Recently I gave a presentation on Sustainability and very proudly used the dairy industry’s definition as the benchmark
“Our vision for sustainability is to enhance livelihoods, improve wellbeing and reduce our environmental impact so that Australia’s dairy industry is recognised worldwide as a responsible, responsive and prosperous producer of healthy food”
Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework
My presentation was followed by a presentation from one of Australia’s leading marketing gurus and when she put up this slide she challenged the dairy industry to review their definition quoting Seth Godin
The light when on and I thought how right is she. I am reminded everyday how too often the dairy industry and agriculture for that matter fails to be on the front foot. We are at least less reactive and more responsive but how many times do we take the lead.
And there is no better example than the way we market our milk.
These days thanks to twitter I don’t need to read the papers from front to back as I have a number of very astute Twitter followers who can read my mind and share with me newspaper articles they think will be of interest.
Yesterday this story from well known dairy journalist Andrew Marshall lobbed into my twitter feed Milk’s Local Brand Push. It wasn’t until I got to Mike Logan’s comments and thought at least somebody gets it
Deja Vu. It was at least twelve years ago that I sat around the table with the marketing team at Dairy Farmers head office workshopping the latest ideas in milk packaging and labelling. At the table was also the bright mind that was Ed Geldard who was sadly killed in a plane crash in 2007. Dairy Farmers was in the middle of a logo change and a total makeover of their packaging and they were keen for my input. Their research had shown that it might be a great idea to put farmers on the packaging. I remember sitting there thinking that sounds pretty logical cant believe somebody hasn’t done it before. My feedback was I suggested they go one step further and also include farmer stories and market some regional milk.
I was subsequently mortified when I saw what they had in mind. Yes they were going to put a farmer on the pack but not his face his back. After a while they took the plunge and introduced the world to their farmer Martin Hodge but no way in the world would they even think about regionally branded milk.
There were plenty of farmers at that time who had the same idea about putting farmers on the label and marketing and selling regionally branded milk. After talking to Dairy Farmers for a few years trying in vain to get them to launch a NSW south coast brand of milk a group of their gusty farmers started their own processing plant and did it themselves . Wow did Dairy Farmers come down hard on them. South Coast Milk also had the hide to put a farmer on their pack and Dairy Farmers threatened to sue them. Twelve years later its now the ‘in thing’ to put farmers on the pack, put their stories on the back and do regionally branded milk and in the main what a giant waste of time and effort it is
Due to a new role from time to time I find myself in Woolies gazing at milk fridges. Its always the same the shelves are half empty, plenty of Woolies brand everywhere and ten minutes required to find the brand I am looking for.
As you can see because of the way the shelves are tilted (see picture below) to encourage the bottle to move forward it is extremely hard to see the label.
The company as you can see below who have done it the best are very obviously A2.
Dairy companies today have to be very astute indeed with their labelling especially with the 3 litre pack size aimed at families and in a lot of cases the 2 litre pack.
You may think my post harsh but if you were a dairy company and the shelves you were selling your best selling brands from look like this.
Where would you put your brand?. I myself would definitely leave the home brand label where it is