AUSTIN, TX - It’s a marketer’s dream: Customers not only wearing the brand’s logo, but paying to do so. Cattlemen aren’t dreaming, though. Consumers want to promote their product.
Since the launch of the Beef Loving Texans community in 2016, Texas Beef Council staff members like Jennifer Matison, senior manager of consumer marketing, heard it over and over — fans of the brand wanted merchandise. March 1, they got their wish when the big white button reading “merch shop” was added to beeflovingtexans.com.
By summer, the store included a variety of T-shirts (favorite designs boast the word BEEF in a Texas flag print or “Come and Steak It”), hats, water bottles, cutting boards and stickers, with more to come.
Matison said the store reflects the Beef Loving Texans’ lifestyle, showing shoppers just what it means to be a part of the community.
“When you go and browse, you’re going to see that lifestyle photography with people casually enjoying beef while wearing our t-shirts and hats,” she said. “It’s really natural and fun-loving and meant to appeal to consumers.”
She said as the marketing team explored this idea, they realized apparel with brands on them is a very popular way their target audience differentiates themselves and identifies with others like them. Prime examples include Yeti, Whataburger and Lone Star beer.
“Consumers and producers alike have connected their passion for beef to their Texan identity,” Matison said. “This merchandise is one more way they can put that on display.”
Steven Lastovica, an Angus cattleman and chairman of the board of directors for Texas Beef Council, said demand for the merchandise makes him “extremely proud.”
“Making connections with consumers is what it’s all about,” he said. “Texas cattle producers are already proud of the beef we’re producing. Knowing consumers are not only purchasing our product at grocery stores and restaurants, but are now also purchasing and wearing our Beef Loving Texans gear, is really exciting.”
He said the store is just one more way the Texas Beef Council uses checkoff funds in an innovative and resourceful way, a task Matison and the entire staff take very seriously.
“I just want to extend a sincere thank you to Texas beef producers,” Matison said. “Without their trust in our board of directors and staff, we wouldn’t be able to create unique programs to connect with consumers and motivate their beef purchases.”
The Texas Beef Council (TBC) conducts the $1 per head national checkoff program for Texas beef producers and is also the contractor for the Beef Promotion Research Council of Texas (BPRCT), which administers the $1 per head Texas state checkoff program. TBC’s mission is to increase beef demand in the state through programs of beef promotion, research and education. TBC also helps fund national and international beef checkoff programs to increase marketing opportunities around the globe. The BPRCT’s mission is to improve Texas producer profitability by strengthening and expanding beef demand. The TBC and the BPRCT are directed by a 20-member board of cattlemen and women representing the state’s beef producers. For more information on this and other checkoff-funded programs, please visit TexasBeefCheckoff.com or call 800- 846-4113.