United Natural Foods Inc. is embarking on a journey to transform the future of food as a long-standing pioneer in the industry. We are actively searching for a senior marketing leader to oversee UNFI brand strategy and long-term innovation efforts. This VP of Brand and Customer Engagement will be a valued member of our marketing team, reporting to the Chief Marketing Officer. This leader will have the opportunity to help build a new UNFI brand strategy & innovation function aimed at longer-term strategic planning and white-space growth with both existing and new channels / customers across UNFI.

WHO WE ARE:

UNFI was founded by true pioneers in 1976. Since then, we’ve been making bold moves to impact the food industry through scale, service, and sustainability. Ongoing discovery is part of our DNA, and we’ll always be building better and pursuing what’s next from a people, product and process standpoint to continue to transform the foodscape. Better food. Better future. Our teams are a highly innovative group of talented professionals; laser-focused on making a difference and having fun while we do it.

At UNFI, we’re inspired by the unexpected. We look at things like our unmatched distribution network and full-store assortment through a new lens. From gourmet and ethnic to fresh, prepared foods to specialty cheese – we cover everything in the store and your kitchen. Energizing tomorrow, guiding a healthier road ahead.

WE BELIEVE THAT:

  • Freedom of food choice matters (now more than ever)
  • Discovering what’s next keeps us vital
  • We’re here to connect food, people and the planet
  • Scale drives our ability to positively impact lives
  • There is no limit to fresh ideas
  • Sustainability is our responsibility
  • Data-driven marketing drives results
  • Culture trumps strategy
  • Long-term decision making is critical
  • Diversity and inclusion is tantamount
  • Everyone is a storyteller

A BIT ABOUT YOU:

  • You thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment
  • You wake up in the morning with a passion to inspire others to be great
  • You possess the ability to lead leaders to develop strong teams and deliver on your strategies
  • You are a natural at connecting with others and building strong relationship networks
  • You are about substance over style, results over intentions and owning mistakes while crediting others with wins
  • You encourage and welcome debate and then alignment after the fact regardless of personal POV
  • You have a proven ability to leverage consumer insights to drive decision-making
  • You understand the importance of collaboration and partnership to enable business outcomes
  • You strive to build and deliver the “big picture” strategy
  • You possess a positive mindset and often spotlight opportunities that others may overlook

Purpose:

