From water to waiter - marketing starts on the boat

A Queensland symposium shows the seafood sector is serious about better marketing

By Peter Horvat

To help industry better understand some of the key concepts around marketing, the Queensland Seafood Marketers Association (QSMA) this year organised and ran the first Seafood Marketing Symposium: ‘Whole Chain – from water to waiter’.

The event acknowledges that marketing is more than simply coming up with an advertisement.

The symposium was held on Friday 30 June 2017 at Rydges South Bank in Brisbane prior to the Queensland Seafood Industry awards night and celebrations. Linking the two events worked well, with more than 60 people at the symposium and 80 at the state awards dinner.

Scott Spencer, deputy director-general fisheries and forestry, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, outlined the value of the fishing industry to Queensland in his opening address. He also spoke of the work underway to improve Queensland’s fisheries.

John Connelly, president of the US National Fisheries Institute, was the international keynote speaker for the symposium and gave a talk titled ‘How does industry reputation and perception impact brands?’

He outlined the importance of language when communicating with consumers and stakeholders and how this can have an impact on the perception of seafood and the industry as a whole.

For example, he said the industry describes the catch in tonnes, but no one eats seafood in tonnes; they eat meals. Using words that the consumer can relate to places seafood in the centre of their experience, demonstrates how it is part of life, rather than as some inexplicable, remote or industrialised process.

Management matters

John Connelly’s other key message was the important role fisheries managers have in educating the community about the sector, a message reinforced by the findings of the FRDC’s recent community perceptions survey (see Familiarity breeds positive perceptions).

He advocated a simple flow of news and information about fisheries management to the community. He said communicating about the management of fisheries would be of benefit to everyone – including fisheries managers. Diverse players from the sector featured strongly with eight presentations at the symposium from fishers, processors, retailers and marketers. All presentations can be viewed online at the Queensland Seafood Marketers Association website.

Further action

FRDC executive director Patrick Hone says the symposium showed the effort and rigour being applied to improve local and national marketing issues around Australia, and several presentations used FRDC research to inform their marketing approach.

“If only two companies leave the symposium and do something different, then the symposium will be a great success,” Patrick Hone said.

“My feeling is that many more than that will take learnings into their business or sector body.” 

QSMA president Marshall Betzel said positive feedback from delegates indicated that presentations on the day were particularly informative.

He says the symposium brought key participants in the value chain together to present their points of view and processes to others.

Another marketing symposium has been proposed for next year and the QSMA plans to discussion the potential for similar events in other states. 

FRDC Research Code 2016-262

More information

Queensland Seafood Marketers Association