Agribusiness and COVID-19

At broadhead, we’ve spent the past several weeks helping our clients answer questions we never could have expected:

What happens when the time-honored tradition of driving up a grower’s driveway, isn’t anymore?

What if the shop isn’t where we talk shop?

In an industry built on look-you-in-the-eye handshakes and kitchen table commitments, how can brands maintain customer relationships while navigating a new normal?

The broadhead approach is rooted in human-centered design, catalyzed by an audience-first mentality. An agency built on agriculture, we have spent the last 18 years talking weekly with America’s farmers and producers. Today, we can use their lessons more than ever. Lessons about controlling what you can control. On focusing on what cannot be taken from us, at a time when so much has. To adapt and look forward.

Important teachings, from careers spent navigating uncertainty and volatility. Survival strategies from resilient folks, who have taught us nature doesn’t wait —weather does what it wants, and spring arrives as surely as sunrise.

The latter has been the focus of many of our recent conversations with clients. It’s springtime on the American farm, where work doesn’t stop. To that end, much of our focus has been on counseling our clients with situational opportunities intended to help their customers conduct their business with minimal interruption.

In doing so, adversity has bred opportunity for our clients, who have found themselves utilizing new communications tools, breaking old habits, and in many cases, learning much more about their audiences and the means by which they are most comfortable communicating. That type of introspection has paved the way for a much greater depth of understanding our customers and their needs— both basic and complex. Doubling down on those needs will undoubtedly cultivate long-term trust in partners that have put their customers first when they need it most.

“If wind will not serve, grab the oars,” says the old proverb. With the winds of change blowing directly in the face of success, the agriculture supply chain needs the companies that serve it to keep rowing. This has forced some organizations out of their comfort zone, so we’ve been doing the best we can to help broadhead’s clients replace 12-month plans with 12-week plans that require fluidity and urgency while putting the paramount needs of the customer first.

Of the many lessons learned as we navigate this new normal, is the importance of knowing your customer, so that you can meet their needs when they need you most. Our clients are striving to meet those needs daily, in hopes that, when they can be with customers again at a trade show or a grower meeting, there will be plenty to shake hands over. After all, it is springtime on the American farm. It’s okay to hope. Our farmers taught us that. 

By Wayne Carlson, VP, Brand Strategy at broadhead. Read more in AgriMarketing’s April 2020 Digital Edition.