Sunday, December 28, 2014

Connecting with consumers: taking my own advice

When I'm teaching a PR/media relations class to farmers I always say that to connect with our consumers we need to relate what we are talking about to something they already know. There are a lot of ways to do this. Today, I was on the other end of this.

We went wine tasting all around central Indiana and while touring one of the wineries, our tour guide pointed out something that looked like a milk pump and something else that reminded me of a plate cooler. A plate cooler has cold water on one side and milk on the other and helps the milk cool fast. Milk comes out of the cow at body temperature (101 degrees Fahrenheit) and needs to be cooled to below 40 degrees ASAP otherwise bacteria can grow and that's something farmers get penalized for. In fact, milk can even be rejected and not picked up by the hauler if it's too warm or smells weird, looks abnormal, etc. This is serious business. 

As we continued the tour, she pointed out the tanks that held the grape juice that was to be fermented into wine. What do ya was a bulk tank just like that found on a dairy farm! A bulk tank is the large refrigerated tank that holds milk until the milk truck comes to pick it up. This is how my mind works. I compare things I see to what I know to help me understand it better. That is also how consumers think and why we need to help bridge the gap when talking to them. 

We even got to see how the wine was bottled. Some dairies have a small processing facility on site where they make cheese, bottle their own milk, and/or make a variety of other dairy products. Of course, the winery also had cheese in the cooler. 

As we were tasting wine afterwards, the guide asked me if that was a cow on my necklace. My response? "Does that surprise you?" And she said, "At this point in the conversation, not at all, that's awesome!" LOL. So much fun.

I'm lucky to have awesome friends in my life that will drive up from Cincinnati to take me out for the day, make me laugh and get me back to my fun, sassy self. It's funny how we lose track of ourselves sometimes. 

A few wineries later, we found this:

The lesson in all of this? Besides being happy, it's to think of ways to compare what you want consumers to know about farming/whatever you are talking about to something they likely already know. I know it worked for me. I better understood a lot of things discussed on the winery tour because I could compare them to what I knew very well--things on a dairy farm. 

Now go enjoy some wine and cheese. 

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