Farm Food Facts

Why Marketing Agriculture Is So important

November 05, 2020 USFRA Episode 96
Farm Food Facts
Why Marketing Agriculture Is So important
Chapters
Farm Food Facts
Why Marketing Agriculture Is So important
Nov 05, 2020 Episode 96
USFRA

There is so much to celebrate with all of the new partnerships, confrontational collaboration (thanks to Polly Ruhland at USB for that term) and focus on the next 30 harvests to create climate-smart, prosperous agriculture in the US.

As marketers deeply invested in food and agriculture, we believe there is even more energy and opportunity to be gained by leveraging the untapped power of consumer engagement on these initiatives. There are large, eager customer and consumer audiences ready to recognize these efforts and celebrate the brands that invest in sustainable supply chain innovations in support of farmers and ranchers … and the larger environment.

Bader Rutter is one of USFRA’s important partners to achieve these goals and help continue to spread the work from Honor the Harvest.

Bader Rutter is the country’s largest agricultural marketing agency. And through nearly 50 years of steady growth, they’ve dreamed big, planned meticulously, and fiercely championed their clients’ success.  

Joining us today on Farm Food Facts is JoDee George and Dennis Ryan who lead the Bader Rutter food and beverage practice which is focused on creating consumer and customer brand value from supply chain sustainability investments.

JoDee has worked for 20 years worked across food and agriculture marketing and strategy for America’s largest food and agriculture companies. She brings this diverse knowledge and passion to creating a sustainable, innovative path for food and agriculture producers, brands and consumers.  

Dennis has spent the better part of his extensive career telling stories for food and beverage brands from every major company in the space. After building an enviable TV-centric CPG advertising career in Chicago, he moved to Minneapolis to learn digital, social, and one-to-one marketing.  

Show Notes Transcript

There is so much to celebrate with all of the new partnerships, confrontational collaboration (thanks to Polly Ruhland at USB for that term) and focus on the next 30 harvests to create climate-smart, prosperous agriculture in the US.

As marketers deeply invested in food and agriculture, we believe there is even more energy and opportunity to be gained by leveraging the untapped power of consumer engagement on these initiatives. There are large, eager customer and consumer audiences ready to recognize these efforts and celebrate the brands that invest in sustainable supply chain innovations in support of farmers and ranchers … and the larger environment.

Bader Rutter is one of USFRA’s important partners to achieve these goals and help continue to spread the work from Honor the Harvest.

Bader Rutter is the country’s largest agricultural marketing agency. And through nearly 50 years of steady growth, they’ve dreamed big, planned meticulously, and fiercely championed their clients’ success.  

Joining us today on Farm Food Facts is JoDee George and Dennis Ryan who lead the Bader Rutter food and beverage practice which is focused on creating consumer and customer brand value from supply chain sustainability investments.

JoDee has worked for 20 years worked across food and agriculture marketing and strategy for America’s largest food and agriculture companies. She brings this diverse knowledge and passion to creating a sustainable, innovative path for food and agriculture producers, brands and consumers.  

Dennis has spent the better part of his extensive career telling stories for food and beverage brands from every major company in the space. After building an enviable TV-centric CPG advertising career in Chicago, he moved to Minneapolis to learn digital, social, and one-to-one marketing.  

Phil:

US farmers and ranchers in action would like to recognize the sponsors of the 2020 Honor the Harvest Forum. Welcome to Farm Food Facts for Thursday, November 5th, 2020. I'm your host, Phil Lempert. There's so much to celebrate with all the new partnerships, the confrontational collaboration, thanks to Polly Ruhland at USB for that term and focused on the next 30 harvest to create climate smart, prosperous agriculture here in the United States, as marketers deeply invested in food and agriculture, we believe that there's even more energy and more opportunity to be gained by leveraging the untapped power of consumer engagement and on these initiatives in particular, at this time in particular, it's critical. There are large eager customer and consumer audiences that are ready to recognize these efforts and celebrate the brands that invest in sustainable supply chain innovations and support a farmers and ranchers and most important. The larger environment Bader Rutter is one of USFRA's important partners to achieve these goals and help continue to spread the work. And the words from Honor the Harvest.

