More than 200 Hereford enthusiasts traveled to Kansas City, Mo., June 3-4, for two days jam-packed with sessions featuring some of the best marketers in the business. With presentations from professionals representing all sectors of the cattle industry, attendees at “The Brand” Marketing Summit gleaned insight on using traditional and digital platforms to better market their programs and to be advocates for the Hereford breed and the beef industry. This first-of-its-kind event hosted by the American Hereford Association and Vermeer Corporation allowed attendees to sharpen their marketing skills while developing effective tactics to reach current and potential customers.
Lori Lucero and Mariano Aragon, Mora, N.M., who started their operation, Los Amantes, just over a year ago describe how the event helped them learn more about the breed they invested in and how to grow their new operation.
“Here at the Brand, I was really exposed at how united the Hereford organization is and how supportive everybody is about what we’re all doing — we’re all in this together,” Aragon says.
“I’m so glad we came to The Brand Marketing Summit,” adds Lucero. “We have learned a lot of information that we are able to take back and implement into our operation and we met a lot of great people from all over. This has been very beneficial.”
Events were underway Monday afternoon with a welcome by AHA President Pete Atkins and Mark Core, Vermeer executive vice president and chief marketing officer, followed by presentations covering the growth and efficiency trends within the breed, consumer preferences and purchasing decisions regarding meat products, and establishing a directional compass to shape a business model.
Afterward, participants enjoyed a social at the AHA headquarters where they recorded brief promotional videos to upload to their social media platforms. The evening festivities continued at Howl at the Moon in downtown Kansas City, which featured a live auction that generated nearly $50,000 for the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA) and the Hereford Research Foundation (HRF).
Kicking off Tuesday morning was the Voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, Mitch Holthus. The 26-year National Football League broadcaster shared a motivational message about applying his agricultural background to unite the Chiefs organization and fan base. He discussed his “5 C’s for Success” — cooperation, creative, courage, confidence and conduit — and how producers can apply those principles in marketing and growing their operations.
Participants spent the remainder of the day learning from marketing professionals about social media marketing, video storytelling and overcoming saletime challenges. As well, AHA staff announced the soft launch of Herefords On Demand, a digital catalog resource featuring the most current data on a searchable and user-friendly platform.
Hereford breeders walked away from the summit with an arsenal of tools to better their marketing strategies. Bob Harrell Jr., Baker City, Ore., says he and his family are going to utilize more videos, especially footage captured with drone technology, and social media to showcase their operation. “[Marketing] is about building relationships,” Harrell says.
“We want to sell our image and what we stand for to the consumer and to our bull customers. We have a lot of customers that have been with us since we started and we are constantly getting new customers, so we are looking for all kinds of avenues to tell our story to them. This has been a great summit for that.”
Atkins notes it was great to see such a large and diverse group, comprised of both big and small breeders, work together to learn and to collaborate on a common a goal — promoting the Hereford breed and the beef industry.
“I was proud to see so many people participate in this event,” Atkins says.
“It shows there are truly dedicated breeders who want to learn and work hard to push their operations and the breed to even higher levels. I think it is a testament to the values and quality of the people in our breed.”