Stay calm, stick to the facts, and tell your story, says communications expert

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A&W’s Better Beef campaign holds a lesson for farmers — although they might not like it, says a communications expert.

The fast food chain’s ad campaign touting its switch to hormone-free beef has been “massively successful,” Shawn Brook, president of Issues Ink, told FarmTech attendees.

“Their job is to sell hamburgers, and this makes them sell hamburgers,” he said. “What makes it wrong is that we haven’t been out there telling people what the truth is.”

But farmers won’t win these PR battles if they go in “with the belief that the grocery-buying public is stupid,” he said.

“The reality is they’re incredibly smart people. Incredibly educated folks have those beliefs,” he said.

“(And) those ‘idiot’ urbanites are hungry for information.”

The best approach is to have “positive, proactive conversations with more people,” and to stick to the facts, even if people on the other side of the issues don’t.

“Our credibility is too critical to us to allow that to happen.”

Choosing fact-based core messages based on individual stories and personal passions will engage consumers in the right kind of conversation, said Brook.

“If you can… build the conversations around that, you become a pretty powerful storyteller and a pretty powerful ‘agvocate’ in our business.”

More from the Alberta Farmer Express website: How to answer those tough agricultural questions from your urban neighbours

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