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Bader Rutter is the country's largest agriculture marketing agency. And through nearly 50 years of steady growth, they've dreamed really big. They've planned really big and meticulously and fiercely championed their client's success. Joining us today on farm food facts is JoDee George and Dennis Ryan who lead theBader Rutter food and beverage practice, which is focused on creating consumer and customer brand value from supply chains , sustainability investments. JoDee has worked for 20 years across all food and agriculture marketing and strategies for America's largest food and agriculture companies. She brings her diverse knowledge and passion to creating a very sustainable, innovative path for food and agriculture producers or brands, and most important for consumers. Dennis has spent the better part of his extensive career telling stories for food and beverage brands from every major company in the space after building an enviable TV centric, CPG advertising career in Chicago, he moved to Minneapolis to learn digital social and one-to-one marketing skills. JoDee let's get started. What are food and ag companies focused on? And what are the questions that they should be asking themselves right now?

JoDee:

Well, I think food and agriculture companies, Phil are focused on a lot of the right things, you know, for the first time in my 20 year career, across food and agriculture, we have so much strong alignment between what consumers are asking for and actions, the supply chain, and these companies are taking around sustainability. Now what's missing is in the middle and it's about adopting a marketer's mind to link those two ends of the spectrum with the right creative and investment that will really create value. So the questions that that food and agriculture companies should be asking themselves, are, am I investing in the right way? Do I have really, u m, the right investment when it comes to sustainability and corporate communications, o r are they partnering with brand m ap marketers who are creating value for consumers? That is by far the biggest question that we think food and agriculture companies should be asking today.

Phil:

So if I asked you the same question a year ago, pre pandemic, would you have the same answer for me?

JoDee:

Oh, that's a good question. I think, you know, I'd have a fairly similar answer. However, we think that the opportunities to create this value are much more aligned than they were a year ago. So I think that a year ago it would have been a little bit farther out. Maybe some of these partnerships around sustainability wouldn't have been created, consumers would have been looking and learning about the supply chain and be so invested. So in a way there's no better time than now. And that's one, one thing, ca use w e have to give to COVID, u h , o n a very short list. Okay.

Phil:

Right . I would, I would agree with that. Um, you know, consumers are asking more questions than ever before. Um , about the supply chain, they , they see these horrible news stories , um, everything from dumping of milk to, to, you know , uh, crops rotting in the fields and so on , um, is, is today's consumer being driven by fear? Are they being driven by interests ? Uh, what's what's driving this new found desire to learn more about our food supply?

Dennis:

Well, I wouldn't say it's fearful. I mean, obviously that can be part of it. And we all know in the great online search for clicks fear can be an activator and get a lot of engagement. I think with the really drawn by our values and you know, in a commoditized world, when you have three choices that are not really demonstrably that different, which one stands for which one aligns with you better. And I think particularly in the younger generations awareness of climate issues of worker issues of just human health, that that is why I think this is now the time w here we're pretty good inflection point for them being informed o f these choices and having drive consumer decisions. So Dennis, you're one of the ultimate food storytellers. You often tell the industry that if they've checked their brands and backstories, u h , t he better be sure of it, u h , w hat does a brand backstory really mean and how should they go ba ck? Well, it 's, u h , y ou know, we all have this, this, our little sm artphones w ith us. It's always at the end of our hand, right there as a repository of information about anything I want to look up. So really it's almost a matter of corporate hygiene now, what is the online backstory of your company of your brand? And if there are things you really have to address them. And so I just think with a more informed populace , more empowered to be informed, they have to be aware and just basically do the maintenance of looking at the stories out there. Are they optimized ? Are they, are they positive? And if they're positive, are they optimized because the more people share the story for you, you get to really take advantage of the power of recommendation. And that's what we're really seeing. When you see feel these consumer movements behind this is wonderful. We're investing in better ingredients, better sourcing, better, better farming methods. These stories get shared and they do help make a difference, not just to me, but to my 10 friends and their 10 friends and so on. So what happens if you know, I go online and I'm looking at a story that's not true or not good. I mean, we've all heard about, you know, the restaurant reviews that come out that destroy your restaurant, that, you know, the chef looks at and says, Hey, that's not my restaurant.

