Laying the Foundation for Growth
by Judi Adams
Grain Foods Foundation
After several months of planning, negotiating, selecting a public-relations agency and soliciting funding, the Grain Foods Foundation is a reality. This not-for-profit association was the brainchild of the American Bakers Association and North American Millers’ Association, and soon BEMA, the baking industry suppliers association, and the American Institute of Baking jumped on board. The mission, although not yet official, is to regain the healthful image of grain-based foods.
Mullen Agency from Wyndham, Mass., was selected last year to be the public-relations agency for our association. They are working hard to launch the first of four major elements in mid-October.
The elements include the following outreach programs: Clinical Education, Public Education, Media Relations and Developing a Web Presence. Each element includes strategically timed tactics designed to build the case that a balanced diet, representing all foods, in conjunction with physical activity, is an optimal solution for achieving and maintaining long-term health and wellness.
Clinical Education: The Foundation is in the process of assembling a clinical advisory board covering a wide range of disciplines, including nutrition, sports medicine, cardiology, pediatrics, family health, obstetrics and gynecology and endocrinology. This will establish the scientific foundation for this campaign. This group will evaluate and endorse a comprehensive literature review of hundreds of medical journal articles, research papers and peer-reviewed data that will drive our communications efforts that began with the campaign’s official launch on Oct. 20 in New York City. The Foundation will then extend its clinical presence by partnering with key organizations such as the American Association of Family Physicians and American Heart Association, participating in major clinical symposia and creating consumer-oriented educational materials to be distributed through health professionals’ offices.
Public Education: Based on the findings of the literature review, the Foundation will develop a series of public education materials that bring balance and reason back into the nutritional dialogue and provide easy, real-world ideas and positive support for what we can do and can eat — rather than what we shouldn’t do and shouldn’t eat. Consumers in New York and Washington, D.C., will find themselves surrounded by our core messages in the early part of 2005 through a three-month, out-of-home and in-store advertising blitz, including larger-than-life billboards/wallscapes as well as street-level postings in metro stations, doctor’s offices and grocery stores. These ads will proclaim: “Bread. It’s Essential.” The clever, creative posters are sure to catch consumer and media attention. We are also investigating partnerships with such organizations as the March of Dimes, National Council for Folic Acid and Weight Watchers to help deliver our messages.
Media Relations: Ongoing throughout the campaign, media tracking and a rapid-response “team” will be put in place to assess the media environment and provide immediate response to health and nutrition stories in a timely manner. While in New York for the advisory board meeting, co-chair Dr. Glenn Gaesser will be the focus of a satellite media tour about the Foundation, the literature review, advisory board and the need for grain-based foods in the diet. He will also visit with some key media outlets in New York City.
On the web: Aimed at keeping Foundation members informed and engaged with all relevant campaign information, materials and events, a password-protected Member Portal was targeted to launch in advance of the Oct. 20 meeting. Foundation members will have access to real-time media updates and trend analysis, turnkey press materials, a creative “toolkit” for members to download and integrate into their own corporate communications and a schedule of all campaign-related milestones. As a complement to the members-only site, www.smartbread.com
will serve as the information clearinghouse for three core constituencies: consumers, health professionals and media. The launch of this site will coincide with the consumer launch in January 2005.
This fiscal year promises to be exciting and productive. I urge all related baking and milling industries, regardless of size or product, to become a part of this organization.
It is only by pooling our resources that we can make headway in this anti-carbohydrate environment. It is time to take back the healthful image of grain foods. If you need a three-year pledge form, please let me know, at Judi.Adams@grainsfoundation.org.