CHESTERFIELD, MO: The US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), a new entity comprised of more than 30 agricultural organizations, hired Ketchum to work on a multiyear marketing communications initiative. The effort is supported by a budget between one and ten million dollars, said Chris Galen, SVP of communications for the National Milk Producers Federation.
“We're going to work throughout the whole food production value chain, with farmers and ranchers taking the lead to enhance consumers' trust in food production,” he said.
The alliance and promotional effort is the result of heightened consumer sensitivity to food production, largely driven by social media, as well as a new consumer interest in knowing more about from where their food comes. These perceptions are also related to organizations' concern that consumers are stigmatizing any food production practice that's not associated with local, organic, or community-supported labels.
“Our purpose is not to denigrate [those labels] but you can't feed a country, let alone the world, with that,” he said.
The team is in the early planning stages, but Galen said that the work with Ketchum will cross reputation management, consumer PR, and public affairs to build on participating trade associations' existing resources and programs, identify any gaps, and update messaging.
Though the alliance may work with Ketchum on advertising, via the agency's capabilities and Omnicom's resources, Galen explained, “I don't think this is really about advertising. I guess the bottom-line question is how much of this are we looking at in terms of paid media. Very little at this point.”
Ketchum will work with agencies within its network, including Zócalo Group and Maslansky Luntz + Partners.