You are the farm, look after yourself

Strategies, campaigns and member communications for the voice of UK agriculture.

Helping the NFU to promote the benefits of membership.

The National Farmers’ Union is an industry association for farmers in England and Wales, providing a collective voice of their 55,000 members for the UK’s agricultural industry.

We first started working with the NFU in 2016 when they briefed us to create new identities for two member categories, including those hard to reach young farmers. The refreshed Student and Young Farmer brand was used across their digital platforms and promotional materials to encourage membership.

Since then, we’ve conducted large scale consultations with members to influence the content of future NFU owned publications, generating the insights to informed the strategy for some significant member benefit campaigns including NFU Private Health and NFU Energy.

The Guide

We continue to support the NFU with their quarterly promotional newsletter and design for their annual conference. The Guide is an opportunity to highlight key services and discounts available to members. It has become a regular featured insert in the NFU’s Farmer & Grower magazine, a title with 50,000 readers, and a key promotional tool at agricultural events across the UK.

Annual Conference

The NFU’s two-day annual conference sets the tone for the farming year and is one of the agricultural sector’s biggest events. Thousands of farmers, politicians and members of trade organisations come together to discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the food and farming industry. It’s also the NFU’s opportunity to share its priorities for the next 12 months.

Farmer & Grower Renewal Pack

Every September, the NFU issues the renewal pack to its 50,000 members. It’s the ideal opportunity to highlight what the association has been doing for members over the last 12 months and encourage them to continue their membership for another year.

In 2018 the pack needed to put members at the heart of the campaign, allowing them to describe the benefits they receive from their membership. After the successful photoshoot for the Private Health campaign 12 months prior, the NFU commissioned Ian Forsyth again to shadow eight farmers and their families to capture authentic images of real life on the farm.

The NFU is always looking for ways to improve its wider member benefits. Its private health insurance offer had been on hold for over six months and it was time for a relaunch.

rbl was appointed to conduct a strategic review of the offer and create a brand campaign that would resonate with an audience unwilling to engage in the subject of ill-health or injury. We spoke directly to a proportion of NFU members, taking the time to listen to their real needs, which provided an essential insight.

As a hardy bunch, most members had a healthy level of cynicism towards private healthcare, seeing it as a luxury not a necessity. Yet most also recognised that their business is exposed if a key person is off work through illness or injury – and more often than not, that key person is the farmer themselves.

A straight-talking, down-to-earth campaign

Using this insight, we created a campaign with a simple proposition to appeal to this busy, pragmatic and hard-to-reach audience: You are the farm, look after yourself.

The campaign is true to life, serious and supportive, using imagery of real NFU members, messaging that is direct and to the point and a clear call to action: Get back up when you need it.

rbl worked with Ian Forsyth, a gritty news and documentary photographer, who spent a day shadowing a range of farmers across the country to capture authentic and inspiring farm.

Campaign launch

The creative has been rolled out across regional briefing materials, promotional leaflets, print advertising in NFU owned titles, digital promotion and social media activity.

Results: 450% increase in enquiries in first 6 months of campaign

We selected rbl as we knew they would engage with and truly understand the motivations of our members. They’ve used these insights to create a powerful and striking campaign that promotes our compelling offer and captures the attention of our members to drive enquiries.

Tim Crocker, Head of Business Services, NFU