Creating the Dairy Campaign

Published 15 September 17

By – Rebecca Miah – Senior Consumer Marcomms Manager (Dairy)

Right now is an exciting and challenging time to be working in the dairy industry, and as a Market Development Rebecca Miahspecialist the challenge is very unique. How to step back in to supporting the varied, valuable dairy goods that our farmers provide to the UK and abroad?

After a period of time focusing on the more technical functions of farming, ensuring the reputation of farming is upheld in the consumer’s minds and trying to steer a path through recent market fluctuations the AHDB board made the decision in 2016 to join with our processor partners Dairy UK to look at work that underpins the place of dairy in a sustainable diet. The timing is driven by an understanding that there are challenges ahead for the dairy industry, with volatility and the uncertainty of BREXIT, and that to ensure the growingly efficient and strengthened producers of the UK have an equally buoyant consumer demand at home and abroad for their quality products. It was my privilege to be asked to work on this project alongside Judith Bryans of Dairy UK and a team of dedicated and energised people focused on making the right choices.

But what a history to follow! With previous successful campaigns such as “Make Mine Milk” to consider, the first step was to understand what has worked well but more importantly how the world has changed, and there have been significant changes since the last generic campaign. A huge change in the way people consume and interact with dairy, innovation in the category which sits conversely alongside a growing commoditisation of the way products are treated, and the inherent value this means consumers place upon them. A decrease in usage occasions driven by consumers change in methods of cooking and consuming food. Innovation in alternative products, alongside a greater understanding of positive dairy nutrition and a surge back into real clean products such as butter.

We started from both an unbiased blank sheet but also a wealth of knowledge and expertise at our fingertips and built a full picture of our challenges and opportunities, our consumers and their relationships with dairy. The research took us from AHDB’s deep understanding of consumers changing profile, the way they interact with information and each other, their attitudes to diet, how they cook and dine out. It’s a complicated consumer map, but for all the challenges it is far easier these days to speak to people directly and really engage in conversation. Alongside this was bespoke work commissioned directly for Dairy UK and AHDB to take an all-encompassing look at our challenges and opportunities via social listening, digital mapping, industry interviews, consumer surveys, peer reviews of market data and research available. This was the largest peace of research into dairy in over a decade.

It has from necessity taken a while but never has a clearer path been known, and supported along the way by people across the industry, from processors to farmer ambassadors.

So what now? Supported by the knowledge gained the group has engaged with others globally via The Global Dairy Platform to gain learnings from other campaigns and their successes, it has engaged agencies who had tough competition driven by this exciting brief to work on a creative and delivery plan. These agencies are now working closely together on the final details of a full annual plan of activity that takes us right back to where our focus lay – supporting the place of dairy in a sustainable diet.

Right now we are gearing up to launch a variety of work in Autumn and throughout the following year, and each piece of the puzzle will be carefully crafted and timed to give our products the voice they rightly deserve. This isn’t a one trick pony, it is a long term programme of activity to build new relationships with the target audience. Crucial to that is each member of our industry, we have a huge number of voices in dairy and as we work through the year we will be asking each and every person that has the capacity, to pick up the mantle and help us share the good news dairy has to offer. Thank you to every one of you for enabling our team the opportunity to be involved in this project.