The social media revolution, as it relates to promoting agriculture, is amazing. As we look back over our 75-year history, never has there been a time when we could make our voices heard as loudly as now. Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram pictures, snapchat videos…you name it and we can voice it one way or another. We are blessed with the luxury of fast, albeit impersonal, information. Many do make the claim that we know more about each other these days (sometimes too much) and in our case as All West Select Sires, we have ways for customers to find out about all of products and programs in an instant.
But unlike the times in our 75-year history, we somehow have lost the personal connection that we celebrated in the “good, ole days.”
What got me thinking about all this was my recent, very-first trip to Trader Joe’s supermarket in Modesto, CA. I’ve never gone in a Trader Joe’s before, but knew that the organic market was very popular because of its marketing of wholesome, pure products and commitment to the organic industry. For a farmer’s daughter like myself, that equated to overpriced groceries in a hippy store. Not the most open-minded view, but it was there at any rate.
When I went inside Trader Joe’s, it was a madhouse of activity. People were shopping, trying food samples, recommending products to each other, laughing. Clerks were having real conversations with customers as they bagged groceries; employees were posted on every aisle asking if they could assist in any way.
I can’t help but think that part of the Trader Joe’s fascination and popularity is simply about connection. I’m not downplaying the organic movement by any means, but it got me thinking about OTHER reasons for this supermarket phenomenon. Think about it. As much as we “connect” on social media, we’re not really part of each other’s lives. And as I picked up my groceries and looked around again at the “buzz” of this store, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if every producer could reach consumers this way?” And as an AI company, wouldn’t it be great if we could create this kind of experience for our customers? When they buy our products or they use our programs, it would be an EXPERIENCE.
I know those are pretty big dreams, but they’re something to think about. Maybe the reason we have such a push-back on production agriculture is because we’ve genuinely lost touch with each other. Maybe we feel frustrated and misunderstood as production agriculturists because we feel the conversations are so one-sided these days. And how often does social media become a one-sided push?
At All West, when we celebrate 75 years, we’re celebrating the business of how we grew a small breeder group into a larger, farther-reaching A.I. company in the west. What we’ve run into time and time again in these early celebrations of 2016 is people wanting to connect with people. Directors and delegates getting together to relive old board meeting sessions. People sending in with remembrances of the “great old bulls” that they saw and worked with. Customers sharing stories and pictures from when their dads were milking cows. It’s a connection thing. Just like the food movement where people want to know where their food comes from, today’s All West customers want to know where THEY came from.
How did we end up enjoying the success we have today? It’s taken 75 years…and more. And we hope we’re off to a good start this year celebrating all of that and talking to the people that have those connections. (Be sure to watch our videos on www.allwestselectsires.com!)
We’re thrilled to have the “Trader Joe’s” excitement going on this year. We saw it at the booths in Red Bluff and Tulare, we saw it during our Annual Meeting, and we saw it at the Western Classic Junior Show. There’s a level of excitement that comes from REALLY connecting with other people and with your past. Here’s to nine more months of celebrating the 75th Anniversary this year!
(blog posts will appear on the website from several members of the All West family including Communications Manager Karen Knutsen and All West Marketing Intern Bailie Welton)