Agri Food Comms-Cast

Pinstone

A bite-size take on the current farm to food news agenda, produced for PR, communications and marketing professionals in the agricultural supply chain.

Exploring business for people and planet
22-04-2022
Exploring business for people and planet
The Agri-Food Comms Cast was first broadcast on Earth Day 2022, and delves into the opportunity for businesses to engage more proactively with the environment. In episode three, season four of the podcast, our host, Catherine Linch, is joined by founder of Sustainability Impact Agency, betternotstop, Hannah Cox, who is also a B-Corp Ambassador and B Leader. They are joined in conversation with inspirational business woman Carmen O’Neal, founder of gin producers, 58 and Co, a Certified B Corporation. The B Corporation Movement is a certification open to ‘for profit’ companies to undergo a rigorous assessment to show they meet high social and environmental standards, along with transparency and accountability. Becoming a B-Corp is proven to have a positive impact on business and staff teams, as well as benefiting the environment and wider society. In the podcast, we ask why businesses choose this path, and how to make the transition authentically – and importantly, avoid ‘greenwashing’.  We also explore the communications opportunities for improving internal engagement and how brands can add value and improve customer perception and loyalty. As a team, Pinstone are excited to begin their B-Corp journey, and look forward to the proactive and positive impact the team can have on society and the climate. See attached below for more information. UK B-Corp Performance Research Report November 2020 UK B-Corps performance review
Book vs social - conquering the town and country divide
25-02-2022
Book vs social - conquering the town and country divide
The Agri-Food Comms Cast is back with a bang! In the first episode of season four, Catherine Linch delves into the role of different communication platforms, from the ultimate ‘long form’ book to the fast-paced world of social media. In particular, we explore how food and farming topics can present a challenging dialogue between town and country. Our first guest, journalist, broadcaster, founder of Just Farmers Media Portal and Nuffield Farming Scholar, Anna Jones, joins Catherine to introduce her brand-new book ‘Divide: The Relationship Between Town and Country’. With the current climate of polarised attitudes to food and farming, it’s easy to have an ‘us and them’ mentality, but Anna’s book aims to break this mindset by demonstrating how both communities have an opportunity to come together for good. This thought-provoking topic encourages us all to find common ground with each other so that we can reap the benefits, socially, politically, and culturally. We also hear from agri-media professional Emily Davies, who describes herself as a digital storyteller and provides valuable insight on the power and the pitfalls of social media for propelling stories and comms strategies to a wider audience. This fast-paced comms channel has proven beneficial for many brands seeking to build awareness, but the episode importantly touches on the issues social media users need to be aware of when consuming content on social platforms including biased algorithms and lack of accountability.
A career in ag: a special edition podcast
30-09-2021
A career in ag: a special edition podcast
A returning sense of normality has been highlighted with the kids heading back for a new school year. So, in keeping with the theme of new beginnings, this special episode of the Agri-Food Comms Cast explores the numerous routes to taking the leap into #AgCareers. A career in agriculture can entail much more than working on a farm, with the #FarmToFork initiative demonstrating just that. There is a vast range of careers throughout the food supply chain with numerous industries supporting the farming sector such as science, finance, policy and, of course, communications! Christine Tacon CBE, chair of Red Tractor and the MDS scheme, joins our host Catherine Linch to discuss the wealth of opportunities available to those who want to climb the ag career ladder. These include the well-known MDS graduate scheme. This dedicated two-year programme delivers first-hand experience through diverse work placements to give candidates broader experience and insight into what the sector can offer. Christine highlights the challenges that agricultural employers are up against when promoting their vacancies to fresh-faced graduates. Many are oblivious to the diversity and dynamism of roles within the agricultural sector. She says big-name brands often take the lead when it comes to graduate employment, due to students’ lack of knowledge about the scope of the sector. A shining example of how graduates can get ahead in ag, is our second podcast guest. Pinstone account manager and face of NFU campaigns – Ali Parker. Ali gives us an insight into her personal career journey from graduating from The University of Reading, to how the NFU graduate scheme paved the way for her career in comms at Pinstone. Ali is part-way through the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation programme and explains to us how these initiatives have advanced her knowledge of the sector, and encourages others to explore the various routes available. At Pinstone, we’re passionate about career progression and providing opportunities to climb the career ladder is something that really resonates with us. If you haven’t already, check out our Pinstone Ladder blog series where you can read more about Ali’s journey with Pinstone and the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation scheme.
