Every agency search begins with the words, “So, tell me a little about your agency.” And that’s a good place to start because the response always reveals how well or poorly the suitor-agency represents its own brand.
Whenever I’m asked to talk about AdFarm, I try never to use the phrase “ad agency.” It’s inaccurate and a limited depiction of what we do. Our deeper connections yield deeper insights and our deeper insights result in higher-impact communications. It would be more accurate to say that we are an agricultural company focused on connecting clients to their farmer-customers and influencers —through social media marketing, digital, direct, advertising, public relations and consulting.
Lately we’ve been helping more clients connect with their influencers – or end-consumer audience in matters of perception. Portrayal of U.S. agriculture in popular movies, books and general media have trended in the negative for the past few years and we’ve been helping some of our clients use that national spotlight on agriculture to their advantage.
We have taken up this charge in one of the nation’s most ag-heavy areas with the California Agricultural Communications Coalition (CACC). The CACC seeks to reconnect growers and consumers within the state on behalf of more than 100 ag associations, groups and other stakeholders (In fact, AdFarm has just opened a new office in Sacramento to keep focusing on opportunities in California.). We’re helping CACC and other clients turn the one-way rhetoric and biased monologues into conversations about agriculture that are fully informed. And you can’t do that with traditional advertising alone.
Today’s Partner vs. Yesterday’s Ad Agency
Traditional advertising may be appropriate as a supplementary element of the strategic approach, but in today’s world some of our client’s messages will never be digested unless they are being spoken by a third party. Often, the only way to reach those third parties and make them care enough about your message to repeat it is through efforts in PR, digital and social media. Any company that calls itself (or thinks of itself) simply as an ad agency, likely won’t stay in business for long. Communications needs are much more complex than in the past.
To that end, so are agency searches. Selecting a communications agency partner can be an arduous process – certainly one you don’t want to repeat a year or two later. So I highly recommend that any agency search include the assignment of paid short-term sample projects. We feel this gives prospective clients the best look at our process, and they’ll also get some valuable work moving. Most important, the prospective client will be in a better position to make a confident decision in the end.
Right Tool for the Right Job
Ultimately, you want to know that your communications partner not only has the sharpest and widest variety of tools at their disposal, but that they know how to use them with precision. The better you know the market’s customer, the better chance your strategy is on target. Deeper insights equal better strategy. While we at AdFarm have the tools, talent and collective experience to reach customers in any market or situation, we maintain a deliberate focus on agriculture and those precise markets our agricultural clients need to reach.
What do you think makes agriculture such a unique industry to be part of?
Roger Reierson is the President and Managing Partner of AdFarm — visionary, brand shepherd, connector and innovator.