Georgia Grown: Designing and Building a Statewide Marketing and Economic Development Program

Posted in Marketing and Media Campaigns

Situation Summary

Previously supported by the legislature, a state marketing program to help Georgia farmers was never fully implemented and had lost its funding. ST!R Marketing and sister agency Object 9 were asked by Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black to design and implement a program to reintroduce Georgia Grown at no cost to the state, but that would help grow agricultural economies across the state’s 159 counties.

Insight and Strategy Summary

Reviving a moribund state program to market Georgia farm products and services was an opportunity to provide value and services to Georgia farmers while building a positive image of the Department of Agriculture as an agency in tune with its constituents’ needs.

Using a small grant to seed the program, the new Georgia Grown program would depend greatly on the financial support of its members. ST!R Marketing created a multi-tiered membership structure with fees and benefits to fund the program while accommodating businesses of all sizes and interests.  Delivering value was key to ensuring members remained Georgia Grown participants long-term. All collateral materials and technology development were developed by Object 9, providing a fresh, modern face for Georgia agriculture.

Solution/Work Summary

To build and market a membership-based program, ST!R planned and achieved:

  • Partnerships with public and private agencies to promote Georgia Grown by providing content for their publications, resulting in $1.2MM free media
  • Creating the Georgia Grown e-newsletter and developing a database of 7,000-plus subscribers
  • Designing and producing the Georgia Grown Symposium, an event with five focus areas and workshops led by experts. The 150-person program sold out with a waiting list
  • Creating the Georgia Grown brand identity and all supporting materials that brought the brand to life in a variety of retail and promotional settings
  • Establishing a significant digital footprint to engage consumers through the brand’s web, mobile and social platforms

Integrated sales, public relations and advertising activities that touch every part of the supply chain, from the farm to the consumer.”

Results Summary

  • 700+ new members the first year
  • More than $1.2 million in free advertising/promotion offered by partners via their proprietary media
  • Creation of an email database with more than 7,000+ subscribers
  • Establishment of the Georgia Grown Restaurant Program in partnership with the Georgia Restaurant Association


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