As communications experts in the agri-food sphere, the campaigns we produce need to deliver widespread coverage and engagement.
It’s a role we relish. However, when it comes to promoting events, awareness dates and reports that happen every year, it can be challenging to find new angles.
So, how do you tell a recurring narrative in a fresh and compelling way?
Our 14th podcast takes a closer look at this enduring marketing conundrum, when Catherine interviewed Rebecca Davidson, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual.
Rebecca has been responsible for the successful roll out the 20th annual Rural Crime Report.
Research is more than number crunching
The podcast highlights how successful PR relies on identifying and showcasing authentic arguments that resonate with your audience.
Although the latest rural crime figures speak for themselves – amounting to £54 million a year - what matters is the human impact of this criminal activity.
It’s easy to turn a blind eye to facts and figures when they relate to such large sums of money. Therefore, to convey a message successfully, the statistics need to connect at a personal level. This is what grabs our attention and makes an engaging news story.
Bringing an industry report to life
Theft of expensive machinery is one of the biggest worries for farming people. NFU Mutual’s ongoing challenge is keeping this issue high on the agenda for a wide-ranging audience - from central government, regional police forces and the general public.
Rural crime has far greater implications than many people might imagine, as Rebecca highlights;
“There’s often an outdated view of rural crime. It’s not like an episode of Heartbeat.”
Sadly, people removed from rural life frequently have a rose-tinted view of ‘the countryside’ and its realities.
Keeping it real
Anyone involved in agriculture knows there's no ‘rose tint’. However, that shouldn’t mean becoming a victim of crime.
This is why the annual Rural Crime report is so important. It represents the experience of its members and showcases the safeguarding measures required to protect the sector against unnecessary injustices.
Through NFU Mutual’s rigorous analysis of data, we know that crime on UK farms is often instigated by international, organised crime rings. There are criminals who fulfil an on-demand, export market for heavy machinery. There are also factions that seek to undermine our food security through coordinated livestock rustling.
These statements are backed up by robust figures, case studies and specialist insight from people that tackle these issues daily.
When it comes to PR - “there's no standard template”
The points that resounded most from Rebecca’s interview is that PR should always be proactive and never conform to a strict formula.
- Present case studies that resonate with a wide audience
- Provide accurate, factual insight that has real substance
- Convey what's happening on the ground
- Give broader context to the established facts
Following these simple pointers helps to ensure that annual industry initiatives gain the exposure they deserve.