The Arkansas soybean industry contributes $2 billion annually to the state. Every soybean farmer pays into the commodity’s Checkoff program. Those funds are administered by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board (ASPB), which invests in research, promotion and education.
In 2016, ComGroup conducted a content audit of commodity boards across the state. Our team discovered that many of the commodities presented facts about its industry and contributions to the state’s economy in a video format. From that research, we proposed a short film that summarized the history and significance of the Arkansas soybean industry. During our research, we also discovered that soybeans were the only commodity not documented in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, an authoritative source of information about the history, geography and culture of Arkansas.
As a result, our team authored and submitted a written history of the state’s soybean industry in 2016. In 2017, we developed an accompanying short film to document the industry’s history and significance to our state. It’s an important endeavor because agriculture is our state’s largest industry, annually contributing $16 billion to the state’s economy.
During the annual planning session with the board, we presented the project for consideration. The objective of the film was to communicate the impact of the industry to Arkansas consumers and soybean producers. The secondary objective was to have a short film to show to international trade groups visiting the site to learn about and evaluate the state’s soybean industry.
The goal was to earn at least 3,000 views within the first year of publishing the film. The creative concept was simple to show scenes from the agriculture process while mixing in important facts and statistics about the industry.
The team also planned to use the film to drive awareness for the industry through statewide media as a public relations tactic. We planned to launch the film in November, which our team worked with the governor’s office to proclaim as Arkansas Soybean Month. The call-to-action was to visit the board’s website or YouTube channel to watch the film. We also shared the film via the board’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.
The Arkansas Soybean Documentary was produced with a combination of live shots and b-roll sourced from the United Soybean Board. All footage used in the film was shot in Arkansas. A challenge was sourcing harvest footage since production took place during the summer months, and harvest takes place in October and November. To address this challenge, the production team sourced existing footage made available to our team from the national checkoff organization.
Our team developed a content outline to be used during production, which ensured the most important information was communicated and the board’s objective was included in every aspect of the film. We elected to forgo interviews and opted to include beautiful scenery with facts and statistics as the focus throughout the film. We chose to keep the film under two minutes based on research of viewership length for videos within the agriculture topic on YouTube. The video was produced in during the late summer and early fall of 2017 and we began distribution in November 2017, which is designated Arkansas Soybean Month\.
The tactics for promotion was the board’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels to drive traffic to the board’s website. We also showed the video to international trade groups visiting the state on farm and facility tours.
Based on feedback we’ve received at trade shows, from farmers across the state, trade groups and consumers, the video series has been well received. The video has drawn more than 3,500 total views since it was published eight months ago. The documentary is the most viewed video on the board’s Facebook page since it was published on November 1, 2017.