dinger

Courtesy of Land O’Lakes


Tim Scott didn't take the most traditional path to his role as CMO at Land O'Lakes. After spending years serving as president and CEO of noted agency McGarryBowen, Scott made the leap to the client side in 2015. The move, while somewhat surprising for those who worked alongside Scott on the agency side, did make some sense, as the former McGarryBowen CEO is credited with facilitating the agency's fruitful relationship with packaged good giant Kraft Foods. Nearly three years into his new role, Land O'Lakes is thriving, even reporting record earnings in 2015 and 2016 despite a depressed market.

Scott will share some of the secrets to his success at the upcoming 2018 ANA Brand Masters Conference. The ANA recently sat down with Scott to discuss some of the challenges related to his brand, his session at #ANABrand, and his advice for marketers battling against corporate inertia.


You've been with Land O'Lakes for close to three years now. What are some of the challenges you have faced with the brand and how do you tackle them?

Because Land O' Lakes is really 3 very different companies — consumer goods (with products like our namesake butter), agriculture products, and Purina — it's always difficult to align the silos and gain consistency in best practices and messaging. Because of this, we need to continue to push for higher-level oversight and our unique farm-to-fork platform.


As a brand, Land O'Lakes has been in existence now for nearly 100 years. Do you find that, with an established brand that has been around for that long, it is sometimes hard to update tactics? In what ways have you kept the brand fresh and exciting?

In terms of our namesake butter brand, which was where it all began with our cooperative of dairy farmers, it has been a great process in refreshing our brand. Our business is growing via all of our new work and better targeting in a relatively flat category.


Your presentation at #ANABrand will deal with how the brand has helped humans progress. Can you tell us a little bit about how you've done that?

Our purpose is Feeding Human Progress. It is our way of capturing our farm-to-fork model, which covers feeding; the importance of our employees and the global population, which is the human side; and the import of technology, which we view as progress. We have enacted this in many ways and it has become the rallying cry for the organization.


What advice would you give to other brand marketers who may be having trouble updating an established and entrenched brand?

I think it's essential to first find the right partners who understand what it is that needs changing, not what they can do to win awards. Once you find them, you need to then let them bring you great ideas.


Get more advice and insights from Tim Scott at the 2018 ANA Brand Masters Conference, March 26–28, in Dana Point, Calif.

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