As VP Brand & Customer Engagement, you will lead an experienced team of marketing and communications professionals to differentiate UNFI to associates, trade partners, customers and investors. You will serve as the architect and visionary leader for the UNFI brand story and reputation in the marketplace. This opportunity is an exciting one; UNFI has newfound power and scale as a now ~$26B publicly-traded company with a choice-based strategy (delivering freedom of food choice – better food, better future) and much upside opportunity from a strategic storytelling standpoint. As a key marketing leader at UNFI, will guide a group of motivated professionals across 4 marketing functions to help collectively build out a marketing and communications strategy, plans and to serve as a center of excellence for UNFI, our region leadership teams, and our associates going forward:
Brand / Customer Engagement:
  • Lead the Sr. Manager of Brand Engagement, together with developing and bringing to life key, strategic company marketing initiatives that inspire pride in UNFI, such as operational excellence across our 55 Distribution Centers and 18K+ diversity and inclusion, ESG, storytelling for our 5,000 SKU Brands+ portfolio and UNFI as a master brand in the market.
  • Lead the conceptualization and deployment of strategic marketing objectives and tactics across key audiences/channels.
  • Re-imagine advertising for UNFI including breakthrough campaigns, design upgrades, and social/digital assets + websites.
  • Help transform customer experience in partnership with key regional leads as it relates to engagement/communications.
Creative Branding / Design:
  • Lead the Sr. Manager of Creative Branding and a team of senior designers to deliver against packaging and branding needs for Brands+ Private Label portfolio, internal UNFI corporate branding asks and across owned assets and buildings.
  • Advance our branding assets and foundation; re-evaluate brand guidelines and tools to help teach others to “fish”.
Customer / Growth Channel Marketing:
  • Lead the Sr. Director of Customer / Growth Channel Marketing and a small but mighty team dedicated to helping transform the customer experience with UNFI by focusing across key strategic growth pillars and regions.
  • Deliver tailored depth of support by partnering with the insights and market intelligence teams to deliver tailored, impactful messaging and tactics to our Customers including digital/social, capabilities decks, ppt templates and catalogs/guides, board materials, promotional and PR support.
Communications:
  • Lead the Sr. Director of Communications and a team of communications professionals to create and execute a communications strategy and plans against varied stakeholders and audiences internally and externally.
  • Develop proactive public relations strategies and tactics to build UNFI brand perception and Brands+ Private Label growth.
  • Build comms access and messaging strategy to our 18K front-line associates in our distribution centers across the country.
  • Deliver customer communications taxonomy aimed at transforming the customer experience / delivering thought-leadership.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Partner with brand management and strategy leads to firm up our UNFI brand architecture/positioning/growth ideas.
  • Strategize with the executive leadership team ways to drive impact via unified messaging across our distribution centers/ associates (current and potential), our
  • Develop master-brand campaigns and plans to build UNFI affinity via grassroots, promotional, PR, partnership, digital/social tactics to start, with longer-term 360 campaigns targeting key audiences.
  • Bring the team together as a cohesive and integrated engagement and communications function for UNFI / Brands+.
  • Continue the build-out of an annual marketing and engagement calendar including all channels, audiences, messages.
  • Assess and leverage agencies to assist with creative and communications execution across all functions at UNFI.
  • Help competitively position UNFI to our customers and create compelling branding and sales communications.
  • Oversee all 3-dimensional branding executions including office interiors, DC workspaces, tradeshow booths, etc.
  • Help deliver against annual Top 8 Brand Plans (Brands+ Portfolio) laddering to long-term Path to $2B.
  • Lead the charge around brand storytelling that drives immediate impact for a myriad of functions at UNFI (ex. workstreams): Social / Digital campaigns that help attract new Associates to our Distribution Centers, inbound marketing tactics that bring thought-leadership to our Customers, Storylines, and multi-media content for Investor Day, Branding of Distribution Centers, PR campaigns for Brands+ portfolio, Regional customer campaigns re. improved service models to support the acquisition, etc.
  • Manage the day-to-day activities of the team establishing priorities, processes, and timelines.
  • Provide training and coaching to staff to support ongoing growth and development.

Job Requirements:

Education/ Certifications: (Required & Preferred)

  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Business or Economics preferred or equivalent related experience and training
  • MBA Strongly Preferred.

Experience:

  • 15-20+ years of marketing experience, with proven experience in senior executive positions
  • Experience in food preferred – CPG, grocery, wholesale or restaurant businesses or brands
  • Proven experience turning ideas into action and working across all levels of organization (senior leaders to analysts)
  • Public-company experience strongly preferred

Other Skills/ Abilities:

  • Strong leadership ability and experience developing and leading marketing professionals.
  • Prior P&L owner and proven ability to deliver results preferred.
  • Proven track record of leading cross-functional teams to deliver plans, strategies, and comms that deliver sales/impact.
  • Experience managing creative process from brief to implementation across a myriad of campaigns/audiences.
  • Extensive communications background and experience across trades, digital/social, and B2B / B2C tactics ideally.
  • Experience developing and implementing marketing campaigns with a combination of internal/agency resources.
  • Have managed outside design and/or PR agencies to deliver compelling execution on strategic brand briefs.
  • Proven ability to leverage consumer insights to develop brand positionings and engagement campaigns/assets.
  • Ability to understand and think strategically; ability to execute plans and programs that drive profitable sales.
  • Experience integrating and balancing big-picture concerns with day-to-day activities. Evaluates and pursues initiatives, investments, and opportunities based on their fit with broader strategies.
  • Communication experience across multiple mediums including social media, web, print & video.
  • Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Promotes Teamwork and discourages “we vs. they” thinking. Works to remove barriers to collaboration.
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment across all levels throughout the organization; can thrive in a complicated, fast-paced matrix environment.
  • Champions new ideas and initiatives and creates an environment that supports innovation; leverages fresh perspectives, breakthrough ideas, and new paradigms to create value in the market.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. UNFI is an Equal Opportunity employer committed to creating an inclusive and respectful environment for all. – M/F/Veteran/Disability. VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

Additional Information

  • Additional Locations: United States of America, Rhode Island, Providence
  • Schedule: Full-time

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