AHDB has hit back at claims from a leading marketer that the farming industry is ‘always on the back foot’ when it comes to promotion.
Poran Malani, who has worked with global brands such as Coca Cola and Vodafone, said from his perspective as an outsider looking in, he did ‘not see a lot of evidence’ of the communication campaigns run by levy boards – though did acknowledge his experience on the matter was limited.
Speaking during a press conference at the Oxford Farming Conference last week, he said: “I do not see a lot on the issues which I think people need to be concerned with being addressed.
“I see farming and the communication of pretty much every sector as always on the back foot.”
But Rebecca Miah, head of marketing (crops and dairy) at AHDB, told Farmers Guardian promotion by levy boards was not as visible as marketing from commercial organisations because it runs under different brands.
“Working behind the scenes for our levy payers, AHDB is very much on the front foot of reputation work, speaking not to the vocal but small group of antagonists, but to the 90 per cent plus of the population which still enjoy red meat and dairy,” she said.
“This is done in a targeted way via PR, social media, digital and use of advanced technology such as artificial intelligence. Farmers are unlikely to be the target audience, so their perception can be we are not doing anything. This could not be further from the truth.
“Kantar research states while branded campaigns account for 5 per cent of total sales, AHDB campaigns return 8.3 per cent.
“From 2018 and 2019, AHDB campaigns reduced the number of people planning to switch into dairy alternatives by 11 per cent.”
Ms Miah went on to call on the industry to pull together to amplify positive messages rather than ‘throwing rocks’ at each other.