Good branding requires companies to tell a good story. And the sign of a good story is when others start retelling it for you.
That’s what we’re attempting to do for Keystone Processors Ltd. It’s a new beef plant in Winnipeg. For now, it’s selling beef solely within the province, but it has big plans to reach premium niche markets internationally.
So what? Well, Keystone Processors is the first new beef plant in Manitoba in a generation and it also happens to be owned by Manitoba farmers. When the US shut its border to Canadian beef in 2003, Canada’s beef plants in Alberta and Ontario were swamped with local livestock. With no access to local plants, Manitoba cattle farmers were devastated. A handful of them recognized they had to change the way they did business. So they united behind a vision of marketing a new brand of Manitoba beef to the world – and to own every stage of production from farm to distribution, gate to plate.
Instead of rewarding massive multinational companies, profits will go to farmers – many of them running farms that have been in their families for generations. At the same time, the new plant could mark a turning point in the Manitoba food processing sector too, which has been shrinking in recent years.
We raise great beef here. That shouldn’t be any surprise with our clean air, wide open spaces and history of agricultural leadership. And we want Manitobans to be proud of the company and the farmers behind it.
The company has come a long way in just a few short years. Thanks to dogged determination and countless hours of hard work, the farmers’ dreams of a brighter future are becoming reality. In fact, just last week, the plant received major new funding from the federal government and the Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council.
For our part, we’ve begun telling this remarkable story wherever we can. We’ve had considerable success with media relations across Manitoba and in agricultural media across the country. Several international publications have also started following the company’s progress. These efforts are crucial as the company has to build its brand outside of our borders, but advertising is cost prohibitive to reach all the jurisdictions they need.
We’ve also been repeating the story locally, because we need Manitobans to buy in to the Keystone Processors success story first. To do this, we’ve been building a successful Facebook fan page, blogging and Tweeting all about the company. We’ve also run some small advertising campaigns, which we expect to ramp up in the months to come.
Early results have been encouraging. On a limited budget we’ve seen growth in Facebook fans, Twitter followers and, more importantly, traffic into the Keystone Processors’ online and real store to buy premium Manitoba beef.
That’s when you know the story is working: when people are buying.