Lien Sinnesael and MOQO go way back. As a marketing manager for the former Bekaert Textiles, she managed the rebranding process following the merger with DesleeClama. MOQO – or rather just Mathieu at the time – was entrusted with the rebranding, which led to a first successful union. Even when Lien sought other horizons, among others at Extremis, we kept in touch. A greatly similar vision on branding and marketing is at the base of a long-term cooperation, which grew even stronger since she became a true Potatoholic at Agristo.

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Lien Sinnesael - Head Of Marketing & Communication, Agristo

Does culture eat strategy for breakfast, Lien?

"Absolutely. People encounter your brand through multiple touchpoints, with employees being the most crucial among them. It's the individual behind the employee who fosters a connection with the (potential) customer. When your employees reflect the same culture you aim to convey with your brand, you consistently present yourself as a cohesive brand, gaining an edge. Conversely, projecting a different image from your true essence undermines credibility. This becomes even more critical in terms of employer branding."

Is an employer brand a necessity for every company?

"In my opinion, when it comes to your employer brand, it is important to look at what type of company you are. During my time at Extremis, I worked for a brand that stood independently and was well-known by the consumer audience. In such cases, there's little need to establish a separate employer brand since it will naturally align with the efforts invested in your brand. However, the situation differs at Agristo. As a B2B player and private label producer, Agristo lacked significant recognition as a brand among end consumers. Consequently, we had to heavily invest in building an employer brand to promote our job openings."

To what extent do you think a company's employer brand and corporate brand should be intertwined?

“An employer brand always originates from your corporate brand. At Agristo, we initially reviewed our brand strategy. Who is Agristo? What is our purpose, and what narrative do we wish to convey? Only after this evaluation did we extend the brand story to our various stakeholders. Regarding our employer brand, we then delved into what our brand narrative signifies to prospective applicants, which was subsequently crafted into an employee value proposition: why should someone choose Agristo as an employer? Once a brand comprehends its core values, it can shape its desired organisational culture and establish a unique identity. Therefore, it's impossible to build an employer brand without a clear understanding of your corporate brand identity. Moreover, there are numerous parallels in communication across different stakeholders, reinforcing consistency and supporting the development of a cohesive narrative."

How do you see employer branding evolving?

"Above all, it’s my hope that people will increasingly realise culture is the basis of everything. Launching campaigns without getting your company culture right makes little sense. At Agristo, we may be known for the playfulness of our campaigns, but most of the work happens internally: we do a lot of internal communication, we've set out an employee journey and are constantly looking to improve the different touchpoints with our employees. By fostering a culture where employees feel connected and engaged, they naturally become brand ambassadors, propelling the brand forward. That is the most important form of employer branding and will become increasingly crucial."

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Agristo has been intensively building its brand story. How do you ensure it resonates with its employees?

“Despite having a strong existing culture, articulating our identity and core values proved challenging. Through multiple sessions, including involvement from family members of the company, we delved deep to refine our narrative and subsequently translate it into a guiding compass. This narrative is now deeply ingrained within the company, as it's the employees who must embody our culture. Aligning with our brand strategy, we integrate all brand elements and gradually construct a cohesive brand identity. Consequently, we are weaving a highly consistent narrative, with everyone beginning to embody it in their own manner."

“Once a brand comprehends its core values, it can shape its desired organisational culture and establish a unique identity.”

Lien Sinnesael

Head of Marketing & Communication, Agristo

As a marketer, what can you do for a company producing private label?

“I prefer to refer to private label brands as challenger brands or powerhouse brands, given their significant potential to challenge larger established brands in today's market. At Agristo, we position ourselves as category experts, leveraging extensive market research to understand the global market for frozen potato-inspired products. We assist retailers in making informed decisions regarding product range, packaging, and more. Achieving this requires a deep understanding of our customers and their markets, enabling us to provide value beyond just our products. Currently, this primarily involves collaboration between our sales team and retailers. However, from a marketing perspective, we are implementing strategies such as content marketing and marketing automation to better connect the right products with the right customers. To accomplish this, it's essential to have a thorough understanding of our customers' needs and preferences, basically being the essence of marketing."

The year 2023 marked a significant milestone in history, with artificial intelligence profoundly transforming the professional landscape. How does AI improve your role as a marketer?

“I believe the tipping point is yet to be reached. Currently, we're in a phase of discovery, experimenting with various tools and ensuring we remain updated. However, I do have concerns about eventual boring uniformity. Therefore I find it crucial we continue engaging in the creative process ourselves, remaining bold and open to new ideas. For marketers, the primary advantage of AI will likely lie in automation. Emerging tools will enable us to gather data more effectively and facilitate marketing automation, presenting significant potential. Beyond that, AI will serve as a valuable assistant, providing support but never delivering the final output."

Which project stuck with you the most so far?

“Marketing is an incredibly diverse and captivating field, which is why I find this question quite challenging. During my time at Extremis, I had the opportunity to work with a well-established brand that provided a solid foundation for my marketing efforts. Their mantra was "the crazier, the better", a philosophy I resonated with as it mirrors my own habbit of not taking myself too seriously. At Agristo, the positioning exercise was quite comprehensive, extending well beyond visual elements like design, logos, and colours. Though further refinement is necessary, I'm confident we've established a strong base to transform it into a beloved brand, a source of great satisfaction for me."


Barbara Bataillie

Strategic director

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