How to fast track your agribusiness success online
Originally published on Black Farmers’ Network
Georgia farmer Sedrick Rowe grows crops as if they’re an outdoor art. His green thumb is simply genius. And he’s one of only a few Black Belt Region producers with the title “certified organic.” But when Rowe entered the agricultural industry, no one at his alma mater, in his neighborhood or within his network told him about the importance of professionally branding and marketing his agribusiness. In today’s digital economy, it’s a requirement. Especially if farmers want to connect with new audiences. Without modern marketing and branding, most Black Belt Region agribusinesses remain stagnant ideas. Unable to compete with brands locally, nationally or even globally.
“I now see it’s the name of the game,” said the Albany producer and owner/operator of Rowe Organic Farms. “Joining Black Farmers’ Network (BFN) and working with its marketing team really broke it down to me — what Black farmers are missing.” And when he says “marketing team,” he’s referring to dope creative colleague/pro designer Tonya Wright of Wright Touch Designs and me in wordplay. Before ag clients meet us, they’ve already created a basic (and sometimes downright hideous) logo. They give it a name, print it then slap it on everything that represents the agribusiness. Awful idea. But you wouldn’t believe how many farmers take this route. Tonya and I witness this flaw way too often. And it gets Black Belt Region farmers nowhere in the brand positioning and awareness department.
Because Rowe relinquished his original collateral and entrusted us to rebrand his image, he’s now landing TV feature spots and networking with big city investors. We showed Rowe how major brands like Target, Chick-fil-A and Sprouts Farmers Market get it done. Give audiences an engaging experience and they will come back for more. If Black Belt farmers want their crops to contend on and offline, learn from Rowe Organic Farms’ new marketing campaign:
LOGO DEVELOPMENT: Rowe already had his agribusiness name and was committed to it. Because the moniker aligned with what he actually produced — organic yield — there was no need to recreate that part. Where his logo lacked was in modern design and feel. He needed something that represented what customers saw when they visited his farmland or met him in person. The answer: warm tones with a pinch of pop. And a contemporary font to tie it all together. Something easy to read and remember. This brand-new logo now sets the tone on social media and printed materials.
BUSINESS CARD CREATION: A 21st-century entrepreneur on the move, Rowe comes in contact with fellow farmers, countryside consumers, political influencers and venture capitalists all the time. He heads the National Young Farmers Coalition’s Southern Georgia chapter, so he’s always meeting beginner producers as well. Creating a sleek credential that piques curiosity to discover more is what his business cards achieve. It’s straightforward style. One that still mimics his newly designed logo, too.
PACKAGING AND LABELING: Rowe is pioneering a new legal crop for Georgia: hemp. As one of the Peach State’s first-year producers, he wanted to provide buyers with a high-quality product. Tonya and I developed packaging and labeling that again reinforced his logo and introduced hemp strains The Wife and Boax. This design uses simple text and icons to help guide the eye to key information. Both products roll out 2021.
ONE-PAGE SITE DESIGN: Less is more. That also goes for websites. RoweOrganic.com is a one-page responsive site that gives readers a snapshot of Rowe’s agricultural lifestyle. We showed Rowe how to hook readers with quick commands, arresting graphics and storytelling photos/video. Launched at the end of 2020, this click-and-flip one-pager has already gained Rowe new clientele and speaking engagements heading into the new year.
“BFN has put me on a whole other level,” Rowe said. “Companies and processors are reaching out because of my website. I get a lot of ‘Do you have a card?’ questions. My visual media speaks for itself.” Next for Rowe: signage. He wants interstate traffic to see his agribusiness as they enter Albany. And to know that he’s certified, black-owned and changing the narrative of America’s Black Belt Region farmers. “I want people to see my signage and google Rowe Organic Farms as drive by,” he said. “It’s time to set a new standard in the South.”