Agriculture is the oldest industry and has undergone many changes in recent years, especially in terms of technology. Communication in this sector has become increasingly important, so we explain how to communicate effectively in agriculture.
Summary of good communication for a business in the agricultural sector :
- We start with the state of play in the agricultural sector
- The French are increasingly interested in the environment
- Why do agricultural companies communicate?
- How to advertise when you are an agricultural company?
The state of play in the agricultural sector
Companies involved in agriculture
The first focus is on businesses that are part of the agriculture sector:
- Mixed farming: dairy production, beef...
- Field crops: various cereals...
- Vegetable and market garden production
- Horticultural production: nurseries, flowers, etc.
- Equestrian activities: breeding, preparation of horses for exploitation and equestrian centres
- Processing of farm products: cheese, butter, meat, etc.
- Tourism activities: gîtes, bed and breakfast, etc. based on the farm
- Domestic animal breeding: cats, dogs, parrots, etc.
- Marine cultures: oyster farming, mussel farming, etc.
- Forestry enterprises (tree production, e.g. Christmas trees)
Key figures from the agricultural sector
The agricultural sector always has new ambitions and new projects year after year. Here are some figures that confirm that communication is essential, even in the agricultural sector:
- 76 billion euros in production: France is the European Union's leading agricultural producer in 2019
- 400,000: the number of farmer-operators in France
- 30 million hectares of agricultural land: France is the leading European country
- In 2018, the Observatoire des métiers de la communication en agriculture (Observatory of communication in agriculture): only 17% of messages from the agricultural profession were addressed to the general public
- 9 out of 10 French people say they are concerned about the food they eat (According to Ifop)
The French are increasingly respectful of the environment
The environment, animal and plant species and cultural heritage are the wealth of the French, which they wish to protect for future generations.
In recent years, the French have become increasingly concerned about environmental issues. Indeed, they find it important to know what they eat and what they consume.
Percentages that show that the French are interested in respecting the environment:
- 57% are committed to doing what is good for the environment, even if it costs more
- 60% of French people pay attention to eco-labels when buying hygiene products
Source : CGDD/SDES (Epem 2016)
The eco-responsible behaviours of the French stand out with the reduction of waste on a daily basis with the non-consumption of plastic bags, the consumption of seasonal fruit and vegetables and the fact that they limit their water consumption as well as their energy consumption, by opting for low-energy light bulbs for example.
All these figures show that farmers remain popular among the population with their environmentally friendly products.
Why do agricultural businesses communicate?
Stop the clichés
Agricultural businesses are seen as "old-fashioned" and are the target of many clichés. More and more farmers are expressing themselves via their smartphones to defend their profession and talk about their daily lives. They see in these networks the opportunity to speak directly to consumers and potential customers.
Promote your business and your products
Agricultural professionals aim to promote their business and their products. At agricultural fairs, it is possible to exhibit what they offer; this kind of event encourages individuals (or professionals) to adhere to certain ecological labels or to get to know the companies in question more closely.
Raising consumer awareness of organic
Farmers want to make a difference in the daily lives of French people by encouraging them to consume organic food. Respect for the environment is the main mission of these agricultural professions.
We note* that young people appear to be more sensitive to the environment than their elders, since 37% of 18-24 year olds consider the environment to be their primary concern, compared to 21% of 45-54 year olds.
*Source : businessinsider.fr
How to advertise when you are an agricultural business?
First of all, it is essential to know your targets, your environment and your objectives. Then comes the communication strategy, which must be adapted to get your message across. Farmers read a lot of newspapers, listen to the radio, consult websites and interact on social networks to get information and promote their products.
Communiquer dans la presse
The press allows communication at regional, national or international level. The specialised press by sector is very well perceived and farmers go so far as to describe it as a "real working tool".
Here is a graph showing the evolution of articles published in the French press mentioning the words "agriculture" and "food" over the period 1995-2019:
Since 2016, the curve has been steadily rising for the publication of the words "agriculture" and "food" in the press.
The press is THE trusted medium. Indeed, in many countries, it is the medium that shows more independence of journalists than other media. Thus, placing advertisements to promote your business or products in the press will be perceived differently by readers.
The advantages of appearing on display networks
The display network is a type of advertising space sold on the Internet. It is one of the most classic advertising formats on the web in-app.
Here are the possible formats of a display network:
The main advantage of display communication is its attractive format: image, video, gif, etc. These different formats make it easy to attract the attention of Internet users. Display also allows for precise targeting for a digital advertising campaign.
Farmers can thus take advantage of this to communicate on precise targets.
Have a good presence on social networks
Contrary to popular belief, farmers use the web and social networks daily. They consider these platforms as multipurpose tools.
Social networks bring several advantages:
- To have more visibility on the web
- To be able to exchange with your community
- More notoriety
Associations such as FranceAgriTwittos or hashtags #AgriYoutubeurs have been set up to communicate with internet users. On social networks, the staff of these associations reveal what goes on behind the scenes of agricultural jobs (with reports for example) and what they do on a daily basis.
The rise of podcasts among farmers
The podcast medium has become a real phenomenon, with listening and production growing steadily over the years. Today, thanks to digital advances, podcasts are now available on all platforms.
In recent years, recurring themes have included politics, art, education, food... and agriculture. What topics are covered in agricultural podcasts? Listeners can listen to these topics: agricultural innovation, animal welfare, sustainability, mental health and financial difficulties of producers.
To conclude ...
The younger generations of farmers are increasingly open to communicating with the general public. But in ten years' time: a major generational shift will take place in the French agricultural world with a massive departure of farmers into retirement.