Commentary

We Are Who We Said We Are: Authenticity In Commodity Businesses

Hot on the heels of a panel discussion that involved animal nutrition, the Brand Insider Summit on Monday heard from ANOTHER marketer of animal nutrition, that being Land O' Lakes, which is more than a butter company and Brandon Miller, Digital Marketing Manager, set us all straight on that.

"We're not gonna win on price," he said, "so we focus on marketing ourselves and our history. One of the biggest parts of our business is helping farmers get as much yield on their crops. To differentiate ourselves is to tell people about that. The biggest point is we're a farmer-owned cooperative since 1921 -- before it was cool."


Some of the videos the brand produced speak to that differentiation. One is about women's role in farming. One in three farms is owned by women and women do most of the financial work in all farms. The music video flipped the script on Old MacDonald with a "she-i-o," which was well received.

Another video is about the animal nutrition business done by creating a Facebook Group called Find Your Old Friend. It lets people who have sold their horses to find them, creating reunions between previous owners and current horse. Having owned and sold a horse myself, well, the tears flowed.

Land O' Lakes is also addressing people nutrition as well. The challenge, Miller said, is not a production issue but a supply chain and logistics issue. "We are in a unique position to lead." The company's Winfield Testing tests crops all over the country under different conditions to see how to improve yield as world population grows.

Last year, the brand had a huge presence at SXSW in Austin, bringing together leaders and panelists with a mini-VC round. "It's another way for us to get our story out," he said.

Brand awareness after media coverage of that tent pole event went from 40% to 90%.

But, Miller said, there are a lot of things that are out of our control, citing tariffs with China and the Midwest floods this year. "So if you happen to know a farmer, give him a hug. It's important to tell their story. We're not going to win on price but we might win if the consumer knows a butter purchase is going directly into the pocket of farmer." 

 

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