Helping Farmers Grow: Gloucestershire Farm Shops
Gloucestershire Farm Shops (The Big G) is made up of a small group of Gloucestershire Farm Shop operators. For the past 25 years, the operators had used newspaper and radio advertising with varying success, tending to focus on specific products such as strawberries and Christmas trees, to get people to visit farm shops and enable them to sell large quantities of whatever was in season. It was clear that more could be done to promote Gloucestershire's Farm Shops to people in the county. It was felt that Farmers' Markets had enjoyed good publicity in previous years, but Farm Shops had not. Although there was a consumer ‘mood' for shopping locally to reap the benefits of fewer food miles and make the most of seasonal produce, there had not been an easy way for consumers to identify where to buy local food, and who the producers and retailers were. To tackle this, it was felt that there was an opportunity to promote the Farm Shops as part of a shared banner or brand. Vivid was asked to work with the Farm Shop operators to develop a strategy for developing this brand and promoting it.
Aims and Objectives
- To develop a clear and easily recognisable brand for member Farm Shops in Gloucestershire
- To promote the existence and offerings, along with individual and collective benefits of member Farm Shops
- To demonstrate the value, such as health and economic benefits, offered by member Farm Shops
- To promote the benefits of seasonal and local produce as well as where to buy them
- To offer consumers useful information to help them make informed food choices
- To help educate consumers about the relationships between food, the environment and the local economy
- To drive potential customers to member Farm Shops
- To position the group, and its members as the commentator of choice about issues of local food, seasonal produce, food miles etc.
To use a combination of brand and web development, integrated communications initiatives and media relations to launch the brand and communicate the farm shops messages.
Target audiences for this project were:
- Consumers and potential consumers in Gloucestershire
- Consumers outside Gloucestershire (as tourists or visitors)
- The media - in Gloucestershire, in the region, nationally (when appropriate) and the ‘trade' media
- Tourism organisations in Gloucestershire and the South West region
- Niche groups such as Women's Institutes, wholesale customers such as restaurants and schools for educational purposes.
Vivid worked with the group to develop a clear and easily recognisable brand for the Farm Shops and helped it to appoint a designer to develop a visual interpretation of this brand. The aim of the branding exercise was to present something which becomes recognisable to consumers and which illicits a positive response from them.
Vivid worked alongside the chosen designer and website developer to ensure the group had an attractive and informative website in line with its brand.
Once the group had its brand and website, Vivid arranged a launch. This was done in two parts - a soft launch to capture the attention of the media and a more formal launch a couple of months later.
Vivid worked with local, regional, ‘trade' and national media to promote the group through positive coverage.
Vivid has more recently started a Twitter account for the group so that they are able to engage and communicate with the online community about the features and benefits of buying locally.
In order to gain some initial interest around and recognition of the new brand, images of the ‘G' shaped logo were created using a variety of items related to the farm shops including fruit, vegetables and flowers, one was also done in the middle of crops to look like a crop circle and another was even created using sheep.
Evaluation and Measurement
A significant amount of local media exposure has already been acheived with new stories continuing to appear on a regular basis. The recent introduction of a GFS Twitter account has already gathered more than 200 followers and grows on a daily basis, giving the group chance to connect with engaged local individuals and promote their produce direct.
Final results against objectives
This project is ongoing with Vivid working with the group on a retained basis to promote their interests in the local area.