As consumer focus becomes ever more focused on sustainability, dairy is presented with the challenge of sharing all the hard work the industry has already done in this space. During the August 4 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream, the panelists were presented with the question, “How do we get that sustainability message to the consumer?”
In total, the internationally well-respected group of dairy leaders shared three tips for getting the best of the dairy message out to consumers.
2.Farmers telling the story
3.Building a community of supporters
“We have a website – dairygood.org – where people can go to find pieces of information around the nutritional value of dairy, the sustainability efforts, and the commitments that we’ve made. I think that’s a good website to go to and get some references about values,” the National Dairy Council’s Greg Miller began his comments. As the chief science officer for the organization, he commented on the importance of utilizing these resources to speak to all types of consumers.
The best storytellers
“I’m glad to hear farmers talking about telling the story because I think it’s important that farmers help tell the story,” Miller continued. “They are the rock stars. If they’re out there talking to consumers, consumers love hearing from the dairy farmers.”
Echoing those thoughts, Dairy UK’s Judith Bryans emphasized the perspective those actively involved in dairy bring to the discussion around dairy sustainability.
“Any poll that we do shows that people want to hear about food from the people who produce the food because they can have an honest and open conversation with them,” she said. “Farmers can bring a totally different perspective to talking to the consumer than a marketing agency.”
Build a community
An equally important and effective method for sharing our dairy sustainability story is building a community of supporters who are willing to help.
“In Greg’s opening remarks, he spoke of a recent experience in which he was at a global conference,” Cornell’s Andy Novakovic noted. “A question was asked about dairy that was probably challenging to dairy, and someone who wasn’t the dairy guy told our story. Greg made a point of saying how effective that was.
“That’s the question we have to challenge ourselves with. How do we get other people to tell our story?” he asked the listeners.
While finding influencers that can help tell our story effectively is important, Bryans suggested that we need to be aware of the changing landscape of who these influencers might be.
“Sometimes we need those advocates to talk on our behalf, but I’d say to you, the world has changed. A few years ago, those advocates might have been celebrities, but they’re not now,” she explained. “Celebrities go wherever the money is so they will talk for dairy today and talk for someone else tomorrow. It has to be real people and it has to be influencers who are influencing the consumer.”
Bryans concluded her comments on the topic with this succinct thought that might serve as the best springboard in helping to recognize what dairy’s community looks like and how it can help the industry communicate with consumers.
“One thing we have found is that when you build a community, the community defends you. You don’t have to defend yourself, and that can be quite powerful,” she said.
To watch the recording of the August 4 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is now also available as an audio-only podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.
An ongoing series of events
The next broadcast of DairyLivestream will be on Wednesday, August 18 at 11 a.m. CDT. Each episode is designed for panelists to answer over 30 minutes of audience questions. If you haven’t joined a DairyLivestream broadcast yet, register here for free. Registering once registers you for all future events.