The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and North American Blueberry Council (NABC) has appointed Jennifer Sparks, a longtime marketing professional for the floral industry, as vice president, marketing and communications.
In her new role as part of the USHBC/NABC executive team, Sparks will manage various advertising agencies and marketing partners, and oversee all aspects of the marketing strategic plan, including branding, merchandising, promotions, advertising, public/media relations, market research and consumer affairs to spotlight the health benefits of blueberries and increase consumption. She will lead the implementation of brand-driven internal and external communications across a range of categories: consumer, retailer, food service and industry relations. She will work with a diverse group of industry stakeholders – growers, handlers, importers and retailers – across two continents.
Sparks brings more than two decades of association management and industry promotion experience, most notably 17 years as vice president of marketing for the Society of American Florists (SAF). There, she spearheaded the floral industry’s public education and media relations campaigns, experiential marketing initiatives, influencer programs, digital content and collateral materials. The SAF program developed strategies, messaging and key tactics inspired by consumer insights and groundbreaking university research to promote the emotional health and well-being benefits of flowers. Sparks also served as the industry spokesperson and trained others in media relations best practices.
Sparks holds a master’s degree in public relations/corporate communications with a specialty in crisis management from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Radford University in Virginia.
“We’re thrilled to have Jennifer on board to help direct our marketing and demand-driving efforts,” shared NABC/USHBC President Kasey Cronquist. “She brings a depth of experience and leadership that gives me great confidence in where our blueberry industry can go from here.”
A self-proclaimed blueberry enthusiast since childhood, Sparks says, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to join such a dynamic team to help build brand recognition, enhance thought leadership, amplify the value proposition and promote the amazing benefits of blueberries.”
Sparks shared more of her experience and thoughts on the new direction for 2021 in a recent episode of USHBC’s “The Business of Blueberries” podcast.
Source: USHBC/NABC news release