Build a brand to increase profitability, community relations
It’s 60° under clear blue skies as Al Pearson drives through his pecan orchard.
“I feel really blessed to have this as my office in the harvest season,” Pearson says. He and his son Lawton are the fourth and fifth generations of their family to raise pecans and peaches in the red clay of central Georgia, about 100 miles south of Atlanta. These days, they’re looking to increase profits by expanding their direct-to-consumer sales.
Whether you raise fruits and nuts or commodities such as corn and livestock, there can be substantial return on investment in doing what the Pearsons are doing: branding and actively marketing your operation. That means defining who you are and telling your farm’s story through things such as a logo. It also means proactively communicating your story with key audiences.
Open Communication. After all, says farm marketer Karen Pfautsch of agriculture marketing firm Osborn Barr Communications, if you don’t take steps to differentiate yourself, who will?
“Farmers have the best story to tell,” Pfautsch says. “If we don’t tell that story through a well-branded message, we are leaving ourselves short of what is possible.”
Jason Scott owns Scott Farms Co. in Carroll and Cass counties in Indiana, where he grows corn and soybeans on 2,500 acres. He says while previous generations didn’t pay much attention to their brand, it has become increasingly important.
“We don’t sell directly to customers,” he says. “But we have to sell ourselves to landowners to get more ground and keep what we’ve got.”
Scott uses social media to keep in touch with absentee landowners and recommends the practice to others.
“I’ve got a landlord who lives in Florida,” he says. “With social media, I can keep them informed about what’s going on at the farm.”
Branding can also be an effective way for farmers to build and maintain their reputation.
“As farm operations scale, whether that’s acres or cows, so does their exposure,” Pfautsch says. Her firm’s Barnstorm initiative helps farms with marketing. “Branding can be a very effective means to manage that.”
A Better Brand On A Budget
Improve your farm brand at a low cost with these tips from an ag marketing executive
Whether you want to improve community relations or increase revenue with your farm brand, Karen Pfautsch of Osborn Barr Communications recommends the following steps to ensure your public profile reflects your business goals.
1. Write down your identity. What is important to you? What are your values?
2. Develop a logo. Think about how you want to illustrate your brand.
3. Join social media. It’s cheap and an excellent platform to tell your story.
4. Be yourself. Authenticity and aspiration are two things consumers want. Farmers have both traits in abundance and should showcase them.