Oink Outings — Building Trust From Farm to Fork
Weber Shandwick and Minnesota Pork Board and Minnesota Pork Producers Association
Summary: 2013 Silver Anvil Award Winner — Community Relations — Associations / Nonprofit Organizations
This summer, Minnesota Pork (MN Pork) continued to take action in the Twin Cities — building relationships and fostering trust with those in the state who tend to be far removed from today’s farms. The pilot campaign was launched in 2011, and expanded in 2012. This was a proactive approach to reach out to consumers and build confidence in pork production. The campaign included in-depth relationship building through farm tours and grassroots outreach with farmers at booth events. The result: a 50–57 percent increase in trust, and 5,000 pounds of pork donated to help feed area families in need.
"Community Relations" includes programs that aim to improve relations with, or seek to win the support or cooperation of, people or organizations in communities in which the sponsoring organization has an interest, need or opportunity.
What happens when you bring suburbanites to a pig farm? The same thing that happens when you bring pig farmers to the suburbs … people talk. And that is exactly what MN Pork and Weber Shandwick had in mind when developing the Oink Outings campaign: Create environments that encourage conversations between today’s pig farmers and consumers in order to build trust. The result? At least a 50 percent increase in trust and 5,000 pounds of pork to help feed families in need.
In September 2010, MN Pork worked with other local agriculture organizations to conduct a public opinion survey that explored perceptions about the industry, treatment of animals, messages on both sides of the issues and those who are likely to engage in a discussion on these issues. While these findings were very positive, the survey also showed that those who support a “pro-regulation” agenda fit an activist profile. The opposition’s base and those inclined to be persuaded included people who tend to be more actively engaged in their communities and political process. Therefore, MN Pork was starting from a strong position, but the opposition’s base could be quickly elevated with a loud voice.
Increase trust and consumer confidence in Minnesota pig farmers with tour participants by 30 percent.
Foster relationships within suburban communities by helping to feed at least 4,000 local families in need.
Research shows 60 percent of the population could go either way on the issue of farm animal regulation. This is the “moveable middle,” as they can be influenced with the proper messaging. MN Pork identified suburban moms who were well educated with higher than average incomes and owned pets as an important audience. By combining these two groups, a more focused target audience was recognized — one that could be reached and had the greatest opportunity for success: Minnesota Moveable Middle Moms (4Moms).
The strongest connection between pork producers and 4Moms is through shared values, including providing healthy, nutritious food. This guided the direction for our strategic platform: Food to Foster Trust.
Based on the campaign objectives and the strategic platform, the following strategies were developed:
1.) Provide targeted consumers with a firsthand look at how pigs are raised today to spark conversations about animal care practices.
2.) Bring pig farmers into communities to answer consumers’ questions about raising pigs and eating pork.
3.) Make an impact in the community by providing pork to families in need.
The campaign is titled Oink Outings, as a fun way to engage our audience and spark curiosity. It includes three approaches: in-depth relationship building events, grassroots outreach events and online support.
In-Depth Relationship Building: Farm Tours
During the summer, five tours were scheduled with a total of 22 influential consumers (nearly a 24 percent increase in participation from 2011) to visit a local pig farm with five different chefs from popular restaurants.
Grassroots Outreach: Booth Events
Booth events bring pork producers to our target audience by setting up an information booth at 23 community events (up from seven events in 2011) to provide suburban families an opportunity to meet producers and ask questions.
Objective 1: Increase trust and consumer confidence in Minnesota pig farmers with tour participants by percent.
Result: Based on pre-and post-tour survey results, tours achieved a 50–57% increase in trust – exceeding expectations and proving the impact of the tours. Tour participants completed anonymous pre-and post-tour surveys online. All completed a pre-tour survey and 16 completed the post-tour survey.
Tour participants were asked to rate their feelings on the following statements:
Objective 2: Foster relationships with suburban communities and help feed at least 4,000 families.
Result: Through “Ask a Farmer. Feed a Family.,” at the booths and tour participation, participants activated enough ground pork to feed 5,000 families — that’s 20,000 people!
Public Relations Society of America © 2013
Product #: 6BW-1301D03