Managing Risk for Your Farm Bureau Brand

During the Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference earlier this year, Judy Rupnow with Morgan Myers was on hand to discuss the Farm Bureau Brand.  During her workshop, Judy shared insights on developing and defending the Farm Bureau brand, defining brand attributes, building the brand and protecting it. How can you build the Farm Bureau Brand in your community?

What is a brand?  How do you build it, and how do we protect it?

A brand is a non-generic name for a product.  It’s more than a term, it’s a feeling.  Your brand is what you say, what you do and who you associate with.   A brand is also what the public thinks about when they hear your name.   A brand is factual and emotional.

What is your brand personality?

Is your organization or business known for being formal or funny, big or small, boring or surprising, reserved or outspoken, stylish or classic, premium or inexpensive?  In essence your brand is what people say about your organization when you are not in the room.  What they say about you can change in an instant with every action and every step you take.

Why is your brand important?

75 percent of a corporate value is intangible in the form of their brand.  Like a corporation, your Farm Bureau’s most valuable asset is your good name and your reputation.  Your brand and how it’s protected can determine membership’s loyalty to Farm Bureau. 

What Can Leaders Do in Order to Protect Farm Bureau’s Brand?

Farm Bureau leaders need to be consistent.  Our grass roots structure and policy development process helps in this, but we must adhere to that policy.
Leaders need to “walk the walk”.  If you are publically recognized as a leader for your Farm Bureau at any level your personal actions can affect your Farm Bureau positively as well as negatively.  Leaders, please realize that social media impacts your brand 24/7.
Give back.  When your Farm Bureau donates time or money to a great cause that certainly helps your brand.  However, you must be careful in deciding what to support and who to sponsor because you will be associated with that individual or organization.
Your work towards legislative outreach and taking a stance on important policy will also further your brand, but be careful on picking your fights. 

What Can Farm Bureaus Do To Protect the Brand?

  • Your board of directors may want to develop a code of conduct for leaders.
  • Have leaders review social media guidelines so that expectations are clear. 
  • Carefully consider the types of activities your Farm Bureau endorses or sponsors. 
  • Farm Bureau has a detailed and easy to understand manual for guidelines when using the marks.  Have your county Farm Bureau board of directors review this guide. 
  • Choose carefully who you associate with.  Even when you agree with another organization on an issue, you need to scrutinize individuals who are involved in that organization.