CAMPAIGNS: A PC recipe for a richer beef stock - Hi-Tech PR

Graham Technology, specialises in customer management and call centre technology. Its founder and chief executive, Iain Graham, is an award-winning breeder of Highland Cattle.

Graham Technology, specialises in customer management and call

centre technology. Its founder and chief executive, Iain Graham, is an

award-winning breeder of Highland Cattle.



Recently, to help farmers meet legal requirements for registering

births, deaths and movements of cattle, Graham’s company has developed

’Elite Traceability’.



This phone and web-based system eliminates the time, expense and

fallibility of paper-based communications and allows farmers to transmit

relevant information from a PC. For potential cattle buyers, the system

can also provide an animal’s pedigree, and health history.



In April, Graham asked its retained agency Lewis PR, to create a launch

campaign showing how this new technology would benefit the farming

industry and help lift the ban on British beef exports.



Objectives



To encourage farmers to sign up to the cattle registration scheme by

raising the personal profile of Iain Graham as both a farmer and a

business innovator.



In addition, by raising awareness of Elite Traceability, with the

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), the aim was to

educate the various links in the food-supply chain and ultimately

restore customer confidence in British beef.



Tactics



The launch centred on a highly-targeted campaign of national, regional,

business and trade media. The story had different implications for each

sector, so arguments had to be tailored to gain maximum impact. Farming

titles were approached with the emphasis on how the new technology could

ease the workload of cattle farmers. For the IT press, the focus shifted

to the product, its success in call centres and its adaptability to the

internet.



To attract regional journalists, the success of Graham as a local

family-based company was accented, while national journalists were

targeted with the system’s potential to help overcome the BSE ban. Lewis

compiled press lists for all these areas and implemented an extensive

phone campaign.



This was followed up with the mailing of information packs and

photography to over 300 journalists.



Results



Press interest in the campaign ranged from the Financial Times and the

Glasgow Herald to the Farming Echo, Call Centre Europe and PC Week.



Interviews with Iain Graham appeared on local radio, Sky TV’s Global

Village technology programme and the Times’ Interface supplement

recently featured a full-page profile.



To date, several thousand cattle have been registered on Graham’s Elite

Traceabillity scheme, either via the web site or by phone to the cattle

call centre.



Verdict



There is still a lot of work to do before the European Union lifts its

ban on British beef. However, this campaign has created discussion of

the issues and put forward the solutions technology could provide.

Farmers seem to be responding well to the initiative and Graham is

currently in discussion with various bodies including MAFF and several

cattle breeders associations.



But, with no direct access to consumers, and no solid response from the

Government, the campaign has yet to raise public confidence in British

beef. Mark Charlton, correspondent on the Farming Echo says: ’This

scheme gives farmers a back drop to present the evidence that their beef

is safe, but there is not yet enough information telling consumers the

background of the meat they buy.’



Client: Graham Technology

Campaign: Launching ’Elite Traceability’, a cattle registration service

PR Team: Lewis PR

Timescale: ongoing from April 1998

Budget: Not available



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