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What does it take to sell more pork to U.S. consumers?

Today’s consumers are wanting more than just a well-rehearsed story. See what it takes to move the pork consumption needle here at home.

The average U.S. consumer is only purchasing fresh pork 6.2 times each year. How many of you think this is too low? If you are a pork producer, I hope you are saying that is way too low.

As America’s pig farmers, are you committed to doing what it takes to sell more pork? You have heard many leaders urge you to get involved and tell your pork story in different ways from one-on-one conversations to speaking to many people at once through social media platforms.

It is easy to understand how consumers connect with a product or brand through a powerful story. Research shows people emotionally connected to a food item or brand are loyal. 

So, what does it take to gain and sustain consumers’ love affair with pork?

Jeff Fromm, millennial marketing guy and FutureCast president, told the World Meat Congress that winning over the modern consumer is more than just telling the pork story but involves storyliving.

I know, I know. You are thinking what in the world is storyliving? Let’s take a closer look.

What is storyliving?
Google’s creative think-tank recently coined the term storyliving, which describes how the user interacts with a company’s brand or message through the experience they have while immersed in virtual reality. It is about presenting a narrative to the audience that has a beginning, middle and a conclusion or call to action.

Taking it down to the farmer level, storyliving is modern storytelling, enabling consumers to experience your farm’s narrative. Marketing experts often refer to this as a brand’s DNA in contrast to what they do or sell.

Breaking it down further, storytelling is talking at someone. Storyliving is starting the dialogue with the community. There’s something you can wrap your head around as a farmer. Starting a conversation with your community — right?

Fromm takes it a step further and says storyliving is just that — living your story every minute, every day of your life, including every person in your operation from employees to family members. The youngest generations of consumers have always lived in an instant world. Products are easily accessible locally or online, and the information is definitely available in a moment’s notice.

It is too easy for consumers to check you out. And one thing they can see right through is fakeness. If your story you are telling is not genuine, then it is going to be a problem. “You are going to have to live your story. Your employees have to believe it. Your vendors have to believe it. Your entire ecosystem has to deliver that story,” Fromm stresses.

So, it comes back to company culture and core values?
Yes. The same thing that draws people to work for you also draws people to a company, brand and product. It is a connection on a deeper level. Today’s consumers are about values and connecting with companies that share their values. As U.S. pig farmers you care for the pigs, people and planet, but you must do more than talk about it. You must show your level of care. You must show your core values as a farm, company and brand. And that is not an easy task.

How do we connect the dots?
Still, it does come down to understanding your consumer. Who are you selling pork to? Do you know what actually drives their purchasing decisions? One consumer is driven by price and taste, and others are all about the values. 

While there are many consumer research data available, marketing experts say the best way is to actually talk to your consumer. Sit down with your consumer, talk about them for a change and not just talk at them. Experts suggest forming a focal group or sounding board and having genuine dialogues accepting the good and bad news about your product.

What you want me to sit down with a Millennial or Gen Z? Yes. And the urban mom and dad, or the person next door or across the county or across the nation. It is a refreshing conversation and always eye-opening. If you want to sell more of your product to the consumer, then you must think like that consumer. It is about building a relationship and creating an authentic connection.

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