How does cheese bring people together? Sheree Sullivan, Founder of Udder Delights, believes her cheese tells the Australian business story in its simplest form; from local dairy farmers providing the milk, to her making the cheese in historic Hahndorf, being sold by trusted retailers and finally ending up in people’s homes. Sheree’s community is made up of family owned businesses and consumer families who value handmade, trustworthy food products. From starting the business aged 21 to hiring a National Sales Manager in 2015, Sheree and her husband Saul have built Udder Delights steadily over time in size and profile. In today’s episode of Be The Drop, Sheree talks to us about using the media, remaining level headed, and she reveals how to build a business from the ground up…
Be patient and stay grounded.
The Udder Delights brand and cheese factory was born in 1999 and the Cellar Door opened 10 years ago. From the factory perspective, it took 10 years before the community became really significant, while social media has taken 3-5 years to get a decent engaged following. It has definitely taken time to get to where they are today.
The bigger they get and the bigger the Udder Delights profile becomes, Sheree has experienced poth positive and negative outcomes from that growth. They’ve had mind boggling positives but with those, have come equally enormous challenges. So her advice is to stay level headed, neutral, and enjoy it as much as you can while you can. But don’t get on your pedastol. Sheree explains using an entertaining story about ox ploughing your fields – the more ox, the more poo!
Listen to Sheree’s Be The Drop podcast episode:
Own a business, not a job.
“We’re always employing better than ourselves,” says Sheree. What does this mean? Even from the very early days, Sheree’s always had an organisational chart of the business in her head; she understood that her job wasn’t the sum total of the business. In the beginning, she says, your name is in every role, but then as you grow you employ people to run the aspects of the business you’re not as strongly skilled in or don’t like doing. Not only do you get out of doing something you dislike but if they love it and have a great aptitude for it, this benefits your overall business.
Be a consumer.
Make sure you’re a consumer of whatever it is that you’re doing. Never hand over the social media of your business to someone who doesn’t use the platforms themself. Because you need to know what your audience is all about, how they engage and what they respond to. So be your customer; consider what would excite/bore/irritate you, then you can self-regulate.
What motivates her consumers to action? Years of consistent delicious, well-priced product. Don’t over-complicate things. When Sheree first started, she called the products fancy names and marketed them accordingly, but the consumer didn’t understand the ‘why’ behind it. You can’t be there to hold the hand of every consumer and explain the story behind the marketing, so adopt the KISS approach – ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’. This ensures Udder Delights is always communicating to the end consumer from that very direct level, so they immediately understand who the brand is and what they’re about. That’s what you’d want as a consumer, right?
Don’t just advertise.
Sheree doesn’t spend money on advertising. Instead, marketing spend goes on in-store specials, so when consumers try it once and think it’s delicious they’re captured at the point of sale. They also use daily cheese tastings in Cellar Door as a marketing tool, showing the customers what they tried so they recognise it when they’re at their local cheese counter. This creates an emotional/nostaglic connection to the product.
Sheree believes in the high value of media storytelling. By using PR as a means to tell your story, you’re getting valuable third party endorsement. Editorial has around 4-5 times the value of advertising from the consumer’s perspective, but remember that your PR activity is only ever as good as your stories. In other words, your PR agent is your racehorse, but if you’re not the jockey constantly feeding them the stories, they don’t have anything to work with.
Thank you again for tuning in and listening to the BTD podcast, I can’t wait for this next installment to bring you more inspiring people talking about their strategies for connecting with and building a positive community.
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