The nights are light, we’re having some glorious sunshine and it’s warming up! And in my farming days that would mean field work would start in earnest again, nurturing the young crops to ensure they grew to their full potential for a good harvest …
After the long cold winter days, this always felt like an exciting time and it was very important to maximise the financial return from the year’s hard work.
“Nurturing involves different things!”
Firstly, nurturing is watching and to keep a close eye on things meant being out in the fields in your wellies, inspecting the crops. We would be looking out for signs of shortage of nutrients, testing the soil if needs be, which meant we could apply the right nutrients at the right time to ensure healthy growth.
We had to be vigilant for pests and that can cover a multitude of problems, from weeds to pests and diseases. As with all these potential threats, recognising there is a problem early on and distinguishing what the threat is, is paramount. I hope not to bore you, but in the weed world there’s a big difference between a broadleaf weed (often relatively easy and cheap to treat) and black grass, which, from what I understand is posing a real headache for UK cereal farmers at the moment, the best treatment seeming to be to not grow cereals in an infected field for 2 or 3 years.
Pests can range from microscopic organisms through to birds. Pigeons can ravage a field of winter oilseed rape and it could be an endless task chasing flocks of these birds off. We even set traps for certain pests, like the pea moth beetle and whilst the memory is a little faint, we used to set up small cardboard tents with a scent in and then go and count the number of larvae twice a day. Once it got to a specific number it was straight on with a treatment otherwise the blighters would win.
Although it has to be said, however meticulous you are, there is always the potential for a freak of nature to destroy your plans and more often than not it is the weather that throws these spanners in the work. A lot of rain can stop dead the use of tractors on fields, a late frost can scorch young leaves and hard hail can flatten crops which will never recover (and of course hail can be experienced at any time of the year and it can be soul destroying to see a healthy and strong crop flatten by a freak hail storm in June). Such is life.
“Done consistently, nurturing would reap rewards 100 fold!”
Nurturing is just as important in the world of business branding. Kim and I spend much of our time designing and implementing powerful branding for our clients and that is, of course, an exciting time for both the client and for us, seeing lots of hard work and creative energy coming to fruition. But once a brand is launched it needs nurturing for it to achieve its full potential. Without that attention, a new brand is at great risk of at best, stunted growth and at worse, withering and dying.
Your branding is the culmination of the visual image of your unique message, your values, your character and what you mean to your audience and customers. And this needs to be delivered to your preferred audience so they can engage with you, understand what they will gain by choosing you and how you will make them feel. Just sticking it out there and hoping it will deliver is akin to throwing a handful of seeds into a field and expecting a bumper crop!
There is a strong argument, particularly from direct response marketers, that they can achieve great results without worrying about branding. I accept that this is true in some instances. The Internet marketing industry relies far less on branding, relying on creating and distributing a flow of content by email, social media, landing pages and squeeze pages (drop me an email if you don’t know what they are; I’ve only just really found out myself).
I personally know some businesses achieving massive success with this approach. But, as with all things, one cure does’t work for all. And, in fact, what I am really excited about (a bit like how I felt when Spring arrived back in my farming days), are the results achievable by combining powerful branding with direct response marketing techniques. You get the best from both Worlds – a clearly positioned high value brand as the cornerstone to generating qualified sales leads and potential business opportunities.
“Combining powerful branding and the nurturing effect of direct response marketing can be particularly effective!”
This is especially true in industries like speciality food, premium hospitality and technology based businesses – whether that’s specialist manufacturing, engineering or hi-tech services.