18 May 2020
5th European Agroforestry Conference

Nuoro, Sardinia. Call for abstracts

21 September 2020
Organic World Congress 2020

20th Organic World Congress in France, September 2020

6 December 2019
Organic research and innovation priorities

TP Organics launched its new Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda

28 November 2019
Whites Oats win award!

Research and innovation through Organic Arable pays off

21 March 2019
In adversity, what are farmers doing to be more resilient?

Opportunities, barriers and constraints in organic techniques helping to improve the sustainability of conventional farming

O3: Communicating organic: are ads, apps & raps the way forward?

Chair: Sue Fowler (OCW)

If you produce organic food and drink, you need to sell it! The advertising of organic products has become more mainstream recently and many producers are using social media to communicate with customers. This session will report on the relevance of recent trends in communication and provide guidance on how to use them. (Organised by OCW/OTB)

Session summary

The speakers took us on an exciting journey from the green, wordy and worthy adverts of the 90s where adverts were often based on loads of information, food scares and avoidance of specific chemicals etc (ie GM, pesticides, battery hens etc) to the fast dynamic and interactive campaigns of the 00’s and today that are integrated, multi-dimensional and the company directly interacts with their customer on a daily basis. The session covered the move from the high profile of the word “organic” on brands, when this was enough to sell a product, to the current position where there is a need to be organic and more. Recent branding, packaging and campaigns have moved “organic” down the profile and now stress the authenticity, tastiness, localness and premium quality as well as organic - see developments in the Duchy (Organics), Rachels (Organics) etc brands . We were told that in this digital age a whole new style of campaign is needed that is joined up and includes a wide range of both conventional and new/digital media. Conventional adverts (TV, radio, magazine/papers, billboards etc) as well as webpages, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc can all be used to great affect if they are integrated to produce a narrative of the product/company that is easily accessible to the customer, who can also contribute and generate content via social media. Yeo Valley’s campaigns of rapping farmers and their boy band the churned are a fabulous example of integration in action - using TV and linking in social media to become one of the most talked about adverts of the last 20 years.

We were encouraged not to be afraid but to embrace this new age of digital consumer generated content as personal recommendation is a great way to sell your product. To increase your profile and widen your fanbase/customerbase on Twitter, retweet and follow; on Facebook “like” and comment. This will allow you to build your network and contacts and reach a wider audience as those companies or people you are retweeting or liking are likely to have followers who share your values too. Calon Wen demonstrated this new approach in action from the design of their packaging to their new website, Twitter, Facebook and QR (Quick Reader) codes, on packaging and at point of sale, that takes you to their microsite (which links to their social media sites but also includes a video of one of their farmers). The importance of keeping things fresh and visual was stressed with the continual need for pictures etc. It was suggested that one way of ensuring your website always has something new was the integration of Facebook and Twitter feeds into websites. The development and popularity of smartphones means that these digital campaigns and information will be available to many people all the time – in the shop, on a bus, reading packaging etc.

Discussion points:

  • Do not be afraid to use the “O” word.
  • Do not be afraid of engaging with digital media to promote your products – it is cheaper and easier than you think.
  • Digitally keep things simple and integrated as this will enable websites etc to look fresh.
  • The future is all on your smartphone!

Action points:

Individual speaker presentations and abstracts

Catherine Fookes (Organic Trade Board/Why I Love Organic): How have organic adverts changed over the years? A fun look at selling organic and the Why I Love Organic campaign (PDF 1.1.MB)
I will show the evolution that organic food and drink brands have been on with their advertising, and will show organic ads through the ages. How has marketing changed over the years to reflect the growth in organics? What different tools are brands using now? I’ll look at some case studies on different brands, and show some of the trends we are seeing in marketing now including the use of Social Media. I will also cover the Why I Love Organic Campaign so far. It will be a journey from the hippy to the hip hop - the new era of ads, apps & raps!

Richard Arnold (Calon Wen): Engaging with customers and marketing your products using modern techniques - Cows that Tweet! (PDF 3.6MB)
How Calon Wen has tried to embrace social media, and how its then integrating the newer consumer reach, with its more traditional forms of marketing.

Elisabeth Winkler (Journalist & PR expert): A step by step guide and take-home tips on how to use social media (PDF 1.6MB)
What is social media? How can it help organic farmers? New web technology increases the powerful effect of word-of-mouth - the best recommendation in the world. It also enlightens the public about the benefits of organic farming. In turn, the transparency afforded by the web suits ethical, authentic businesses such as organic farming. We alight briefly on the four main social media sites to (briefly) show how. With slides.