Guy’s news: “Come on dad; everyone’s a brand”

So said my 20 year old son, in response to me moaning that I spend more time managing a brand than growing vegetables. When he was younger, my biggest decisions featured tractors, crop varieties, soil and planting dates; today images, fonts and snappy quotes get almost as much attention as my fields. His candid words of advice as we picked wild garlic were to, “get over myself ”. He makes music and DJs now and then – if his personal brand is strong enough he and his mates occasionally get paid to run nights in clubs and parties.

So said my 20 year old son, in response to me moaning that I spend more time managing a brand than growing vegetables. When he was younger, my biggest decisions featured tractors, crop varieties, soil and planting dates; today images, fonts and snappy quotes get almost as much attention as my fields. His candid words of advice as we picked wild garlic were to, “get over myself ”. He makes music and DJs now and then – if his personal brand is strong enough he and his mates occasionally get paid to run nights in clubs and parties. His sophisticated, almost innate marketing savvy made me feel like a pre-digital dinosaur.

About the time he was born, my marketing expert sister had to explain to me what a brand was. I still prefer the term ‘reputation’ as it is based on real rather than managed experiences; meeting us, tasting our vegetables, eating in the Field Kitchen. In our globally traded, digital dominated age, real experience is becoming a rarity. Somehow we have to convey to ever busier people (most of whom we will never meet) what we do, how we do it and why our vegetables are the best. It is indisputable that most decisions are emotional and images are hugely powerful influencers in that process; words, facts and arguments are just too challenging for our (according to psychologists) ‘cognitive miser’ minds.

Despite occasional navel gazing, we remain unabashed veg enthusiasts at Riverford, so the imagery that supports our reputation should celebrate vegetables. Given that we can’t get away from marketing, it would also be great if it is pleasing to look at, so we are getting rid of that prosaic green splodge and replacing it with a plethora of vegetables. The process of design has been uncomfortably self-conscious but I love the result; you’ll notice the changes on the website, your boxes, communications, then vans, bags and the rest. I resent every penny sucked into marketing, so to avoid waste, the change will be gradual as we use up old stock. I hope to avoid gazing into dark orifices for a while, so I hope you like the new look as much as I do.

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