State-Sponsored Agriculture Promotion Programs: Growing Brands
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As a matter of public policy, many states promote local agricultural products to consumers through a state-sponsored agriculture promotion program. These programs seek to increase consumer awareness of and demand for in-state products, and developing an umbrella brand for promotion is key to this mission. The purpose of this research is to describe the inputs and strategies that state-sponsored agriculture promotion programs across the 50 states employ to build their brands. Drawing on branding and advertising literature, certain programmatic inputs and strategies were identified as important to brand building and became the basis for a categories conceptual framework. The categories in the framework are program budget, advertising platforms, market segmentation, and brand image. Survey research and content analysis of program websites or webpages were used to investigate these categories. The survey was distributed to 38 state-sponsored agriculture promotion programs and returned by 12, a 31.6% response rate. Findings show that programs have modest budgets with which to generate brand awareness. Traditional and point-of-purchase advertising are highly utilized advertising platforms, and a majority of programs participate in social media. Programs are soliciting market research to target specific segments of the consumer market, and many programs are managing multiple brands. The implications of these findings and areas for future research are also discussed.