Established in 1953, Clearbrook Grain & Milling is BC’s longest standing, privately-owned feed business, providing complete feeds for the commercial dairy and poultry industries in the Fraser Valley and Interior regions, as well as Vancouver Island. They also offer an extensive line of animal health and biosecurity products. Their innovation, expertise, industry knowledge and commitment to quality and service have given them a strong presence in the agriculture community.
Clearbrook Grain & Milling was faced with the task of trying to redefine their position in the marketplace while also taking steps to dispel some common misconceptions and misunderstandings about their brand, their product, their personnel and their operations. They turned to CREW Marketing Partners in Surrey to develop a campaign to help their customers see the “real” Clearbrook Grain & Milling. We recommended that they shift the focus of the sales team from selling a product to building a relationship.
Two separate yet related campaigns were employed, each building off the one previous. In the first campaign, we created a connection to the company by introducing the mill’s Operations Manager. Through an integrated campaign that included a direct mail piece, a video, a fishing lure and a coordinated sales effort, farmers were encouraged to come to the mill for tours to meet the staff and see the facilities. Upon completion of the tour, they would be entered to win a spot on a Fraser Valley sturgeon fishing trip.
The initial campaign was so successful that Clearbrook Grain & Milling wanted to keep that momentum going. Getting to know the people behind the brand was proving to be beneficial for both the sales team and the company. Wanting to continue building on the themes surrounding trust and relationships, they once again approached CREW Marketing Partners to help them come up with a unique strategy that would deliver results.
Brew up Something Different
To set the sales team up for long-term relationship success, CREW brewed up a perfectly-blended promotion campaign that put a new spin on an old tradition. In the past, farmers would gather at the feed store to share industry news over coffee and cookies. So while the company kitchen was being remodelled, we asked farmers to come in for a friendly visit and a cup of joe.
Customize the Experience
Personalized coffee mugs were used to make customers feel at home and – as the mugs were kept onsite at the office – to encourage return visits. Using the mug’s actual design, we developed a customized direct mail piece explaining the program and the story behind it. Contact information for individual sales reps was included to encourage direct follow-up. In-store signage and coffee-themed T-shirts for staff further supported the campaign.
Create an Agriculture Community
Reaching out to new and existing customers asking them to stop in, say hello and enjoy a cup of coffee resonated so well that Clearbrook Grain & Milling wanted to expand on this theme. “Coffee Time” was established as a weekly event, held every Wednesday starting at 10 AM. A new name was adopted – “Mug Up Wednesday” – to formally recognize it both internally and externally.
prospect conversion rate (combined campaigns)
prospect close rate (combined campaigns)
By properly identifying the challenge, CREW was able to identify solutions to help Clearbrook Grain & Milling achieve tangible results.
Letting us refocus the efforts of their sales team was a bold move on their part and we appreciated the confidence they placed in us. This was the strategy that was needed to strengthen their brand and enhance their profile in the agriculture community.
Making a long-term investment in building relationships rather than trying to boost short-term sales has also proven to be beneficial: Clearbrook Grain & Milling is enjoying record sales and strong momentum – months after the campaigns were wrapped up.
Equally as important is the fact that misconceptions and myths about the brand and its products are now a distant memory. The brand story is now being developed by the customers themselves.