Rooted In Tomorrow

All Together Better: Marketing and the cooperative

February 11, 2019 Land O'Lakes, Inc. Season 1 Episode 3
Rooted In Tomorrow
All Together Better: Marketing and the cooperative
Show Notes Transcript

Marketing was one of our founding principles when we began in 1921. Our new Dairy Foods campaign kicked off this fall; All Together Better with the rewriting of one of the most iconic songs in farming - Old McDonald. From E-I-O to She-I-O we wanted to pay tribute to the nearly one million women in farming according to the USDA. 

Everyone contributes to what makes Land O’Lakes a leader in food and agriculture. We believe that by working together we’re all better because of it.

Something Greater has changed its name to Rooted In Tomorrow. The podcast name change is effective April 2022. Subscribers will not need to resubscribe. Push alerts will remain for those who have subscribed through Apple Podcasts. Search for, "Rooted In Tomorrow" by Land O'Lakes, Inc. on all your podcast platforms. 

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Speaker 1:

Think about the work that you do. What makes it meaningful? Is it the results or is it the process or is it the promise of something greater? Being a cooperative means we're in this together to build a sustainable future and feed human progress. This is something greater. A podcast by Lando Lakes Inc. I'm kim olsen. Follow along wIth us as we bring you the stories and voices that impact our shared community. We're digging into the role of marKeting atlanta lakes while discussing our new dairy foods campaign. AltOgether, better to kick it off, we rewrote the iconic farmington old macdonald. You've heard the catchy chorus, eei, eei. Oh, well, we hired country music singer maggie rose to write us a new version and titled it. She io take a listen. She had a dream in the ada strong.

Speaker 2:

Look. What she does is what he taught us

Speaker 1:

in the latest census From the usta. Thirty one percent of farmers in the us are women. In other words, there are almost a million women farmers out there. We rewrote the song for the women rewriting the rules of farming. Joining us today is chris roberts. President of dairy foods and executive vice president land lakes. Hi chris. Hi kim. How are you doing? Great. how about you? Wonderful day. Good, good, good to see you here. I'm also joined by senior vice president and chief marketing officer, tim scott. Hey tim. How are you? I'm good. Kim. How are you? Doing great. Doing great. Um, so we're here today to talk a little bit about dairy foods and I'm in a little more bust right way about our marketing. Um, we let. Let's kind of start with dairy foods overall. Christian, I'll take this to you during foods is really trying to position itself for the future in the next generation. And we've done well so far. Um, what are we doing now to move the business into the next phase?

Speaker 3:

We really are trying to focus a number of our energies on the marketplace, both from a consumer and a customer perspective and that has really manifested his ways in itself and in many ways, um, from a customer perspective. We're working with customers like hershey as they innovate to really excite their consumers for the future. So it can be any number of things that are helping them come up with new products that there'll be launching in the near future. We're been very fortunate to also be co innovating with many of our customers, in this case, cisco, um, walmart and kroger and I'm here, uh, tim and I kind of share in that probably more key than I in that we've been able to create real excitement around the innovation platforms that we have and leveraging and leaning into the resources that tim has. We're able to really articulate both pictorially as well as with product samples, what we believe the future can be together with, with, with our customers. So that's really been a tremendous when you add that to the dairy accelerator program where we're trying to elevate young entrepreneurs and bring them into the dairy environment as well as an elevate the whole industry as we try to provide momentum and support and visibility to the wonderful products that are there. Plus our own launches of squeezable butter. Um, as we continue to scale up Vermont creamery, um, and then also bringing to the marketplace our affilia spreadable fettuccine businesses. We own a number of different continuums now are working both to, uh, do A better job of the things we always did, um, create new pathways for growth, not only for ourselves but for the industry, um, and also work more collaboratively with our customers so that we can create, help them create jointly, create new products for the future. So we're pretty excited about, uh, about all those options.

Speaker 1:

So I, I, the way you're talking about it seems to me a lot of this is about the next generation I. And I'd like to hear from both of you on that. Why would you say status quo really isn't good enough at this point?

Speaker 3:

I think we have a unique opportunity and challenge a rolled into one in that opportunity is we have a very strong group of core customers that love our brands and are looking for new and unique experiences that they can have with our brands. The reality, however, if you think about the demographics of our country will have more multicultural, multilingual households and we have a number, a younger demographic that's coming behind that is doesn't know dairy in the way that the boomers and gen x ers do, but they're very open because of what we stand for in terms of the transparency farm to fork, our values and those types of things. So the challenge and the opportunity for us is really to be balanced such that we are providing great consumption opportunities for our boomer generation or core customers, if you will, but we're also finding great ways to engage and tice and invite new consumers in the younger generation into our product portfolios by way of experiences, by way of connections to certain properties by way of how we reach them, um, in social media and in very various different places. And then through innovation

Speaker 1:

and a very interesting challenge from a marketing perspective, tim, reaching both of consumers. I would think that you do that in a, in two different ways or similar ways. How does that work?

