Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley (BFBLGLV) came to us to assist them with their mission to build the local food economy by:
educating consumers about the many benefits of choosing locally grown foods;
promoting local food providers;
improving fresh food access;
facilitating local food purchases by wholesale buyers;
providing research about our local food economy; and
convening the Thriving Local Food System branch of the Food Policy Council.
BFBLGLV's challenge to us was to grow the audience and community interest in farmer's markets in the Lehigh Valley, and expand their share of voice "beyond the convinced."
As with all of our clients, the first step was for us to fully understand their mission, and then the landscape of public opinion including the challenges, resistances, and opportunities for farmer's markets with their target audiences, and uncover any misperceptions. We began by conducting research through outreach and online surveys which revealed important insights into the local community's beliefs, perceptions, needs, knowledge, opinions, and values. With this new information, we had the tools that we needed to build an effective engagement- and awareness-building communications campaign.
OUR APPROACH & RESULTS
We began with a set of focused campaign strategies that would help us align on where to invest our time and budget.
Go for Relationships Not Visit
Activate every time
Focus on what’s foundational
Our goal was to build lasting relationships with the local farmers' markets in the network, not simply to drive traffic to the markets for a single visit. So, we designed our core messages to speak to each of our prioritized audiences and to address perceptions and concerns facing these individual groupings, as well as umbrella communications to affect the entire community. Once we completed our planning phase, we identified emotional levers that would allow us to develop, test, and refine messages that would inspire action.
Live Your Values
You are what you eat. You are honest and you deserve honest food. Your plate is an expression of who you are and what you believe. Who would you rather feed your family: some executive several states away or the farmer who actually grew the food? So, live your values. Don’t get your food from some big-box corporation or fast-food chain that cares more about their bottom line than you. Get your family’s food from local farmers you can actually trust — at real farmer’s markets in your community.
We learned during our research that there were several friction points that we could effectively address in order to support the mission. Some solutions were basic, simple reminders. Others were more complex, like addressing inaccurate public perceptions or encouraging the public to live their values. We created a campaign guide, to help coordinate communications and advertising across all markets.
When looking to increase traffic and build new customer patters, in addition to building new channels, it is important for us to identify any barriers to achieving desired outcomes. One such barrier that we identified and removed, was about education. We learned that when markets are open is perhaps even more important than knowing where they're located — at least at first. By providing both time and location, rather than just location, customers could plan visits when practical, and more easily shop according to their busy and ever-changing schedules. And, by encouraging them to plan to visit their local market, they were more likely to do just that. So, we created a combined digital calendar as one of a number of destinations for advertising, with the ability to subscribe to an individual market's calendar for reminders and click through for directions.
We developed our campaign messages before the global pandemic. And, while COVID-19 presented very specific obstacles, our messages and tactics were authentic and resonated with audiences, helping to ensure traffic at the markets and grow the size of the audience for each market who participated.
We also improved our reach with promoted posts and paid advertising in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Most gratifying was that we helped markets stay open during the pandemic by increasing interest from digital channels and maintaining or increasing foot traffic for those markets that chose to open for the season.
BY THE NUMBERS
Increase in traffic from targeted channels
Increase in reach
Cost per result (CPR) across all paid ad insertions