Phil:

What can a company do if they find negative information, whether it's true or not true to , to change that back.

Dennis:

You know, that is increasingly a problem. A nd frankly, it's c reated a whole new industry. U m, people like crisp do out are out there searching the social channels, looking for this misinformation or kind of a lot of times it is intentional. And that needs to be found, identified and addressed immediately. People are aware of the fact that this can be m anipulated. And if you're quick enough to react, if you're there with a strong, powerful rebuttal, people will give you credit. The problem is when you're not aware of it and it lies in just kind of festers and it becomes spreadable and t here's no doubt certain salacious things, or I always knew i t kind of, u h, emotional place b ecause we're an emotional, we're emotional creatures. And so we're inclined to Dudgeon and the high disregard, and we're seeing that. And unfortunately it is not, a re not one of our better angels.

JoDee:

One of the brands very positive online backstories do is raise up those new partnerships. The , that they're taking Too often, those facts, the information are buried in press releases are buried on websites. And so one of the things that we really advise is to bring a marketer's mindset to your sustainability a nd your corporate communication activities. That's what can unlock a little bit more of that creative storytelling of the investment. So a lot of these examples already e xist. It's just bringing a different lens to them and bringing them out of the shadows in some ways. So to be louder there, u m, to be ready when there are some of those challenges.

Phil:

So you mentioned press releases. Um , one of, probably one of the biggest bugaboos that I've got, an d y o u're t a lking a bout where information is buried, you know, in the men. And th ey'll p robably be been rewritten, you know, by five different executives. So when they come out, nobody really cares about them. Um , I want to give you an example on, ha ve b oth of you, u h , g ive me your opinion of this. Uh , j ust last week we saw a new partnership between Tik TOK and Postmates and what, u h , w hat they've done and it's being tested right here in Los Angeles, just ti ll N ovember 22nd. Um , w hat Postmates has done is they've taken the, those tick ta lk, u m , v ideos that have been the most popular, u h , s ome have reached 3 billion views and they wo rk w ith local restaurants, u m , t o offer those recipes, to offer those products. Um , s u mmers s imple coffees, some are, u h , b ento boxes an d, and so on.

Speaker 2:

Um, I look at that and I look at , uh, people like Walmart is investing heavily , uh , in the U S uh, global , uh , tick tock . Um, and, and they talk about how there's a new e-commerce, that's going to come this, this blending, if you would, from having a situation like this, where I can just go on Postmates , uh , by the way, it's free delivery. Um, and I can order this $7 and 50 cent, you know , coffee. Um, what do you guys think about that idea? Is it a great idea? Is it just PR, is it, you know, the future , uh , Jody , why don't you start us off? And then Dennis, your opinion,

JoDee:

It is absolutely the future. So there's a couple of things that jump out at me from that example, too , as a one is online to offline. So being able to find those trends and really look and utilize Tik TOK, u m, no matter what anybody thinks about t ech t ack, but really be able to see what is trending and then be able to partner with those restaurants and bring it back to that audience. That's already engaged. The other thing that points to our new types of partnerships. So right now, u h, one of the most successful that we're doing with a couple clients at b eta ru dder i s using LinkedIn lives and Facebook lives to not just share information, but to use e- com t o complete purchases. So something that used to be shared as entertainment, u m , j ust you'd see scrolling through either your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook profile, not only are people are stopping, but we're making it much easier for them to click through and not just gain additional information, but to complete that purchase. So marketing has become with those unique partnerships and online and offline, much more of a sales driver than it ever has been before. And we're go ing t o k eep seeing that as we do more online, as we buy more online, and there's more of these unique partnerships and offering th at s ocial channels are happening,

Phil:

Dennis.

