Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) Executive Director Shannon Shepp discusses the department’s mission and how it gets its message to its primary audience, millennials. Millennials are generally considered those born from 1977 to the mid-1990s.
“Right now, remember, we have a declining availability of OJ (orange juice) worldwide. It’s very hard to increase sales of something you have declining supply of,” Shepp says. “So for right now, the department’s mission is more focused on keeping a market base available for when we rebound and get back into the market with a heavy supply.” She says the FDOC is working on sustaining citrus’ good reputation, including being a good source of nutrition.
“As much as we look at Nielsen numbers (of sales volume), they’re not really a measure of what the Florida Department of Citrus is doing, because there are other economic factors of what is going on back there.” She says the FDOC now measures itself on consumer awareness and perception of OJ and other citrus products, especially among millennials. While trying to attract all millennials, the department focuses most heavily on what it calls “millennial moms.”
“Most of our communication happens in a digital way or through streaming media,” Shepp says. “We’re no longer the traditional television advertising agency. We’re trying to talk to them (millennials) in the way that they receive information today.”
At a Florida Citrus Commission meeting Wednesday, FDOC staff reported that the department ranks high in maximizing the number of visitors to its website. It does that by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine, a process known as search engine optimization. Shepp says, “And the fantastic news about that is, you can pay for that at Google … but so far we haven’t had to do that. Just by the content that we have created and put out on the Internet and on the (FDOC) website, we’ve had some organic rise. And when people look at Florida citrus or when they look up orange juice or they look up recipes, they’ll find our stuff first.”
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