FOOD-CHAIN COMMUNICATIONS, LLC ESTABLISHED
Jul. 30, 2007
Source: Food-Chain Communications news release
Contact: Kevin Murphy
What would cause a 43-year-old publishing executive to leave a cozy job as brand director, where he was earning a good salary, receiving health & dental care benefits, a 401k and profit sharing package, plus, vacation time totaling over one month annually for the uncertain world of a new company start-up? In a word, FOOD!
On March 30 of this year Kevin Murphy left the familiar surroundings of Vance Publishing Corporation, a Kansas-based publishing company where he had worked for the past 14 years, to start a new company that he feels can serve a unique niche in food and agribusiness.
"We want to help food-chain stakeholders communicate more effectively," said Murphy, owner and founder of Food-Chain Communications, LLC. "That means all the people who touch our food either directly or indirectly on its path to the consumer."
Studies have shown that although our food system produces the safest, most abundant food in the world, there is a gap in effective communication. This gap is occurring at the same time the consumer is questioning the way a product moves from conception to consumption. Issues like animal welfare, labor, agroterrorism, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, obesity, organics, sustainability, etc. have all worked themselves into the public's consciousness. Therefore, all stakeholders need to be ready to explain the value they pose to the overall food equation no matter how significant or minute that role is.
Or, according to Murphy, they risk being cut out of the system altogether.
"If you're not telling the story of your value, either other food-chain members can dismiss you or worse yet, position you negatively."
In the United States there are 400+ advocacy groups who push and pull their view of how food should be produced, processed, transported and sold. Add onto this the fact that there are over 25 different federal agencies that oversee food in some capacity and you can understand the need for a renewed emphasis on communications.
With the void of a single, trusted voice on food issues, consumers are more readily turning to their favorite brands for information. "This provides a golden opportunity," says Murphy. "Brands who choose to educate and understand what happens to the product before and after they come in contact with it, will solidify consumers confidence. Those that don't, risk losing ground."
With this new communications opportunity however also comes responsibility.
"We have to be careful that marketing does not become the art of deception in food," said Murphy. "Marketing is about communicating your essence and what you really stand for not tricking or scaring the customer into buying your product."
Murphy feels the way that he became involved in food provides a unique advantage for future clients. "I didn't come into the world of food through the traditional channels of working for a Kraft, McDonalds or Sysco. I. began my career in food working as an account executive for a top animal health company. This knowledge proves invaluable to companies who don't understand what happens to a product at the point of origination."
After working at a top Kansas City advertising agency Murphy says he went to work for Vance Publishing Corporation and that they had a product at almost every point along the food-chain from production agriculture through to grocery retailing.
"This gave me a perspective of how the whole system works not just one point along the chain," said Murphy.
From that experience Murphy felt the timing for launching his own company was right. "It was now or never. The emotion around food is at an all-time high and so is the misinformation that haunts our food-chain."
Food-Chain Communications will be a total communications firm with emphasis areas specifically geared toward clients in food and agribusiness. They have identified the following eight pillars of business:
1. Strategic Marketing (featuring Stakeholder Engagement Plans)
3. Sales & Promotion (both consultation and actual selling if the product is right)
4. Custom Publishing (print and electronic)
5. Crisis Planning
6. Involvement Marketing (events, roundtables, etc.)
7. Public Speaking
8. New Products (communication products Food-Chain Communications plans to introduce).