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
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.
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
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.
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
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
This was followed up with the mailing of information packs and
photography to over 300 journalists.
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
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