Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2009-2010 Contents NatioNal Farmers’ FederatioN aNNual review 2009-10 45
Why a ‘constant drip’ approach? When you’re
trying to effect attitudinal change at a societal
level people do not respond to the ‘in your face
approach’ – telling them they’ve got it wrong
and should appreciate farmers only gets their
collective back up.
Rather, the NFF needed to engage in the issues
the public think are important, demonstrate
the sectors’ tangibles and take the court of
public opinion with it in building appreciation.
To do so in just a couple of years is no mean
In fact, the once ubiquitous negative
environmental story hasn’t had any play
over the last three years. Just as importantly,
metropolitan media are better informed today
and regularly cite farming’s modern record
from the NFF’s Farm Facts materials as a matter-
Media hits do not mean anything in isolation.
Coverage must be prominent to drive issues
beyond the daily news cycle. But, again, just
volume and prominence are not enough of a
measure to indicate effective media use.
If coverage is incidental, meaning it is not ‘on
message’ in pressing a persuasive case in line
with your objectives then, again, it does not
mean much. All three criteria, in unison, are
essential to demonstrate effective media use.
Leaving aside the 2009-10 media analysis for
now, over March 2006-March 2009 NFF-led
issues saw its media profile record 32,398
metropolitan and major regional media
hits. Total print media saw the NFF generate
2,999 articles (65% in metropolitan press).
Importantly, the NFF achieved prominent
coverage (i.e. in the first 15 news pages) 86% of
More importantly, the NFF achieved prominent
‘on message’ coverage in 75% of these articles.
As for radio, total coverage recorded 26,715
items (news and current affairs) – 33%
metropolitan. Here the discrepancy is due
to the fact that there are exponentially more
regional than city stations.
These broadcast items included 14,240
(53%) interviews with NFF spokespeople and
achieved prominent ‘on message’ coverage
82% of the time.
Television coverage generated 2,684
items (news and current affairs) – 80%
on metropolitan T V sets. Of these items,
2,044 (76%) included interviews with NFF
spokespeople, achieving prominent ‘on
message’ coverage in 84% of these items.
As the analysis highlights, the NFF achieved
an exceptionally high ‘on message’ rating.
When combined with high prominence and
high volume, this ensured NFF’s key messages
were delivered and backed up across media
what’s the latest?
Over 2006-07 the NFF, again, engaged
CrosbyITextor to gauge how far the NFF had
come and inform where to go next.
Key findings in November 2006 showed
previous metropolitan attitudes, e.g . that
farmers are “antiquated” and “raping the
environment”, had dissipated dramatically.
There was solid recognition that “things have
changed”, that farmers have “moved on” and
“do things differently today”.
These tied in with feedback from farmers,
saying they no longer want to be seen as
‘battlers’ or ‘doing it tough’, but rather as
modern, efficient, professional, ‘in touch’ and
This gave the NFF good entree for leveraging
off the topical issues of the environment
– including drought and climate change,
weaving in modern farming messages around
use of new technology and environmentally-
responsible techniques (to break the subliminal
link to the past) and reminding people of the
important contribution farming makes to the
As part of the February 2007 market research,
focus groups in Melbourne and Sydney
revealed that NFF messages successfully
illustrated that farmers are innovative, modern,
and important to Australia.
Respondents noted their impressions:
“Farmers are important for Australia’s future
“Australia’s future lies in farmers”.
“It shows that farmers are progressing and
becoming more efficient”.
“ We are ahead, we’re in front compared to
“Australia’s future is in safe hands”.
“Environmentally, farmers do things
“ There is an economic danger in not
supporting Australia’s farmers”.
Armed with these insights the NFF went into
the 2007 federal election campaign knowing
its core messages were solid and a sound basis
to leverage public opinion, especially around
its drought management and preparedness
Now in its third year, the NFF’s Farm Facts provides
the credible basis to build modern farm messages.
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