Why is the fastest growing, most cost effective and easy to measure form of communications an afterthought for brands engaging with Australian agriculture?
Strategic digital communications, out-competing online, building trust, underrating the power of digital in Australian agriculture and how it can be used to support local communities were some of the hot topics discussed at the Australian Farm Institute’s Digital Farmers conference in Sydney last week.
“Communicators” was a standout session for me. Three strong, confident women from different agricultural sectors pulled apart how digital media and tech are connecting rural, regional and remote people like never before. Of course, social media platforms open endless opportunities to nearly every community around Australia, but they’re just another tool in the communications toolbox. Speakers covered a variety of ways to create stages for brands to share their messages to these sometimes overlooked people. These stages create more than just ‘transactional’ connections between brands and people, but meaningful ones – this is where two-way value is created.
At the other end of that brand relationship are farmers and rural communities, and according to Verity Morgan-Schmidt, CEO of Farmers of Climate Action, farmers are one of the most trusted messengers. Commonly spanning generations, farmers throughout Australia subscribe to an all-encompassing lifestyle which means their work and identity are intrinsically aligned. So, when it comes to digital technology and media, these farmers share the work they’re proud of which grows communities of followers around them. Brands not engaging with these user-created online groups is another commonly lost opportunity for brand endorsement.
So, given digital communications is on the rise and already commonly used in rural Australia, and the fact 3 out of every 4 farmers use digital media for information over entertainment, is your brand resonating and creating trust with your audience? The reality is that most do not and are often more nervous about embarking on a digital strategy than grasping the opportunity, which shows us there is a misunderstanding around a strategy. Every brand’s success in the future will be defined by their ability to connect, engage, influence and empower online. Creating loyal advocates for your brand that you can measure has never been so easy.