Ocean Spray shares their tech-led transformation story

Key learnings from a CPG digital transformation

Jamie Head, Chief Digital & Technology Officer, Ocean Spray Cranberries presented a highly insightful session at PhotonWorld 2020. He discussed the importance of emotional intelligence while engaging with customers and shared actionable insights around driving successful digital transformation programs.


At PhotonWorld 2020, Photon’s senior-executive level virtual event, Jamie Head, the CDO/CTO at Ocean Spray Cranberries spoke about customer engagement and Ocean Spray’s tech-driven transformation.

Ocean Spray is an American agricultural cooperative of growers of cranberries and grapefruit. It currently has over 700 member growers across the US, Canada, and Chile. Their products include cranberry sauce, fruit juices, dried cranberries and fruit snacks, and since forming in 1930, they’ve built an iconic consumer brand.

Over the past two years, Ocean Spray implemented a comprehensive digital transformation strategy, integrating a functional marketing technology stack and moving almost 60% of their on-premise workloads to the cloud. Ocean Spray has also set up the digital foundation and rolled out processes for robust data management.

Chief Digital and Technology Officer Jamie Head shared some key learnings from Ocean Spray’s tech-led transformation at PhotonWorld 2020. He emphasized the importance of being resilient and focused when implementing a transformation plan—while keeping key stakeholders informed about the scope, roadmap, and progression. He explained why it is paramount to address tech debt and ensure it does not become a hindrance to transformation and ROI programs. He then shed some light on “human” leadership and the value of empathy and emotional intelligence while leading change in the organization. 

He also stressed the importance of building strategic partnerships to stay ahead of the curve in a fast-paced, ever-evolving digital world. 

Photon has been Ocean Spray’s digital partner for over two years. With regard to Photon’s contributions to Ocean Spray’s digital programs, Jamie Head said, “Photon has been a great partner – they are part of an ecosystem of digital players who are transforming the landscape. We need to keep learning from others to enhance the industry and move technology forward for all of us.”

Watch Jamie Head's PhotonWorld session below, where he discusses Ocean Spray’s tech-led transformation and more.

Jamie Head’s PhotonWorld session also covered Ocean Spray’s mega-viral social media moment in October 2020. Nathan Apodaca, an Idaho resident, posted a TikTok video of him drinking a jug of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice while longboarding and lip-synching to the song “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. The viral trend that followed helped Ocean Spray generate billions of impressions on their social media channels. Their followers on Instagram and other social channels quadrupled, and their Cran-Raspberry juice was sold out in locations all around the country.

To show their appreciation, Ocean Spray gifted Apodaca a new cranberry red-colored pickup truck stocked with Ocean Spray juice. “It was really about generating positivity and optimism in today’s world. Being authentic to your brand is very important,” said Jamie Head.

From a digital standpoint, he spoke about the importance of building capabilities and the technical know-how to engage with customers in real-time, in the moment, with a focus on value.

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“It is imperative for players in the CPG industry to implement forward-looking digital strategies in these turbulent times and reshape the industry for a digital world.”

Mukund Balasubramanian

CTO, Co-Founder at PHOTON

Mukund Balasubramanian