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Marketing Heroes of Kent - Family farming business in the Garden of England reach a national network of buyers

G.H. Dean & Co. LTD are a family farming business based at Hempstead Farm, Sittingbourne, Kent. Established in 1922, the business now boasts 1200 ha of cereals, 200 ha of apples, pears, cherries and plums as well as 2500 breading sheep on 570 ha of grass, much of which is a designated area of environmental importance in the Swale Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest. G.H Dean’s produce is differentiated from that of competitors by their positive stance on sustainable agriculture and traceability. With this business model, G.H. Dean has been able to not only support the Kent community through farm stalls but also supply national retailers. The company’s success is evidenced by their 79.6% growth in revenues in the last four years, earning them a place on the MegaGrowth 50 list 2015.

 

Establishing your business’ purpose and clearly communicating what you offer is the first step in getting the most out of your marketing. G.H. Dean & Co.’s simple website is concise, with a Mission Statement establishing the company’s pro-sustainability message which responds to the market’s current emphasis on environmental responsibility. The site also clearly advertises their professional accreditations, which set their produce apart from that of competitors. The site is easy to use with clear contact details and an online newsletter, potentially increasing consumer engagement with the latest developments at the business.

 

G.H Dean’s highly effective offline marketing strategy is comprised of a successful system of professional memberships and accreditations. Firstly, G.H. Dean & Co LTD work with ABB Marketing LTD Produce Organisation, a marketing agency exclusive to fruit producers. As a result, the business benefits from the pooled knowledge and experience of a wider farming community as well as from ABB’s continuous innovative trials on their produce. Additionally, working with ABB Marketing grants G.H. Dean access to ABB’s established network of long-term customer relationships, enabling them to make contact with a range of potential buyers.

 

Secondly, G.H. Dean is a member of LEAF- Linking Environment and Farming- the leading organisation in promotion of sustainable food and farming. Sustainable agriculture encompasses the use of farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities and animal welfare. This enables G.H. Dean to display the LEAF Marque, sought after by farmers, accepted by retailers and increasingly recognised by consumers. This emblem displays to buyers that G.H. Dean’s produce was cultivated in a manner that respected the Kentish environment and ecosystem as well as the farmers themselves. LEAF also facilitates knowledge exchange among farmers and researchers through their nationwide events and Innovation Centres, gaining businesses access to a huge community – around 25% UK fruit and vegetable are grown by LEAF Marque certified businesses. Furthermore, LEAF organises public engagement events such as Open Farm Sundays, which attracted 291,000 visitors in 2015. Seeking LEAF accreditation was a strategic marketing decision, which has gained G.H. Dean valuable national exposure in the market.

 

Finally, G.H. Dean has acquired the coveted Red Tractor Logo. Red Tractor is the largest food assurance scheme in the UK. The label, clearly displayed on £12 billion worth of food and drink annually, guarantees the produce meets exacting standards of food safety, environmental protection and traceability. The logo is highly valued by retailers, with big names such as Aldi and Reynold’s Greengrocer looking to offer Red Tractor accredited produce.

 

G.H. Dean’s marketing strategy clearly conveys what they do and what makes their produce desirable in a crowded market. The business has sought out professional relationships, helping them to benefit from shared expertise and open up additional revenue streams. By gaining certified accreditations, including the LEAF Marque and Red Tractor logo, G.H. Dean add credibility to their produce, encouraging business from market leading retailers. G.H. Dean & Co. LTD is a socially and environmentally responsible family farm that has used marketing to add value to their business while giving back to the county, earning them the title of one of our Marketing Heroes of Kent.

 

 


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