Conveying complex information with impact
30-07-2021
Conveying complex information with impact
Episode seven considers the complex communication challenges that Henry Dimbleby was up against when piecing together his National Food Strategy. Catherine Linch is joined by two special guests for the final episode of season two of the Agri-Food Comms Cast to share their insight on this recently launched, comprehensive review. Communicating information that requires extensive cross-sector knowledge and context can prove problematic and often runs the risk of losing your audiences’ interest. So how did Mr Dimbleby ensure his report was a success? John Shropshire, chairman of G’s Marketing, was one of the farming representatives on the National Food Strategy advisory board. John joins our host to discuss the process behind the policy influencing report and the role that communication played in pulling together such a comprehensive document. Acknowledging that farming can often be on the receiving end of bad press, seasoned expert in agricultural communications, Amy Jackson of Oxtale, talks about the challenges of effectively conveying proposed recommendations to audiences that are more likely to be resistant to change. Amy praises the National Food Strategy for being wholly inclusive by sharing the responsibility for improving our food systems, diet, health and environment. She advises that setting incremental manageable objectives makes meeting targets much more realistic and achievable. There are some big upcoming changes to farming, but how do we successfully communicate this information? Amy suggests that conveying a consistent message is key and the National Food Strategy does just that, highlighting three key areas of focus: producing food more efficiently, increasing biodiversity and capturing carbon.
Championing British beef
23-04-2021
Championing British beef
The pressures currently facing the red meat sector globally are undeniable, making a strong case for the advocates of British beef production to take on the communications challenge with gusto. We look at the issue as Great British Beef Week kicks off. In the latest episode of the Agri-Food Comms Cast, Catherine Linch explores how this traditional sector is challenging some public’ perceptions and setting the record straight about the merits of British beef. Jilly Greed, farmer and co-founder of Ladies in Beef, discusses this year’s Great British Beef Week (GBBW), a celebratory annual campaign created to promote and champion beef production – from farm to fork. In the last 11 years, it’s garnered tremendous support from across the industry. This year, GBBW is backed by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI), Agriculture, Horticulture and Development Board (AHDB) and Meat Promotion Wales. With sustainability as the theme for the 2021 event, Jilly believes connecting consumers with food provenance, the farmed countryside and how beef systems can support the environment is key to restoring the public’s affiliation with eating red meat. This episode also highlights the value of a breadth of communications channels, including popular films like Kiss the Ground and online events like We Eat Balanced and the RABI cookalong, that are spreading positive messages around sustainable farming within the agri-food sector and beyond.
Clubhouse or podcasts?
26-03-2021
Clubhouse or podcasts?
In episode three of season two of the Agri-Food Comms Cast, Catherine Linch unpicks how businesses and communications professionals can best go about navigating through the ever-growing social media landscape. Clubhouse, the new and exclusive social media app based on audio chat, is rapidly gaining traction. And with podcasts also increasing in popularity, where is time best spent and invested as a brand? In conversation with Catherine Linch in this episode is: · Alison Teare, marketing director, mentor, trainer and podcaster at Simply Marketing · James Sopp, former BBC post-production specialist turned digital and social media marketer at Buzzin Digital · Russell Goldsmith, founder of Audere Communications and host of the csuite podcast The exclusivity of an invite-only membership to Clubhouse is enticing and the functionality to create and join clubs, such as The Agriculturalists, and rooms within them, provide the opportunity to make new connections. But, currently, Clubhouse is unavailable to Android users and there are no analytics to assess its engagement. Plus, the expectation to join live conversations can be limiting to those working in the agri-food sector that are time-poor. On the other hand, interviews for podcasts can be arranged ahead of time and episodes are available to listen to on-demand via a multitude of platforms and devices. Therefore, podcasts are more widely accessible and inclusive to all audiences. Whether the medium of choice is Clubhouse or podcasts, the direction of travel for brand communications appears to be audio for content generation in the post-Covid era.
Communicating the net zero message
18-12-2020
Communicating the net zero message
The Agri Food Comms-Cast (AFCC) unpicks the marketing and communications stories behind the issues facing the food and farming sector. Episode 17 explores the communications challenge behind the massive global issue of transitioning the livestock sector to net zero. Lynsday Chapman, CEO of the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL), introduced their new, independent industry report: Net Zero Carbon & UK Livestock. Providing a summary of known research and science on what’s understood about the topic of net zero in livestock systems, it delivers an unbiased baseline position for retailers, processors, governments and NGOs to talk from. Rob Hues, agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries manager at Waitrose joins the discussion having recently been part of the retailer’s roll out to their farms that laid down the gauntlet of reaching net zero on all its UK farms by 2035. He concurred that CIEL’s report is a practical framework that will be invaluable to the industry and support positive dialogue and a change in practices. The pair agree that communicating the practical steps to net zero is a major challenge, but one that shouldn’t be held back by finding a uniform means of measuring the carbon footprint of any one particular farm system. It’s anticipated that sharing progress of the journey to net zero, even where a diversity of carbon footprinting tools are employed,  will encourage others to follow. Both Lyndsay and Rob agree that the farming community shouldn’t wait for the perfect tools for measuring net zero progress; far better to choose a system and make positive progress, even if the comparisons cannot yet be accurately compared and contrasted to farms using other measurement criteria.
