Right now, farmers across the country are holed up inside preparing tillage equipment, sprayers and planters for the spring growing season. But with the downtime of winter, it’s the perfect time for farm managers to sit back and think about another topic that will be vital to success once it’s time to get back outside in the soil: brand image.
According to owner of Innovus Agra LLC Brett Oelke, brand image will have a direct impact on one of the most important factors of running a successful farm operation: your bottom line.
“Your brand is reputational capital,” says Oelke, who doubles as an educator at the University of Minnesota. “Everything and everybody is a brand.”
As the post goes on to explain, brand image will affect both internal and external farm issues. Internally, farmers need to attract the best employees and business partners. Both will be looking at the health and strength of the brand in order to make a judgment as to whether they want to partner with a farm. External influences that need to be reached include farm landlords, customers and purchasers as well as seed customers.
When trying to convince potential employees, partners, suppliers and customers that your farm fits the image it is selling—be it local, organic or commercial— there is one battleground that you need to secure: the Web. First, people need to be able to find your farm when they search for it on Google. If your farm is not on the first page, it stands a good chance of getting lost in the shuffle. The key to keeping your brand relevant on Google is to create a robust content strategy filled with blog posts, website articles, videos, pictures and links.
For instance, you could have a running blog detailing the types of produce that you will be growing on the farm. You could talk about what goes into your soil, how you prepare the crops and the steps that you take to ensure its health. This will become much more important in the coming months when more information about the pending changes to the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) begin to emerge. You will need to convince partners and buyers that you are in compliance with updated safety standards pertaining to farm runoff and pesticide use. What better way to detail it than through multimedia on your website or blog that can be shared across social media?