Speaker 4:

Well, I think it, you know, a couple of things that chris said that really sparked for me, you know, we, we are out of the days of three flavors, can sort of cover the gamut of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. You are now into permutations, fusion, all kinds of things that people are expecting from their food. And that applies certainly to the younger demographics, but also to the boomers who through social are seeing interesting new flavors. They're on pinterest. They're seeing interesting new things brought to life that are very doable and to be able to do at home. So we've got to be able to address both sides of the spectrum perhaps with different types of offerings, but also things that can cover the gamut of all into two. Chris's other point about the diversity of our cultures. You know, people are becoming more attuned to different tastes and different flavors and things from other places that can really spark the things we are doing so that it can be puddings with fig flavors and things that are maybe more mediterranean or honey or graham or things that are more interesting than strictly vanilla. Um, but we are able to reach them with very different ways and very different systematized approaches to get the messages across that or as we get more and more finely tuned into one on one marketing that we can tell the individual story that each one of those consumers' needs.

Speaker 1:

Marketing is a founding principle of our business when those farmers created our cooperative nearly 100 years ago was to solve some specific problems, things like butters, high transport costs, it's erratic quality and an even bigger reason. The lack of marketing plan to deliver sales when we launched altogether better and she io, we wanted our members to be a part of that. That's why the music video, we created features only members in their families, not a single actor.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

Um, this year we kicked off a multiyear marketing initiative called altogether better. Um, let's, let's start, tim, maybe with you on this one, iF you could just talk me through a little bit. Um, the concept behind altogether better.

Speaker 4:

Well, you know, it, it has struck me since I started at land o'lakes and I think many others felt the same way that, you know, we hadn't really talked a lot about our, our background and our history of, of, of being a co op and one of the first sort of shared economies, if you will, that all the models like facebook and airbnb followed and we were 100 years before our time and when you think of it that way, and I think the idea that all of these great people, all of these minds continue to come together to bring wonderful products to the marketplace, uh, with a whole lot of passion thinking I'm ingenuity that it led to the idea of we're all in this together and altogether better and it has, it has helped create a platform on which dairy foods can, can live for a long time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I can, I can see that. And it certainly is the head of the business. Chris, that was something that I would expect you are looking for as you looked at the new campaign.

Speaker 3:

Yes. I think it really epitomize. I think it really epitomized, um, the values, the core values of our system and enterprise. I think it really, uh, is distinct to, in that we would come to the marketplace with that message. The thing that I've also found that's really unique about it is it's also been a great internal rallying cry as we begin to work together and try to engage our teams to be collaborative and transparent. I'm with the one focus of altogether better creating demand for our members milk then, um, I think that is something that people can really spark to. There's a pride in it and it's a uniquely difference take both visually and audibly when you listen to the spot on what that really means. And I think that's one of the things that I'm really pleased about in that I think it cuts through the clutter of many of the other creative that is thematically the same, but it doEsn't carry the same message and the depth of the message is not there.

Speaker 4:

Yes. It's also interesting building on something chris said, you know, it's, it's, uh, thE altogether better is a big platform and if you think of it like a quilt, you've got this overarching thread of altogether better, but it allows us to tell stories where we have a collection of people like we do in the anthem campaign, but it also allows us, which we will be doing in january and february, looking at individual farmers telling taste messages, but it all holds together as a bigger quilt, if you will, of, of telling our rich and wonderful story.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And we, we really bring that farmer Owned perspective front. We've, we've talked about that quite a bit. A lot of folks talk about being farm to fork. We're really farmer to fork and a lot of ways. Um, so this fall we had a little x, um, project called she io and it had a very distinctive sound and very distinctive video, uh, and, and really exciting and kind of different. I'd, I'd love to hear a little bit more about that. Uh, timmy, you want to just start out and tell us a little bit about gio?

Speaker 4:

Well, it's, it's an interesting story because it really started with women's day and women's equality day and we wanted to do something around that, given that a third of our, our members are women and we know that women on the farms, both in dairy as well as row crops, they are absolutely critical to the practice of agriculture and practice of dairy farming. And, um, I think celebrating that, letting the world know, um, the importance of women in these particular businesses is absolutely critical. So it sort of came from that notion of wanting to celebrate woMen for women's equality day.

Speaker 1:

And I, I believe some of our members were even featured in the, uh, in the video, right? Chris,

Speaker 3:

that was a wonderful thing that, um, all of the cast, I guess, uh, uh, we're all members. And again, it goes back to this a tapestry of quilt that tim was referencing that all day it's going to take all of us to make it better and that we want to celebrate and embrace all comers. And that is the beauty of and also the simplicity of what our enterprise is really all about. In that it does start with the simplicity of a family, um, multigenerational working together to bring two households every day, something simple and unique but still nutritious and uh, we believe wonderful from a product perspective. And so that's a part that I think for us is also very uplifting and exciting.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. A really intereSting campaign. I think tim, if I'm correct, we had It. I know a lot of interesting places, including the voice. Is that right?

