Cargill Beef – Issues Awareness
As an industry leader, Cargill Beef wanted to lead a conversation about some of the top issues affecting the food industry, specifically related to animal health and well-being, sustainability, and food safety. Our team is partnered with Cargill to understand, identify, and lead on the issues that are most pressing.
Cargill Beef is one of North America’s largest beef processors, harvesting more than eight million cattle and producing nearly eight billion pounds of boxed beef and by-products each year. Headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, Cargill Beef operates eight production and fabrication facilities throughout the United States and Canada, including three dedicated regional beef facilities designed to more quickly respond to changing customer needs.
The most pressing challenge was the sheer number of potential issues for the company to lead to conversation on. In order to create an actionable, impactful list of issues, we had to fine-tune the questions we were asking. We needed to decide how to rank the issues and find the topics that were most affecting Cargill’s stakeholders and company, that Cargill had some ability to make changes on, and that they could genuinely be a leading voice.
How Kith Helped
We created a Reputation Management model called 4As of Reputation Management. It goes like this: Why x Behavior + 4As of Reputation Management. “Why” is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires what you do. “Behavior” is collectively: corporate actions, operation impacts and attitudes. The 4As are: Authority, Awareness, Assessment, and Action.
Authority– Authority is strong decisive leadership from the top of the organization. There needs to be recognition among management that certain issues are important to the future of the company. We needed to help facilitate explaining to senior leaders in the organization how this program would work and that the authority we needed would come directly from them. We needed to articulate the vision and strategy to achieve executive buy-in.
Awareness-The next step in identifying key issues was to ask, what are people talking about? Through social media, news media, anecdotally, and what trends are people writing about? We used this information to begin ranking the potential issues that we could focus on. More than that, we needed to decide which issues Cargill could take real leadership on, or which issues the company could be perceived as having taken negative action on.
Assessment-We took ongoing measurements of what the stakeholders need and believe to be even more precise in our list. What do customers and partners think of us? What do NGOs expect? What do our employees need? This step created a research program to assess these questions and more.
Action-The final step in the model, action is creating a program that will actually make change that we can promote externally to demonstrate Cargill’s leadership to the community. Many action plans came out of workshops with stakeholders and senior leaders as we briefed the company on the information we had gathered. In this phase, people being to recognize that Cargill is a dynamic leader.
From an unactionable and unmanageable range of issues, we helped Cargill narrow to a concrete list of three issues that are strategic in nature, impact their company, and where they can truly be a leader. We learned through the 4As of Reputation Management which issues are most important, what volume they have, and were able to create programs that will bring actions.