Staying on Brand and on Mission, with Mandy Hagadorn

Episode 139:

Mandy Hagadorn serves as marketing manager at New York Kitchen, an event and education space for all things food and beverage in New York State. She grew up on a farm near Canandaigua, New York. She graduated with a degree in anthropology from Nazareth College. After college, Mandy got involved with event planning in both her personal and professional life. At New York Kitchen, she started as an event planner and quickly moved into the marketing manager position.

She still loves organizing the Craft Beer Festival and is excited about a brand new bourbon-focused festival she’s spearheading for New York Kitchen.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Mandy Hagadorn of New York Kitchen about everything from event planning to rebranding. How do you manage a massive rebranding campaign? How do you plan an event from scratch and keep existing events fresh? We’ve got great answers and inspiring conversation in store on this episode.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to avoid mission creep when you offer a variety of programs and activities
  • The challenge and opportunity of managing a rebrand process
  • How to turn events into memorable experiences
  • Keys to a good partnership
  • Simple ways for businesses to work together to make shoulder seasons more profitable

Offering Variety Around a Unified Mission

New York Kitchen offers a lot of activity: classes, special events, and a place to dine on everything New York State has to offer. Mandy and I talk about how to create a unified mission around a wide variety of programs and activities. With everything a geographically large and diverse state has to offer, how do you stay on point? It’s a challenge Mandy enjoys tackling, and she has some good advice on avoiding mission creep.

Managing a Rebrand

NY Kitchen wasn’t always New York Kitchen. Up until about a year ago, it was called the New York Wine and Culinary Center. But as craft beverages of all kinds have expanded in recent times, “wine and culinary center” did not capture the fullness of what New York has to offer.

If you have ever been involved in rebranding a place with some history and a current fanbase you don’t want to alienate, you know it can be an exciting and stressful experience. Mandy and I talk candidly about some unexpected challenges she and her team needed to overcome in the process.

But the process made them stronger – staying connected with those loyal customers but also showing who they were to a new target demographic. She reflected, “The biggest challenge we faced here at New York Kitchen was the rebrand. But the biggest blessing that we’ve had here at New York Kitchen is the rebranding.” This is a great conversation to listen in on for ideas on what to expect and anticipate as you rebrand a known entity.


Episode Transcript

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