Speaker 4:

Did you know we got such so much talk value behind it from the press when we launched it a little more quietly that there was sort of this yearning for more and more and more and the voice had contacted us to feature a 92nd version of it, which then allowed some of their judges like blake to be tweeting out about it and doing all kinds of things. And So part of it. So it allowed us to reach, you know, millions and millions of people in an unexpected way. And with a younger audience, that's important because we wanted to tell a story about ourselves and being owned by farmers, um, that people did not know and they certAinly didn't know about the women farmers being such a big part of what we do here at this company and an America behind farming.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And it, you know, as we've aLl been following and media and reading in the headlines, it's a tough time for, uh, for farmers out there, we have a unique view to that because our members are looking for ways to market their milk. And that of course goes back to her, our cooperates. But there's no denying there's an oversupply of a, of milk out there at this time. Um, I think that's probably an interesting challenge. Uh, in tWo thousand 16 we created a base program on our milk sheds here at land o'lakes across the country and that was a, a, a more proactive move to help manage a, what we saw coming in, what we're now seeing as, as oversupply. Chris, do you want to talk just a little bit to that, why we did that? And, um, what we're seeing,

Speaker 3:

you know, I think that you're right in that what the primary thing that we're seeing across the agricultural supply chain, it's real pressure on it in our case, more specifically, one of the outcomes is that the milk supply is a beyond a current demand levels. And so what the base product of the base program has really done is add structure and discipline so that we can really make sUre that we're maximizing the value of the members production. and it also gives us a sense for a more accurate picture of our supply. And Then it allows us to create a two way dialogue with our members. And it also allows us fluctuate flexibility when the market's flux, flux of fluctuate,

Speaker 1:

flexibility when they fluctuate.

Speaker 3:

So I think this goes back to, again, I'm a desire to want to collaborate, to be transparent, to connect, but by the same token, be nimble. We all know that these situations goes, go in cycles. And, um, while there are certain obvious, um, marketplace dynamics that we'll be looking at, we think this structure allows us to be nimble so that we can respond quickly to customer or marketplace opportunities as they come forward.

Speaker 1:

I think the other thing that we can talk just a little bit about as long as I've got you both here is, um, just the, uh, the other things we're trying to, to do for our members. and I know you both are out. I'm talking with our members a routinely. I'm tim, I know you've been out on the farm. It, it'd be interesting to me jUSt to get your perspective on what you think, uh, the cooperative is doing to help the members most.

Speaker 3:

Um, I think, um, the line maintaining a line of communication. I'm in the midst of all this disruption. Um, we still have really strong performance and I think it's important. I'm in the midst of what seems to be a really challenging time for us to also be able to thoughtfully acknowledged that, you know, we're, we're, we're making this through a bumpy time, but we're doing it in a way together that I think is, I'm a very positive. I also think we're continuing to look to do different things. For example, we have a broker system, uh, that provides, you know, selling and merchandising assistance for the dairy foods products in store. and our broker came forward when we talked about our membership and we were looking for new and creative ways to provide support and they came forward and basically sent us, um, they have, uh, uh, an outline of different, um, opportunities that they might have the for them. They're having a real challenge. I'm keeping and getting a merchandisers for in store and also people who are actually doing sampling in the retail outlets and so together they quickly put together a list and with our member relations team and come to find out that I think like 80 percent of our membership was with is within 20 miles of a retail outlet. And so they now are going to be actively recruiting and opening themselves up to our members so that here we go again, altogether better. HoW can we help one another? How can we continue to ensure that we're positioned correctly to satisfy the consumer need? How can we provide something extra for those of our members who might actually want to take advantage of that for any number of reasons. And so I think part of it is the system. I think part of it is the processes that we have in place that allow us to communicate, allow us to be nimble, that allows to kind of be, um, really thoughtful as it relates to both where we are, but more importantly, where we're going and what dynamics will get us there. And then I think it's also, um, the openness and the flexibility to look for new and different ways to take care of and look out for one another as well.

Speaker 1:

The podcast is called something greater. And uh, that phrase has really been resonating with, uh, with us as we've done these taping. Um, I'd be interested in asking both of you what that phrase something greater means to you and for me as something greater, I think about it in terms of the world being much bigger than myself. I think of, you know, my, my little tile of a mosaic when I stand back at 10,000 feet and realize that I'm part of a big, big kaleidoscope of things, but my part while important is, is part of a much bigger story and a much bigger message in a much bigger place in the world that we can all participate,

Speaker 2:

I think

Speaker 3:

to something greater for me is to, is the fact that I'm able to be engaged in and involved with people like tim as we walk life's Journey and we try to use the transformative power of milk, um, in a way that makes us altogether better. if I can tie those two things together.

Speaker 1:

Fantastic. I'd say that something greater. Thank you both. I appreciate you taking the time and, uh, we will, uh, talk with you again soon. thanks cam. Thanks for joining us. The land o'lakes something greater podcast is delivered monthly via our member connections newsletter or on our website. Just go to [inaudible] dot Com. Then click on members at the top right. We're also available wheRever you find your podcasts.