I recently had the chance to attend the Dairy Experience Forum in St. Paul, Minn. In it’s second year, this two-day conference was co-hosted by checkoff organizations, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and Midwest Dairy. The purpose of the event was to help checkoff and farm organizations better understand customers and how their values, shopping habits and consumption patterns impact the dairy community.
The opening session explored how to drive “brand love”. Jeff Fromm, president of Futurecast, provided insight on Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2010) and the six mindsets that drive brand love:
Social circle – is your brand part of social conversations?
Self – does your brand create an emotional connection?
Innovative – is your brand constantly improving itself?
Trusted – “you gotta win inside (in their hearts) to win outside”
Accessible – is your brand hyper-useful and hyper-convenient?
Purpose – does brand add good to society?
Fromm challenged the audience to re-imagine partnerships for milk and dairy and to rethink how dairy businesses operate in the highly emotional category of food.
A panel of Generation Z consumers provided a peek into the minds of some of our youngest customers. Only a few said they would sit and drink a glass of milk, and most only have 15-minute breaks at work or between classes. To meet their needs, dairy companies should provide dairy foods in innovative, convenient and accessible forms they can eat on the go.
Innovation and food trends were major themes throughout the event. There was also time on the agenda for checkoff organizations to discuss ideas with farmers and other dairy experts.
Day two of the event included an e-commerce panel discussing how dairy could fit into the growing trend of online grocery shopping and delivery. Alexandra Lazares, senior product manager at Amazon, encouraged the audience to own the entire process from farm to customer, because the customer experience directly impacts our success. Farmers should think about how they can be more engaged in the process of what happens to milk once it leaves the farm. Learn more about the products your milk is made into and share that with people you talk to about dairy. It helps them connect to what you do every day because they can relate it to the final product they eat.