Measurement of the effectiveness of a marketing and public relations program is not easy. Typical metrics cannot be used when determining if activity designed to build awareness of processed raspberries and to educate users about their benefits and advantages over the long-term has achieved its goals. The Council conducted a consumer survey earlier this year to establish baseline values for attitudes about processed raspberries, and to quantify usage and awareness relative to competing fruits, and will conduct similar surveys among foodservice and food manufacturers this year. These surveys will be conducted again in a few years to see if the needle has been moved.
But how can growers determine the value of the investment the Council is making to build demand and secure the long-term viability of the industry? This newsletter is one way the Council informs members of the industry about the marketplace and with its programs. The website, www.redrazz.org is another source for information. If you follow social media, there are links on the website to four platforms the Council currently supports.
Better yet, an interactive education opportunity exists if you are in the Northwest. Please plan on attending the Small Fruit Conference in Lynden, WA, December 2-4, 2015 to learn firsthand about how your money is being invested. On Wednesday morning, Council staff will present ongoing plans for the marketing program and will be prepared to answer your questions. Later on Wednesday the Council’s science advisor will present information on berries and health.
Our marketing program, launched only one year ago, has seen a number of articles, posts, and blogs about processed raspberries and the industry, the result of the relationships that have been built. This is only the beginning, as there is an expectation that publicity targeting consumers will continue to take center stage. The foundation for a strong trade program, focused on food service chains and food manufacturers, has been laid. It is a program that will be just as dynamic but slower in showing results due to the nature of the trade, but one that will sustain demand growth into the future.
We have made progress with funded research this past year, and expect to see between four and six papers published over the next twelve months on the benefits of raspberry consumption. With eleven projects now being funded, raspberry papers will be published on a more regular basis, providing fuel for the marketing program.
The problems we experienced this past summer are a part of agriculture and should not cause us to question the Processed Raspberry Research and Promotion program we worked many years to put in place. It is a program with a vision to the future. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out the website, follow the Council on social media, and if you’re in Washington this December, come out to the Small Fruit Conference to see for yourself. I know you will be impressed with the effort that is being expended on your behalf.