Dennis:

Yeah, I would build on that. I'd say actually, if you look at the tech talks been advertising and television lately, and they position themselves as an education platform, think about that. They're saying, Hey, you want to learn to make this amazing cupcake or, Hey, do you want to see how I did this eye makeup? Basically, what's interesting . You watch social media moving from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram are very visual based , uh , medium and now to tick tock, which is visual, but all video. It's interesting. It's almost like a redo a vine, but it's got a little more flexibility buying . Might've been a little before its time and a little too isolated where it's tech doc is broad and appealing. You can publish right away. You can get feedback right away as a guy who used to make Superbowl ads for Frito lay . And it was great. And we finally reach a hundred million people. The days of aggregated eyeballs were kind of gone away, but Tik TOK is really good at getting interesting, interested eyeballs here . This might be a little thing about how you handle a pork shoulder and do a long barbecue smoke. A boy that barbecue fans will all be watching it all be sharing it and we'll find the perfect audience. And if kooks mustard decides to affiliate with that good for them. And what we're really seeing is a breakdown of mass marketing to really more targeted, very niche. That's really enabled by massive platforms with very unique audiences.

Phil:

So I'm going to ask you both the same question. How should farmers and ranchers be using Tech-Talk Dennis ? That's a great question. I think what they have to do is figure out what audience they want to reach, and what's their message.

Dennis:

It's the classic advertising thing. But if we want people to know that you're doing , uh , that you're paying your workers in a different way, having them tell their story and then finding either making it policy people kind of relevant to policy people, or as Jody and I keep believing regular consumer consumer audiences, consumers might not sit there and go, gee, I really wonder how they're treating the workforce and that they are getting a paying a living wage, but you know what, when they hear that they be motivated, if they, if that's a value that's shared. So if you can find an audience in a value on where that intersects with what you're offering or the innovations you're creating, or the science you're putting for the technology, that's really, if you can align any of those sustainability initiatives with values, it doesn't matter because the audience will almost find itself. I will send it to my friend, Phil who will know exactly the 10 people he wants to send it to. And that's really the power of this kind of viral. It's a terrible word. But if I was really the only way to talk about it, kind of audience building.

Phil:

So, you know, I think your , your example of employees, how farmers and ranchers treat employees is a perfect example. Here's what we're seeing more and more of that. Um, Jodi , what do you think farmers and ranchers should be doing with tik tok?

JoDee:

I think anytime we can have a social tool that helps us increase transparency to sustainability actions, employee actions , um, how farmers are helping , um, solve hunger challenges in their local communities , um, challenges that they come up against in a daily basis, all of this doesn't need to be sunny. This is real life. That's why these social channels exist. Uh, maybe not Instagram, let's put a caveat on that. Um, but when you think about creating that transparency for consumers, in addition to using those social channels and understanding your audience, one of the things that I've probably changed my perspective on over the past 20 years is don't just share your story, understand who you're sharing it for and what matters to them and what value you're creating. I know so many farmers that in the early days of, u m, you know, N CPA and pork board and all of those programs worked so hard and shared, s pent so many hours of their time sharing their story, but it wasn't necessarily in a way of how we're using this to build brand value, to build industry value. So making sure there are those coordinated efforts as well. So we're using those farmers and ranchers time, valuable time really effectively.

Phil:

So let's talk money, JoDee, we have a looming recession , uh , dramatically increased costs because of the pandemic. How can the food and ag world deal with all these needs that we're talking about as it relates to communication and frankly grow their businesses?

JoDee:

Yeah, We'd like to, in, in the sense of confrontational collaboration , um, really challenged food and agriculture companies to link their sustainability and their supply chain and their corporate communication efforts and the people who lead those with their brand teams, we feel that those value creating activities, those new partnerships, the actual facts are being created in the corporate, in sustainability, in supply chain, marketers are looking for how they create values and brand and flavor extensions. Aren't going to cut it anymore. And they're hard to produce when you have a plant. What happened when I was in quarantine. So if we can link those teams, attach them at the hips and have them think about the stories they want to tell in the proof and what consumers are looking for. That's how you get more bang for your buck these days and creating a brand. And you know what I'd be saying that even if we weren't looking at some potentially challenging economic times, because that just is good business and good marketing in this day and age.

