Back to FISH Vol 28 3
PUBLISHED 1 Dec 2020

Like tens of thousands of other conferences around the world, the Queensland Seafood Marketers Association’s (QSMA) Sea Beyond 2020, scheduled for July 2020, was cancelled because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. But the organisers were not prepared to simply reschedule. Instead, they chose to ‘pivot’, as many others have done, to deliver the equivalent to a conference, but in a new way. The result is the Sundown Series of webinars which promise to ‘zoom in’ on seafood marketing secrets (pun intended).

By Barbara Adam

The webinars are streamed on the Zoom platform, which allows the hosts to give a real-time video presentation that can include PowerPoint slide shows, graphics and prerecorded clips. For the Sundown Series, audience members can ask questions using the chat function, usually towards the end of the presentation.

Originally planned as a series of eight webinars, organisers of the Sundown Series are now contemplating extending the concept to help the seafood industry navigate its way through the global pandemic.

Event organiser James Fogarty said the reaction to the first webinar on social media, hosted by Ben Hale from the ‘Love Australian Prawns’ campaign, was very positive. A schedule of upcoming webinars and recordings of previous webinars are available on the QSMA’s website.

The FRDC has helped to fund the events, and the library of recorded webinars will have ongoing value to the seafood industry, says Peter Horvat, FRDC communications, trade and marketing general manager, who had a hand in developing the concept.

“What started out as everything going to be cancelled has actually turned out to be quite a nice little project,” he says.

“We are building a great resource for the future. We have been through a similar process to how we developed the previous two marketing conferences, looking at the key issues that we wanted to raise and discuss, and working out who would be best to present on these issues.

“We need something that is relevant to the current environment, and one of the things we’ve seen is a move to online and branded products. That’s why our first two webinars focused on
these topics.”

Ben Hale, who presented the first session, agrees. “It was a real thrill to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’. Walking people through setting up their own online store and publishing products in a live session really helped break down the barriers.

“Too often retailers and producers are just too busy in their own business and think it’s all too ‘techy’, but when you see it done in front of you, it makes it much more accessible.”

Future webinar topics under consideration include a look at seafood packaging ideas and trends, an overview of the status of Australian fish stocks and a guide to using social media to sell products.

There is even scope to bring in international experts to discuss overseas trends and share their insights and knowledge.

Feedback from attendees has been positive with comments that the webinars have some valuable advice, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses. Insights into social media, in particular, offered some avenues for marketing that can be done with relatively small budgets.

Peter Horvat says the great part of a ‘live’ conference program is being able to change presenters and add new ones as needed. A great example of this is asking Veronica Papacosta, CEO of Seafood Industry Australia, to speak on the new ‘Eat Seafood, Australia!’ campaign.

“When we started the development of the Sundown Series, funding for this promotional initiative had not even been announced. We’re pleased to be able to add this presentation to the mix,” Peter Horvat says.

Response to the sessions from participants suggests this new format of presenting information in such a deregulated, open way, via online presentations, will have a place in
the future, post-COVID-19. The FRDC is already looking at how to extend the information offered to include a broader range of topics.

View the recorded webinars here.


Webinar 1: Selling Seafood Through Social

Streamed Monday 14 September 2020

Hosted by Ben Hale from ‘Love Australian Prawns’, this webinar gives a step-by-step guide to setting up an online store. Ben Hale also explains how to use Facebook advertising to drive sales to your online shop, and how to cost an online marketing campaign.

Webinar 2: Branding Bold and Beautiful

Streamed Monday 28 September 2020

Seafood marketing specialist John Susman, principal of Fishtales, draws on more than 30 years of experience to give an overview of how to create a seafood brand. The webinar looks at some successful Australian seafood branding stories that illustrate how much a well-thought-out campaign can increase sales.

Webinar 3: Fishing for Insights and Opportunities in COVID Infested Waters

Streamed Monday 19 October 2020

Hosted by Melanie Norris and Neil Moody from data analytics firm Nielsen, this webinar looks at the latest trends in the Australian market, including a deep dive into latest retail seafood sales trends revealed by Nielsen’s Homescan panel.

Webinar 4: Seafood Supply Chain Resilience – leveraging digital and data for industry growth

Streamed Monday 26 October 2020

Agrifood experts Ben van Delden and Dan Ginger from KPMG host the fourth webinar in the Sundown Series, outlining the findings in the recent Mission Food for Life: AgriFood Supply Chain Resilience report. The webinar looks at the key challenges facing the agrifood sector today, offering comparisons between the seafood and other agricultural sectors.

Webinar 5: Eat Seafood, Australia! promotional campaign

Streamed Monday 9 November 2020

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonathon Duniam and Seafood Industry Australia CEO Veronica Papacosta peek under the hood of Australia’s first national seafood marketing campaign and the launch of the national seafood brand, ‘Great Australian Seafood’.

More information