The Beef Information Centre has clarified its policy regarding support for regional and provincial marketing initiatives.
In a BIC committee meeting, members agreed in principle to accept a new draft guideline that states the centre will provide promotional materials and technical support for “buy local” and public relations campaigns and shows, provided that they do not undermine the national beef brand strategy, nor seek to differentiate themselves by suggesting that beef from one region is better than that of another.
Also, it states that planning, management and participation for such efforts will also be the sole responsibility of provincial and regional associations.
“BIC is a national organization with a national mandate and the strategic priority to create brand awareness for Canadian beef, both in Canada and the U.S.,” said BIC CEO Glenn Brand.
“We respect the province’s rights to develop provincial and regional promotional programs. We basically just want to clarify how we are able to assist them.”
The policy will allow marketers to leverage BIC’s staff, technical resources, materials and customer relations as efficiently and as effectively as possible for the benefit of all producers, he said. That includes technical materials covering a wide range of retail, foodservice and further-processing information.
BIC will continue to cost-share development expenses for partnering programs, and offer the Canadian beef brand mark for use on Canadian products by those doing farm gate sales, butcher shops or small abbattoirs. It will provide letters of support if requested, but won’t co-apply for funding to support regional or provincial marketing.
“Rather than dealing with them on a one-by-one basis, we thought it would be best to be open and transparent and put some policies more clearly defining our roles and responsibilities and that of the provinces,” said Brand.
Despite the growing popularity of local-food initiatives, the centre’s global marketing strategy will continue to focus on optimizing demand and value within North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries, as well as the rest of the world, he added.