Authenticity is the Key to Consumers Minds and Hearts, Molly McAdams SaysTue, 04 Feb 2014 10:58:27 CST
Relating to customers in a marketplace of ideas that is often filled with negative and incorrect claims about your product is the situation facing the beef industry on a daily basis. It's a situation that Dr. Molly McAdams, former vice president of store brands at HEB, and the wife of a cattle rancher has confronted for a long time. She is one of the speakers at this year's Cattlemen's College taking place at the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Tenn.
McAdams spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays about how cattle producers can improve their outreach to consumers.
"We have millions of consumers that are choosing our product every day and we can't forget about that. And they choose it for all of the reasons that you and I associate with beef and whatever makes it tender or juicy, delicious, the meal for a special occasion, so we can't lose sight of that. But I believe that the internet has forever changed the consumer space and the way that any company interacts with consumers. It has created what I would call a third space. So, instead of just your traditional consumer and their environment, you have a company and their environment, and at some point those two overlap. Now there is a very clearly defined third space that happens to be virtual. And consumers are interacting with products in this third space all the time. We're not going back. We've got to figure out how to do a much better job of being transparent, giving consumers the information they want and, frankly, instead of trying to avoid eye contact with the average consumer because they frighten us, it's a matter of giving ourselves permission to embrace them and all of their idiosyncrasies that seem fickle to us because we are experts in our area."
She said she approaches the problem by trying to put her foot in the consumer's shoes.
"I think consumers want to trust their product. And it's hard for someone to trust something that they don't know, but they definitely want to see authenticity- When you can provide that authenticity, it goes a long way to build trust even if someone doesn't believe what you believe. They can at least respect the fact that you authentically believe it. So, there's power in that."
McAdams said there is some fear in the industry about being too authentic and providing too much information that may be more than the consumer wants or may be more than they are able to judge properly.
She said the public still has high respect for farmers and ranchers, and that basis should make it easier for the beef industry to instill trust for its products and its practices in consumers' minds.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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