Brands with purpose
27-11-2020
Brands with purpose
The Agri Food Comms-Cast(AFCC) unpicks the marketing and communications stories behind the issues facing the food and farming sector. In this episode, Catherine Linch delves into two brands that hinge their marketing on their strong sense of purpose. First up is Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones MBE, otherwise known as ‘The Black Farmer’. He explains the story behind his brand name and gluten-free sausages becoming such a success over the last 15 years. From understanding the differences between left and right brain thinking, to above and below the line marketing, Wilfred tells us the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ that really delivers for customers. Wilfred has also kindly offered our podcast listeners 10% off all products on The Black Farmer website – just add the voucher code ‘WILFRED57’ at the checkout. Next up is Mia Hartwell, sustainability manager at Jordans Cereals, a brand which dates back to 1855. She tells Catherine how important it is for their business to protect and give back to nature. Working with like-minded charities, The Wildlife Trusts,Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF)and The Prince’s Countryside Fund, they have formed the ‘Jordans Farm Partnership’. Mia explains how they work with 30 farmers who grow high-quality cereal crops and leave 10% of their land to nature. This is incorporated in all Jordans’ communications campaigns, adding credibility to their sustainable brand and connecting with eco-conscious consumers.
The power of evidence to drive change
02-10-2020
The power of evidence to drive change
The Agri Food Comms-Cast (AFCC) bridges the food and farming sectors, taking a marketing and communications perspective and gleans insights from guests about the initiatives they're most passionate about. The power of evidence gathering in farming and rural communities is the theme of episode 12. Catherine Linch explores the role of research and intelligence on the audience you’re looking to reach out to, that can be a catalyst for knowledge exchange. Jim Williams, head of market research at Map of Ag, explains how application of social psychological theory and research into personality types has led to the farmer audience being segmented into five key 'types and traits': 1. Progressive 2. Defender 3. Optimiser 4. Adventurer 5. Operator From understanding the types and traits of farmers, it's easier to break down this audience and, therefore, present strategic business propositions and tailor marketing and communications messages that create an impact. Up next is Jane Craigie, director and co-founder of the Rural Youth Project, and project and communications officer, Alana Black. Since 2018, the Rural Youth Project has been building an international movement for positive change targeted at the under 30s who are rurally based. Previously, there has been little research into the young, rural demographic, which has made it difficult to help those in isolation develop leadership and enterprise skills and retain those skills in the countryside. Over the last two years, the team have been compiling a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research in the form of surveys, podcasts, blogs, case studies and ideas festivals. The recently launched Qualitative Report delves into the full scope of rural living and how it affects young people, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, to complement the 2018 Survey Report. They found that prior to COVID-19, 72% of young people were optimistic about their futures in rural areas but since the outbreak has begun, this has halved. Young, rural people also want better access to mental health services, enterprise opportunities and more affordable housing. Such insight is providing direction on the future of the Rural Youth Project to help facilitate young people to learn from each other, pair up with mentors and access jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Wildlife conservation in agribusiness
18-09-2020
Wildlife conservation in agribusiness
The Agri Food Comms-Cast (AFCC) delves into the current issues being faced in the agricultural industry and food supply chain, with a PR and marketing spin. Episode 11 explores wildlife conservation and its relationship with food production and land management. David Hooton, deer officer at the Forestry Commission, explains that although wild deer populations are at an all-time high, the market for venison has significantly dropped in the last 18 months. By heading up the new Venison Working Group and delivering the first Wild Venison Week later this winter, he aims to help equip the venison trade so landowners can continue to meet their business and conservation objectives, while encouraging a wider consumer audience to eat venison all-year-round. Then former editor of the Shooting Times & Country Magazine, Joe Dimbleby from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) goes on to explain how his journalistic background has helped to secure editorial for the Trust in the mainstream press, as well as in country sports and farming media, to promote case studies of biodiversity success directly from farmers and landowners. And to conclude, he explains how the new Working for Wildlife web portal is hosting a ‘pledge’ that’s appealing to all conservationists – from RSPB to NFU– to sign-up to with a view to uniting on commitments to the British countryside. And with 1,000 signatures in its first week, it’s already gaining traction.