Want to Build Your Farm Brand? Plot How You Can Get TV Exposure
The epitome of launching a national brand in prime time TV would be taking on the Budweiser Clydesdales for a slot during the Super Bowl. At first glance, that kind of exposure for farm marketers seems out of reach. But with a little creativity, and sometimes just plain luck, outside publicity that helps you build a brand might not be that far out of reach.
Here are a couple of examples of specialty crop marketers who hit the publicity jackpot.
The Irresistible Lure of a Treehouse Tasting Room
After catching the end of an episode of Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters,” who built a treehouse tasting room in the middle of an orchard, I was ready to pack my bags for a visit. I not only wanted to try their cider, but I also wanted to find out how the TV appearance came about.
The Hudson Valley apple belt, northwest from New York City, is about an hour’s ride from my place, depending on traffic. What better venue could there be than to taste hard cider while overlooking apple orchards with a commanding view of the Catskill Mountains?
That’s exactly where you can find Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House, a picture-perfect place with millions of potential customers within an easy drive of a great [agri]tourism destination.
The story behind Angry Orchard is intriguing. According to the website (AngryOrchard.com), the business “launched its hard ciders nationally in the spring of 2012” after 20 years of experimenting with cider making to expand a successful craft beer brewer’s product line. They purchased a share of a historic, family-operated orchard, that has been farmed since the 1700s, and created a tourist destination.
Knowing the marketing success of the brewery founder, I suspect it contacted “Treehouse Masters,” hoping to make the tasting room an integral part of their plans for building this brand’s recognition. Just imagine looking out over those “gnarled, angry branches … that produce the best apples for cider making.” It’s all part of the story and the treehouse build just adds to the intrigue.
I’ll Take Farm Marketing for $2,000, Alex
While contemplating when to work in a visit to the Hudson Valley, my wife called out: “Hey, ‘Jeopardy!’ has a whole category on sustainable farming at Bowery Farming!”
How perfect is that? We’ll be passing Bowery Farming on the way to Angry Orchard and can stop for a visit there, too.
While the media relations department at Angry Orchard didn’t reveal whether they had reached out to “Treehouse Masters,” Bowery Farming’s marketing contact admitted that getting “a whole category on “Jeopardy!” was not something they had envisioned in their marketing strategy.
“We were thrilled when “Jeopardy!” reached out to us about creating a category that would showcase footage from Bowery’s Farming,” says Irving Fain, CEO and Co-Founder of Bowery Farming.
“Being a part of the show gave us an opportunity to expose a broad, national audience to the hydroponic growing process and Bowery’s technology-focused approach. … We’re always looking at ways to raise national awareness of our brand and the indoor-farming category, and couldn’t have asked for a better partner in “Jeopardy!”
It’s important to keep your story out there, as this didn’t happen entirely randomly. “Jeopardy!” learned about Bowery through other media coverage of the farm, and a quick look at the press page at BoweryFarming.com/press reveals they’ve had a lot of success working with the media, from Fortune and Forbes, to NBC and CNN, and even National Geographic.
Branded produce sales are growing while generic, unbranded sales are declining, according to a recent post by Mackenzie Wortham for DMA Solutions. Brands increase customer loyalty, and that leads to more sales. I saw a book that looks promising on the DMA site: Building a Blueprint for Your Brand.
Unfortunately, the Angry Orchard treehouse was closed for the winter when I caught the “Treehouse Masters” show. However, Bowery produces 365 days a year, and I know at least one season when apple trees won’t look so angry. I’m planning my visits when the orchards are in full bloom!