With the growing season fast approaching, it isn’t too late to think about your brand and how you sell your items. When people say “brand” it is often that the first thing we think of is a logo and advertising, but there is much more to it than that. Brand development is key to the success of your business, and agriculture-based businesses are no different. Whether you sell at a small roadside stand, are a member of a farmers market, sell wholesale, or are selling items direct to consumer, your brand identity is key to customer management and keeping up sales.
What is a brand?
A brand is more than just a logo and a Facebook page. Your brand should communicate your values, and include the things you say, the quality of your product, and how you reach your customers. Your brand should encompass the emotions you want people to feel when they think about your business. Everything about your business should be included in your brand.
Building a brand:
To build a brand, think about what makes your business unique. How is your farm different than others? Are you selling something that is hard to find? Has your farm been operating for generations? Are you operating a tourism centered property that is family friendly? Is your product made with local inputs? All of these are questions you should ask yourself when working to develop your brand. If you decide your brand involves a “personal touch”, make sure that personal touch is carried through your whole business. Make sure customers feel welcome when they enter your location, call on the phone, or visit your stand. Also consider handwriting sell by or best by dates on your packaging (you may also be able to save some money by bulk ordering labels this way as well). Your brand should build on the values you have decided for your business and carry through every part of your company.
Why have a strong brand?
Having a strong brand carries many benefits to your organization. The most important is that it gives your business a personality. People tend to shop local and buy local products because they enjoy the personal touch from producers and knowing where their food comes from. Your story is important and can help create a strong brand for your operation. This also helps your brand create credibility and trust. People trust a person that is open and available to talk about the products they have, especially when selling in public spaces like farmers markets. Many of you know this firsthand, as you speak to your customers while they shop.
A brand also helps build the financial value of your organization. As your brand gains popularity, your customer base grows, and your product tends to be worth more. Take a head of lettuce for example. A head of green leaf lettuce at Walmart may cost $2, but that’s all it is, just a head of green leaf lettuce. However, your head of lettuce grown right here in Jefferson County, tended to by someone doing their best to take care of the product and the land, and sharing their knowledge and experience with the customer is so much more. That knowledge, experience, and brand are worth more to people, and building on those is valuable for business. If building a brand is something you need help with, reach out at any time, I am more than happy to lend a helping hand!
Ag. Action Eastern Panhandle: April 5 and 6, contact us for times and locations. These meetings bring together service providers and producers in a positive forum to discuss industry needs and how to meet them. Stay tuned for times and locations in both the far eastern panhandle and the Potomac highlands.
Landownership 101: April 26th at 6PM. The third installment of the Jefferson Innovators series, Landownership 101 will be presented by the Conservation Fund. Participants will learn about common landowner issues, and review deeds, tax assessment, and more. Participants will also learn about USDA funding and other resources available, and receive complementary copies of property maps, deeds, and other documents. The course will be held at the Jefferson County Public Services Building, 1948 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430. Please register online at https://bit.ly/WVLandowner101 by April 26th.
Meat Price Calculator and Profitable Meat Marketing Workshops: May 19 and May 25, 7-8:30. These workshops will go over the new Meat Price Calculator tool from Cornell University, and feature a seminar on profitible meat pricing and marketing from Cornell Extension’s Matt LeRoux. These workshops are directed towards any farms selling meat, both by the cut and in bulk. You will only need to register for 1 date, as both seminars are the same.
May 19 registration:
May 25 registration: