Laura Evers, Senior Account Executive, Rooster Strategic Solutions

“If you give a man a fish, he’s hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish, you do him a good turn.” Anne Ritchie, 1885

As the leading expert in land, auctions, and agribusiness-related transactions, Murray Wise Associates (MWA) knows just about everything there is to know about buying and selling farm property. But like a lot of ag companies, they knew there was an opportunity to promote their services more broadly, especially by building their in-house expertise for social media execution and video creation/deployment. That’s why they partnered with Rooster. And because MWA is kind enough to let us tell their story, it may serve as a template for other ag companies that find themselves in a similar situation.

It started with a name change. During the farm recession of the mid-80s, Murray Wise – the man, not the company – saw an opportunity in farm asset management and pioneered the notion of agriculture as an investable asset class. With a core client group formed by institutional investors and pension funds, he founded the Westchester Group, Inc. in 1986. Westchester steadily grew to be a national leader with offices in seven states, $900 million in agricultural assets for clients, and $2 billion in real estate sold.

When TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Associations) purchased a majority of the global investment division of Westchester Group, it allowed Westchester Auctions, now renamed Murray Wise Associates, to focus on land and agribusiness transactions.

MWA contacted Rooster to help with a few marketing and branding efforts, including getting started with video. The team at MWA had plenty of thought leadership ideas to share, with subject matters ranging from “Things to know when selling your land,” and “When is the right time to sell?” Pretty easy request, all things considered, and a typical agency would have simply created the videos and sent them a bill. Rooster, however, is not a typical agency.

The Rooster Approach. Our founder, Josh Turney, has a simple mantra: Help clients solve problems, including problems they don’t know they have. So, we started by walking MWA through the process of creating an editorial calendar to mobilize their messages, using the different channels that they have available, and building on it. We also made some recommendations on targeting, using our own expertise in digital and social execution, so that the messages they create can be shared seamlessly with those prospects most likely to use MWA’s services.

We agreed that videos were an excellent way to tell their story. But rather than simply producing the segments for them, we brought in our Video and Digital Production Director, Eric Crowley, to conduct a comprehensive training session with their staff. This included best practices on shooting indoors as well as a live auction; tips, tricks, and tools around sound, lighting, video equipment, and set construction; and helping to identify the spokespeople who perform best on camera. We helped them shoot the first two videos, ensuring they were comfortable with the process, knowing that they could then produce additional videos on their own, and we brainstormed together on what those topics might include as well as how to best deploy the content.

This is a practice we’ve conducted with several of our clients, on multiple fronts. Training a client, as opposed to completing the work for them, may be a frightening prospect for full-service agencies who can only see as far as the billable hours in front of them, but it’s generally a better deal for the client. And from our experience, a satisfied client is more likely to contact us in the future to help with more and more-valuable tasks, which makes this a long-term and successful strategy for Rooster.

But wait – there’s more! In line with the Rooster philosophy, we also trained the MWA staff rather than proposing an expensive bid to take over their social creation and execution ourselves. Our team helped them conduct a social audit and worked through best practices to help them get more comfortable doing the work in-house, leading to higher-quality execution with improved results.

This is just another example of how Rooster helps clients with what they individually need, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all solution. Honestly, it can take more work on our end, but it’s almost always a better solution for the client.

If your company could benefit from training in one or more aspects of marketing – whether it’s video production, social/digital execution, or even media buying – I’d love to have a conversation on ways that Rooster can help you “learn how to fish.”