Producers can benefit from implementing a plan to promote the story of their products
Madelaine Giebler, a University of Arkansas agricultural communications student, has turned her passion for sharing the importance of agriculture into her job on her family’s dairy farm as their Marketing and Media Director.
Whether it be website updates, social media updates, or overall creative visions, Giebler has used the skills she’s learned in the classroom to maximize her position.
The modern-day consumer is quick to ask questions about where their food comes from and producers have the responsibility to properly educate and provide answers. As more articles and videos with inaccuracies about agriculture spread across newsfeeds, the role of American agriculturalists expands again to share the true stories of agriculture.
Creamy Hills Dairy, located in Neosho, Mo., proudly produces a range of dairy, beef, poultry, pork, and merchandise items. Giebler said they initially did not have a marketing or communications plan in place, but as their business continued to grow, she stepped into the role of Marketing and Media Director.
“We’re moving towards direct marketing,” said Giebler. “One way we have been able to innovate and increase profit has been to take out the middle man.”
The Gieblers provide every family member a responsibility on the family farm, including titles for her younger siblings, such as Agricultural Improvements Director and Calf and Pony Director. With Giebler’s talents and training in graphic design, media writing, and addressing agricultural issues, she has been able to put her classroom knowledge into action with her position.
Whether it be an explanation of practices, understanding of seasons for certain items, or information about products, Giebler strives to present their messaging in terms that anyone, with or without an agricultural background, can connect to. This has been beneficial for the consumer and Creamy Hills Dairy.
“People were interested in local products and wanted to know where their food was coming from and what practices were going into that,” said Giebler. “A lot of people are less than three generations removed from a family farm, yet in that generational gap, they’ve lost so much of what has happened in agricultural history.”
Giebler said her goal is to reconnect consumers with the farm. Pulling from their childhood memories, gardening hobbies, visits to local orchards, or other experiences, she wants people to step back and say, ‘Hey, I am a part of agriculture’.
The most successful strategies for the Gieblers have been presenting information with an emotional or family appeal, and visuals, whether it be pictures or an eye-catching graphic. Giebler said she has seen interest in thorough explanations of why Creamy Hills does practices a certain way and anecdotal stories from the farm.
Their website displays a collage of photos, ranging from jars of milk, to brochures and t-shirts, to family pictures in their field. Also used in social media promotion, these photos are one of many ways Giebler said Creamy Hills connects with its audience.
Giebler said Facebook has proven to be their best social media outlet for reaching consumers, as it tends to appeal to family audiences. Using this to her advantage, Giebler uses this outlet to quickly and efficiently share information, as well as direct followers to the Creamy Hills website for more details about their products and practices.
Giebler’s observation reflects the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing. Even in an era of interacting via computer and cell phone screens, people will always feel more connected to a face than to words alone.