Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability


Farm animal care part of the 'rebar' in Canada's beef brand

Important part of the Canadian Beef Advantage highlighted at annual forum in Calgary

Posted: September 26, 2013

Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.

Wide open spaces. Fresh water. The world-class natural scenery of Canada.

All of this imagery is not just a backdrop to beef production in Canada, but an integral part of how Canadian beef is perceived by customers and consumers both at home and internationally, say two beef marketing leaders with Canada Beef Inc., who presented at the Canada Beef Annual Forum, Sept. 20-21 in Calgary.

Now more than ever, the image and reputation of producers and industry taking good care of cattle throughout their lifetimes is an equally critical component interwoven into the fabric of Canada's beef brand, which is now further supported through an updated branding-marketing-communications strategy led by Canada Beef called the Canadian Beef Advantage (or "CBA" in industry shorthand).

"The CBA is the core DNA of our beef brand – the attributes of Canadian beef and the supply chain from a gate to plate perspective, which supports our value proposition," says John Baker, Executive VP Global Marketing. "Animal care is a key part of that. It's clearly an area that is getting higher profile and attention. It's important to our reputation and what Canadian beef stands for."

Linked with quality, sustainability

Just how important is reflected is the newly unveiled CBA document, highlighted at the forum as a "tool to start a conversation around the CBA," which features animal care paired alongside environment in one of the main sections. The information on "Animal Care & Canada's Natural Environment" links the essential role of both to the updated vision of a pristine and responsible Canadian beef industry, emphasizing that "Care for animals and the environment supports sustainable high-quality Canadian beef production."

Animal care is viewed as a part of the brand promise for both quality and sustainability, the latter of which is growing motivator for both customers and consumers, says Ron Glaser, VP Corporate Affairs and Operations. "The CBA is part of what I like to call the 'rebar in the concrete' of our brand – it's part of the base of our commitment, that we can talk about with authority and build our branding and messaging from."

Building consumer trust and loyalty

There are both functional attributes (such as taste and tenderness) and emotional attributes (such as environmental stewardship reputation) to a brand, note Baker and Glaser.

While animal care is most often associated with the emotional side, that makes it no less vital to the success of Canadian beef in the marketplace, says Glaser. "Both types of attributes are critical in order to capture both the heart and the mind of customers and consumers. Attributes such as animal care are particularly important, not just in the part of branding related to developing recognition and awareness, but in moving beyond that to our ultimate goal of building trust and loyalty."

Canada enjoys an overall positive reputation on the world stage for welfare practices in the production of beef, which is supported through key initiatives such as the recently updated national Code of Practice for the care and handling of beef cattle that is highlighted in the CBA. "It's an example of many areas related to quality and sustainability, where we believe as an industry we have a very good story to tell," says Glaser. "There's no doubt it will be important in driving forward the Canadian beef brand."

Reprintable with credit. This article is available for reprint, with acknowledgement of the source as Meristem Land and Science, www.meristem.com.

Meristem is a Calgary-based communications firm that specializes in writing about western agriculture, food and land use. More articles at www.meristem.com.




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