Monday, June 27, 2005

Live salmon

I couldn't help but comment on the Salmon Industry Restructuring Panel of the Alaska Board of Fisheries. This was long overdue in my opinion. There are a multitude of directions this can go and is complicated, just don't use the F... T... word. What's important is making everything mesh, from ensuring wild salmon swimming in "open to harvesting" waters are "secured for processing," to local employment opportunities, to co-branding and point-of-purchase information.

The Restructuring Panel is indeed creating the infrastructure that those 26 fishing communities I worked with while in State service wanted, to create jobs locally. Another point of order is that the "large processors" are really behind-the-scenes "owners." What rights these owners have in relation to any other stakeholder will be up to the Panel it appears. The right to make a living, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the democratic right of the majority rank high. Many other principles will be considered in the process.

This is a good time for the regional seafood associations to weigh in with all they've got and with all the foresight they can muster. Future possibilities in product development and marketing would need to be interjected at this point. Hopefully the process will be a "living process" and not one that sets down monuments as it goes along.

Again, my hope is that I am helping in this process of the seafood industry finding it's place in the realities of the 21st century market place. Communications tools are out of Beta testing and moving into the market and that bodes very well for the industry.

Another question begs to be asked, how many tool boxes should the industry support, and in what kind of competitive structure. Right now there are over 55 fishermen's groups in Alaska. These are Restructuring problems that will be sorted out as a strategic plan is developed, if one is.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Co-branding, etc

I couldn't help "Blog this" article as well as "Blog" this article, for further perusal and the significance for seafood marketing. There has been some work in these regards by ASMI I'm sure. The new regional seafood associations can use such tools to make their marketing dollars go a long ways. How far will be up to the managers of the associations, who will be held accountable for their expertise by their members.

Fishermen may not fully realize it, but these associations finally put them in charge of their own destiny. State government and the legislators were real perceptive when they supported the idea of regional product development and marketing associations. Now if fishermen don't trust the raw fish buyers, they can put their trust in themselves. No problems, mate.

This is in contrast to the "institute" concept as embodied by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute whose staff are not held accountable, through the State Employees Union. What a way to run a railroad! you might say. As the Associations gain momentum, maybe ASMI can be merged with them, like the State Division of Tourism was merged into the new Tourism Promotion body in Anchorage

There is nothing stopping the regional associations of fishermen collaborating with each other either, and maybe someday they can really demonstrate that free market driven marketing really is better. As an aside, there is a strong argument for regionalizing the marketing of king salmon and sockeye, but I've never been able to taste any difference between ocean bright chum, pinks and coho from different regions.

To take this a little further, you might form state-wide sub-associations based on how close these species were caught to fresh water.

The Salmon Industry Restructuring Panel is pointing out the need for centralized data gathering and compilation already. I recall a time when I was at CFAB leading a task force that management dubbed the Fisheries Discovery Task Force. (Institutions have books of titles for jobs, task forces and such. It's amazing.) Anyway, I got the loan officers to help me put together a compendium of historical catch, price and quartile analysis data for every fishery in Alaska. It was a neat tool for loan officers to see if their loan customer was a highliner of a lowliner or inbetween.

A Marine Advisory Agent for the University of Alaska proposed to continue in my format, but I think I put the kibosh on it when I said it wouldn't do any good unless it was updated every year. They couldn't commit to that.

Well, that is just one tool and may not be very useful in fully capitalized fisheries anyway. But in light of what the Board of Fisheries is doing, some data sets will be necessary. How much experience in all aspects of the industry the researchers have and how accountable they will be for the usefulness of the final data sets is the sixty-four dollar question.

This is the article I did a "Blog this" on from the Internet for show and tell time.

John Deere Homes Add New Wrinkle - Yahoo! News: "The pairing is among the latest examples of co-branding, a trend that's moving consumer markets worldwide.

It's why Coca-Cola Co. puts NutraSweet's name on its soda cans and Pizza Hut Express restaurants are in Holiday Inn motels, said Sheri Bridges, a marketing professor at Wake Forest University.

'They're borrowing from one another's associations and values and consumer interest. It's supposed to be mutually beneficial,' Bridges said. 'The basic idea is the companies are trying to boost interest, boost credibility and ultimately boost the bottom line.'

Other corporate co-brands:

• adidas producing sneakers with rubber soles bearing the Goodyear name

• Volkswagen's Beetle and BMW creating an in-car adapter to accept iPod music players by Apple Computer Inc.

• Delta Air Lines tapping clothing designer Kate Spade for the cabin interiors and flight attendant uniforms for its new airline, Song

• Austria's D. Swarovski & Co. delivering crystal-encrusted cell phone covers to use on phones made by
South Korea's VK Corp.

'In general, these things work pretty well when there's some positive associations of the two brands,' Duke University marketing professor Carl Mela said."