IDF 2015 - Update 6

Published 23 September 15

Patty Clayton and Jon Parry from AHDB Dairy, report back from the marketing and dairy farming session at the IDF conference. 

In the afternoon the Dairy farming themed meetings had a variety of talks on the topic of risk management. Ranging from the EU’s policy on ensuring food safety, an overview of the US Margin Protection Program and the risks and benefits of using futures markets to reduce cash flow fluctuations. A central theme of the afternoon was that cost reduction is vital to reduce the risk of fluctuating farm incomes. An example of finding niche markets and adding value to milk, was given by a Lithuanian farmer. Finally, it was pointed out that the dairy industry faced risks to its competitiveness from growing environmental concerns and legislative requirements. 

During the afternoon session which focussed on marketing Dr Gregory Miller from the National Dairy Council in USA explained that a communication strategy in social media can take over 12 months to develop. The example he used was 'dairy good' which targeted the 'millennials' age group and specifically those who consume dairy but don't current actively support or engage. Sarcasm or other unexpected approaches were used to engage the audience They posted a tweet saying "is milk made from radioactive panda tears?" and generated lots of positive traffic.   

Tanja Bang Udengaard from Arla (Denmark) explained how they developed and executed a corporate social media plan. They established house rules, created a calendar and activity plan then monitored activity 24/7. Again, unexpected responses were used as a powerful way of engaging the public, using an example of a negative comment about soft cheese not spreading effectively on toast, and Arla’s quick humorous response. 

Finally, Isobel MacNeill from Dairy Australia highlighted the Legendairy campaign. She explained the three target audiences of consumers, society influencers and farmers and the wide variety of approaches they used including videos of community activity and selfies with your cows.     

All presenters agreed that Dairy farmers are "Rock stars" that the public and media want to engage with.