Raised Right shows marketing at work

Raised Right shows marketing at work
- 6, 2009

Editors note: What started with the unveiling of the "Raised Right" mural at the Bar U Ranch with some 500 guests in attendance, Adfarm has over the last year implemented various stages of an extensive advertising campaign created for Alberta Beef Producers (ABP). With the campaign in full swing there's no doubt it caught the attention of many consumers and guests to our province. However, it also drew the attention of those in the industry. Some of the attention questioned both the effectiveness of the message(s) and that of the money spent by ABP.

With those concerns in mind, Adfarm and Alberta Beef Magazine agreed to put together an outline of who and what's behind the strategy. Beyond the article itself, the campaign has achieved some of the following, as submitted by Adfarm.

- Obtained over $85,000 in free editorial coverage with strong TV, radio, print and web coverage of the launch and continuing as recently as this spring in the Food for Thought magazine.

- Negotiated 12 extra buses over the 106 booked in the 5 city transit launch and many buses ran weeks longer than planned.

- Great feedback and many people called to say they loved the creative: "Riff" stockdog as "employee of the month" and the "Casual Friday" ranchers including Caitlin McLean, granddaughter of one of the original RancHer's.

- Conservative traffic measurement is over 55,000 person exposure daily.

- ABP secured the support of cattle producers such as Dean Kennedy, Brian Sutter, Colin McNiven and Brian and Holly Lane as the "models" for the rural murals; and to speak their minds telling their own story on RaisedRight.ca.

- Hits to the website RaisedRight.ca peaked during the media hype last fall. With the next media and consumer campaigns about to be launched its expected to result in even greater spikes to the website.

It's often said that today, everyone is a good producer. What separates the most successful agribusinesses from the rest is not production, but very often, marketing. "Marketing is about differentiating your product and demonstrating its unique value to your desired audience," says Nolan Berg, CEO of AdFarm, a marketing communications firm specializing in agriculture.

Over the years, the beef industry has used all kinds of approaches to market its products to consumers at home and around the world. Examples include the ground-breaking work of the Beef Information Centre and Alberta Beef Producers award-winning If It Ain't Alberta, It Ain't Beef advertising campaign.

To many, the 2008-09 Raised Right campaign produced by AdFarm for the Alberta Beef Producers is notable both for its approach and for the response it generated in the marketplace. As Berg explains, behind the campaign lies a vital strategic insight.

"In working with the Alberta Beef Producers, and knowing individual producers over the years, we at AdFarm saw how much pride and care ranchers put into what they do," says Berg. "It's about the beef, but it's not only about the beef. It's about heritage, family and stewardship of the land. That story had never been told to its full potential, and we thought it should be."

In Berg's view, the main elements of the Raised Right campaign offer valuable lessons about marketing in general.

Mix it up. The most effective marketing efforts typically use a variety of tactics to deliver a consistent message. During the course of the Raised Right campaign, the key messages were delivered via special events, unique 22-ft. painted murals, transit advertising, the website at www.raisedright.ca and other media.

"The days of reaching your target audience with one ad in a single print publication are over," says Berg. "The media world is much more fragmented today, so you need to be creatively diversified in how, when and where you deliver your message."

Make it personal. More than ever, consumers want to know where their food comes from. In many cases, they want to know or even meet the people who raise their food. While it's not practical to introduce the public to 30,000 individual Alberta beef producers, it's quite possible for the few to tell the story of the many.

"The Raised Right campaign brings people into the world of Alberta beef producers, by introducing them to a small number of families who represent the values that beef producers share," says Berg. "When you make the message personal, you give the message impact."

Build the momentum. You can have a powerful message but if it peaks and fades quickly, it will get lost. As Nolan Berg sees it, Raised Right has all the elements of a successful multi-year marketing strategy.

"The Alberta Beef Producers have put in a place a campaign that's really a blueprint for how to market beef in a world where the only constant is change," says Berg. "It only makes sense to build on this achievement and continue to tell stories that will engage the public, and thereby support sales of Alberta's world-class beef. AdFarm is proud to have played a part."

For more information, and to see the latest news on the Raised Right campaign, visit www.raisedright.ca.