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Agrimarketing : May 2008
May 2008 ¦ AgriMarketing 29 We’ll be keeping in mind that last year many growers bought inputs on the low end and sold commodities on the high end — and that this year diesel and fertilizer input costs are both at record highs. We know undi- versified livestock producers are struggling through a tough patch. We also know the lifestyle mar- ket more closely resembles consumer markets. In a market driven by emo- tion, people need to feel confident before they make big purchases such as compact tractors and utilities. Whatever the economics of the industry, the bar for the agency busi- ness will continue to rise. We’ll need to do more, faster and with less. We have an ad running in AgriMarketing this year with a head- line that says “Cut the Bull.” I was a bit squeamish when our creative team first presented the concept for the campaign. But in truth, it captures the real- ity of our industry. A lot has changed in the past decade, namely the eco- nomics of our industry and its clients. Gone are $3 million budgets for a single herbicide brand. And gone are a number of great and suc- cessful agencies. Smarter, faster thinking is required. I tell our people and clients that we are truly right-sized for the bulk of today’s agribusiness. A leaner structure built upon technology and the skills of a seasoned staff. Of our 22 full-time employees, our average level of experience is more than 13 years. While that’s no guarantee of suc- cess, we like to think it helps. CHARLESTON ORWIG HARTLAND, WI www.codemand.com by Mike Opperman, VP Plain and simple, our focus and pas- sion is agriculture. That’s why we prefer to be fully immersed in the industry, rather than an idle partici- pant. This approach to agriculture is why we continue to invest in keeping pace with agricultural issues by attending industry events — even if our clients aren’t involved — where ag leaders offer outlooks and obser- vations on where the industry is heading. It’s then that we are able to give our food industry clients true strategic counsel by helping them plan their next three moves while the competition is still figuring out which side of the chessboard to play on. This insight tells us that ag has changed greatly since most of us in the agency were growing up on dairy, beef and row- crop farms. But ethanol has dras- tically acceler- ated this change, and the impact will be felt around the globe as countries swap food for fuel. It also tells us that consumers can change production practices on the farm just as quickly as they reach past a traditional pack- age of chicken for an antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed, free-range organic chicken breast. Activist groups have a way of shaping perceptions and, ulti- mately, buying habits, which leads us to believe that if activists have their way, it won’t matter how expensive corn gets. Our core businesses revolve around marketing communications and issues management. With nearly 90% of our clients involved in each facet of the food industry, this insight helps us provide unique strategic counsel to our marketing clients, because in many cases we are, or have been, their audience. For our issues clients, closely monitoring issues relating to the food industry helps us not only keep track of potential threats, but provides our clients with clear counsel to proac- tively manage issues that will directly impact their corporate repu- tation. Our insights are reflected in our blog at www.fieldassignment.com. We use it to write about what we see or hear, and use our experience and expertise to comment on what we believe it all means. Ag and the rural lifestyle are deeply in us and our blog reflects this. And it shows that we don’t just take news or USDA reports at face value — we look for the real meaning. Then we use that insight to help advance our clients’ businesses. COLLE+MCVOY MINNEAPOLIS, MN www.collemcvoy.com by Phil Johnson, COO We’ve never been more optimistic about the future of agriculture. Our involvement with agribusiness has long been a hallmark of Colle+McVoy and will continue to be a primary focus in the future, even as the defini- tion of agriculture evolves to include biotechnology, targeted food traits, rural lifestylers and more. Today’s economic realities are a double-edged sword for American agribusiness. The drive toward renewable fuels has changed the face of both grain and livestock produc- tion and brought attention to agricul- ture by media, legislators and con- sumers. Increasing energy and food prices are affecting day-to-day deci- sions around the globe and will sharpen the focus on how food is produced. While newfound opportunities to add value to grain have brought wel- come relief to many in agribusiness, these trends could drive a wedge between livestock and grain produc- ers. We must continue to work together as an industry to efficiently meet the food, feed, fiber and fuel needs of all con- sumers. The commu- nications needs of farm- ers/ranchers, retailers and oth- ers who serve agribusiness are increasingly complex, mirror- ing those of general consumers. Just like other consumers, ag profession- als demand access to online product information and ordering, around- the-clock technical and customer ser- vice, customizable product offerings and individualized consulting. Our agency’s integrated market- ing communications approach has proven invaluable in reaching ag audiences. Colle+McVoy teams are developing even more effective ways to work across disciplines, applying expertise in many areas to help (more on page 32 Opperman Johnson
May 2008 Supplement
Canadian Agribusiness Employer Guide 08