Branding is Key Marketing Tool for U.S. Cotton
Brands sell, and they are an important marketing tool.
Bruce Atherley, executive director of Cotton Council International (CCI), stressed the importance of effective communication and connecting the value chain during the 61st annual meeting of Plains Cotton Growers (PCG) April 6 in Lubbock.
Brands mean trust, which sells products, and cotton is no exception, said Atherley, who brought his successful marketing and brand experience to CCI to help increase the global share of U.S. cotton. He reviewed some of the successful promotional efforts that CCI has been doing to enhance the attributes and presence of U.S. cotton in the world through the COTTON USA brand.
Although U.S. cotton occupies 40% of global export trade, it is important to increase the share further explained Atherley. New ideas have to be conveyed to brands to create new products and enhance the use-value of cotton, which CCI has been doing to create new product opportunities.
As an example, driving growth in Asia is a priority for the U.S. industry. As part of customer education, CCI has created the “Mill Exchange Program,” where executives from mills that use U.S. cotton interact with non-users to help create new market opportunities. This project has so far involved Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, replicating this program in other parts of the world is expected to create new markets.
Enhancing trust via branding, innovation, and effective communication with the entire value-chain are needed to develop markets, said Atherley.
Steve Verett, cotton producer and executive vice president of PCG, added that since 80% of U.S. cotton is exported, developing markets overseas is needed, and being a reliable supplier is important.