Phil:

Well, for all of our, the three of our careers, you know, the , the rule has been for a brand manager line extension line, extension line extension. You know , if I've got one product that's great, you know, macaroni and cheese, I'm going to come up with 30 versions of macaroni and cheese, or, you know, I've g otten olive oil, t hat's successful, I'm going to have 18 different flavored olive oils. U m, so what you're really saying is, u h, it's time to get smart a nd, and really understand, you know, consumers understand the trends and work together that it's not just, u m, as a brand manager, you know, i f, if I don't s crew up, I don't get fired, u m, a nd, and really get, get out there and do something that's interesting. U h, Dennis, tell us about the Intel distillery a nd Friday by noon email and why it's so important.

Dennis:

You hit it. Exactly. So with the Intel , this story, what we've done is for seven years, every day, seven days a week, what we do is we follow the 1500 most influential voices in food. And that can be everyone from who's working on policy to academia, to chefs and celebrity thinks we've got like 10 different sectors we cover. And we find the most influential voices because what we find is when people are writing about these leaders are writing about topics, the rest of the , he catches up very quickly. They're just the tip of the spear of where the conversations are going. Then we take those conversations, we've got a hundred categories and God knows how many subcategories we just file them away. And we've been doing this essentially, you've got two databases b uilt up over seven or eight years, and you can see these trends. We just released our Q3 report. You know , where we just look at what's been happening over the quarter. And obviously, as you can imagine, the pandemic has been playing a huge role. You know, when you talk about , um, you know, how can brand managers get smart? It's like, aren't the audience already is. They are so informed. And I think now when we're making these wonderful partnerships, while we know that Nabisco decided to partner with farmers who are doing this, or , you know, in , in trying to grow in this way, we've all watched how Annie's organics, you know , bought by general mills so they could learn more about organics and how they can expand and move from 80,000 acres to how do you get 80 million acres? You know, these kinds of really large changes that have to happen. Consumers are interested in it. They do find it relevant . And while you might be advertising on a general mills basis, it still comes down to Wheaties in Yoplait, And all their other myriad of brands. And so we just think that's a way that we can move from kind of corporate physicians and brand positions and bring them together and do something new that really does fit all the USF are pushing for a decade now, just really, where should we be going? And what are the responsible and long-term sustainable moves to make.

JoDee:

It is overwhelming sometimes because it's just went through thousands of data points and what he was sharing. So the Friday by noon email breaks that down every week into very, as, as we say, snackable content , um, into an email that you just, you end your week with it and just do a quick scroll of what are the things that came up in seven days of analysis that we've done for that week. What do you really need to know that might drive your business? And it's an easy email to sign up, or you just go to Baderrutter . com/4forces, just to sign up for that distillation of all those data points we're looking at.

Phil:

And that was exactly the question I was going to ask you is how does the farmer or rancher get the Friday by noon email , uh , Jody , Dennis, thanks so much for joining us today. Thank you for all your hard work for USF RA and for all the food industry and all of ag. And thank you for being on farm food back really appreciate us . Farmers and ranchers in action would like to recognize the sponsors of the 2020 honor. The harvest form . Our movement sponsors United soybean board and national pork board. Our presenting sponsors, Wells Fargo and cargo . Our gold sponsors, their dairy West Nebraska soybean board, McDonald's nutrient and the foundation for food and agriculture research. Our bronze sponsors, Purina and Ernst and young, our youth sponsor Rowan and our donor sponsor Tyson. For more information on all things, hu Nacro culture, please visit [email protected] Also be sure to look out for us on Facebook, us farmers, and ranchers and on Twitter at USF RA until next time.