4 Ways to Create Next-Generation Messaging for Biologicals

Biologicals are among the fastest growing agricultural categories, and that growth is only expected to accelerate. Adoption of biological crop protection products in specialty crop fields, orchards, vineyards, and controlled environment production is a true success story. In other areas, including row crops, biostimulants are getting a lot of well-deserved attention. Across the board, the perception of these products is generally positive.

So why does it feel like we are still staring at an ocean of untapped opportunity with this technology?

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We talked with countless sources for Meister Media Worldwide’s recent Biological Crop Protection & Plant Health Annual Report, and we heard it repeatedly: As successful as the industry has been in growing the use of biological products, there are still many people who have yet to receive the message. They might be relatively unaware of biologicals, or maybe don’t understand the products that are available or how they work. Some remain unconvinced about efficacy and affordability. Using biologicals as a preventive in a system built around solving the problem you see in front of you right now calls for a big shift in the production mindset for many people.

When information isn’t getting through to an audience, it’s often wise to change the message or how it’s being delivered. In this case, it might be best to build on the solid foundation that’s already there. As part of this project, I reached out to contacts across the industry on how to create next-generation message for biologicals. Basically, I asked for their opinions on what message might resonate best with the growers, ag retailers, distributors, educators and researchers, policymakers, and consumers who stand to benefit from the use of biological solutions. And how should the industry communicate that message to them?

The responses I received were thoughtful and fascinating, and among them, four common threads emerged. Here’s a snapshot from the report’s introductory article “Building a New Message Around Biologicals”:

  1. Appeal to the Desire for a More Sustainable Production System. “The world is currently undergoing a profound and inevitable transformation toward more sustainable agriculture,” said Michael Pratt,  Commercial Director, Lallemand Plant Care. “The theory and practice of regenerative agriculture is getting traction. A critical factor in the success of regenerative agriculture for growers will be how, as an industry, we can provide demonstrable benefits over the short- and long-term.”
  2. Education Is Everyone’s Responsibility. “Marketplace education doesn’t happen overnight, but everyone in agriculture should feel a responsibility to help educate the supply chain and consumers on sustainable agriculture and the benefits of biologicals,” said Derrick Tice, National Marketing Manager, Innvictis BioScience. “Biological products offer an alternative that is here to stay and educating the public will be key to their success.”
  3. Demonstrate Real-World Results and Set Clear Expectations. “Manufacturers have a responsibility to prove the efficacy and benefits of these products and be able to explain the fundamentals of how these products really work,” said Dale Hanke, U.S. Director of Marketing, Stoller USA. ”Education and proven results are key.  We have to prove, through multiple product trials, third-party in-field trials, and on-farm results, that there is a financial benefit for the grower in using these products over what they are currently using, along with other critical benefits like safety and sustainability.”
  4. Communicate Clearly and Learn from Everyone. “With the notion that the best communication is always rooted in frequent and radical transparency, the stakeholders must work collectively to share publicly the successes and failures to hone the best recommendations and benefits of these products,” said Patrick Clark, Technical Marketing Manager, BioSafe Systems.

Real-world benefits have brought the biologicals industry a long way in the past 10 years. Implementing ideas like these will go a long way toward enabling similar growth in the decade to come. To read the full article from the Biological Crop Protection & Plant Health Annual Report, click here.