Coordinating communication with cotton producers during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a bit of a tight-rope act.
Normally, The Cotton Board communications team implements a variety of tactics to distribute information from the Cotton Research and Promotion Program to the masses of U.S. cotton producers. We use ag media, digital marketing, advertising and social media to communicate with our audience on a comprehensive level. We also use in-person, on-farm visits and large events and trade shows to drive home our messages and connect face-to-face with our stakeholders.
Although pandemic-related travel restrictions and social distancing recommendations have halted many of The Cotton Board’s planned in-person outreach efforts, our team knew this was not the time for us to go silent. We did not want to jeopardize the relationships we have built with cotton producers over the years. Instead, we wanted to establish our team as a go-to source for information.
Cotton & Coffee Zoom Series
With the cancellation of many industry meetings, The Cotton Board has created a virtual meeting series to keep cotton producers connected with the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. The Cotton Board is asking producers to wake up with us.
In the time it takes to drink a morning cup of coffee, they will get an update from Cotton Incorporated. Each session features a leading cotton industry expert and includes a 30-minute presentation with time allotted for discussion and questions at the end of the episode.
Topics range from agricultural research to consumer marketing. But they all tell the story of how research and promotion are being used to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton.
We have scheduled new episodes of the Cotton & Coffee Zoom series for every three weeks through the end of 2020.
Cotton Board Chairman Jimmy Webb, a producer from Leary, Georgia, is one of the hundreds of cotton producers who have called in for a Cotton & Coffee session.
“I’m so glad The Cotton Board is hosting these Cotton & Coffee sessions,” Webb says. “We all know that producers are busy, so I appreciate being able to log on and get a quick and concise update on how Cotton Incorporated is working to increase the demand for my cotton. Since so many industry meetings have been canceled, this gives me the chance to stay connected and even see many of my cotton-industry friends.”
All of the Cotton & Coffee Zoom sessions begin at 7:30 a.m. Central Time. Preregistration for the series is required, so please reach out to your Cotton Board regional communication manager or to me, and we will make sure to get you all the information needed to participate.
As the pandemic has evolved, so has our communication, resulting in more targeted producer outreach. We are constantly learning to adapt and use new technology to facilitate successful communication with the cotton-growing community.
Gorman is The Cotton Board’s director of communications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.