George the Farmer is a colourful children’s brand whose primary aim is to educate about farming practices along with how food and fibre is produced through entertaining picture books, toys, music, performance, interactive story apps, videos and free curriculum-aligned educator’s guides.
Clarity of Purpose and Context
We educate children about farming practices and how food and fibre is produced in an entertaining way to: generate food security by stimulating children to consider future innovative careers in agriculture; awareness and gratitude of those involved in primary industries globally and; to help children make informed healthy food choices. On a personal level, we aim to provide children with the same inspirational connection to the land that we were afforded from growing up on farms throughout our childhood.
As we are predominately a two person company, with both directors growing up on farming properties, but also designers, our design and business skills work hand-in-hand, side-by-side which has enabled us to establish innovative solutions and products. George the Farmer has grown organically, from starting as an interactive story app, to producing physical products and then live performances and videos with our offerings being developed based upon the requests that we have received from fans and customers.
Our primary customers are those people who currently have or did have a connection to farming land and/ or families, while our secondary customers are those who are seeking information for themselves or their children on how food is produced to make more informed decisions for their health.
Customer and Market Immersion
The concept of George the Farmer was formed when co-creator, Simone Kain, became aware that there wasn’t an educational children’s farming character globally telling stories about living on the land and producing food and fibre, whilst looking for an inspirational character for her son, George.
Simone realised that there must be thousands of families who also couldn’t find said character. This was the brand’s first outcome-based segmentation that was determined. These customers then led to another outcome-based segmentation of educators. Educators were needing to teach children in their classrooms about sustainability and STEAM subjects, but lacked the time/ resources to develop appropriate materials. We developed free curriculum-aligned resources to co-work with our paid products, which also helps to expand our brand reach.
We also have our traditionally-based market segmentations such as grandparents who either grew up on a farm or had a cousin on a farm.
Our brand resonates authentically with our customers, as both directors have strong connections to farming properties. Additionally, Simone’s husband works the family farm and shares his stories through the voice of George the Farmer. Our customers believe in us, and what it is that we’re doing for them.
Our brand has grown organically since it’s inception in 2014 and with that, our strategy has adjusted accordingly. Originally, our purpose was to create a character who was inspirational, however, not long into developing and launching the character, we understood our customers needs of also requiring a character who was educational.
Although the George the Farmer brand has been established by our creative agency, Hello Friday, we have challenged ourselves by producing new products that we haven’t had prior experience with. For example, writing and illustrating picture books, self-publishing, self-distribution, creating interactive apps, writing and publishing music, creating and performing in musical productions nationally and, children’s television. We are open to new challenges and enjoy learning on the go. Agriculture is an industry that has immense potential for massive growth. Humans need food for survival and, we, as predicted by the United Nations, need to produce 50-70% more food within the next 30 odd years to feed our growing global population. This provides a massive opportunity for our brand beyond just entertainment and education products and services.
Both creators of George the Farmer have creative, tech and marketing backgrounds of which all of our skillsets have been utilised to develop and build the brand. The brand was originally launched by our creative agency, Hello Friday, and in the past 18 months has become a company in its own right.
Simone Kain manages and leads George the Farmer on product development and marketing, while also creatively directing, in consultation with Ben Hood, who is the chief illustrator, graphic and motion designer.
Both creators/directors have skillsets that work well together, while also individually being able to determine and develop solutions for the company. For example, Simone has recently determined that our educator’s guides that are and will still be available for free download from our website, could be marketed
and sold as a hard-copy along with our current paid picture books, toys and music, along with samples of various foods/fibres in one-stop educational kits/boxes for teacher’s, thus opening up a new product line
with almost the same product offering. We have won numerous awards including the Brand SA Flinders University Education award, Women in
Innovation, Google Online Regional Heroes and NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards for Regional Entrepreneur.
George the Farmer’s business model is very competitive as there are no other children’s farming character’s on the market worldwide.
Additionally, by making and marketing our products and services as both educational and fun, it ticks all the boxes for our market segments. We all know that kids learn best, while they’re having fun, so this is our number one aim with all of the products that we develop. Education is secondary.
We also reinvest 50c from the sale of each of our picture books into developing and providing our free to download, curriculum-aligned educational resources for teacher’s to use in the classroom. This social aspect of our products is appealing to the new era of socially-driven consumers.
Our brand has great potential on a much broader level, to place South Australia on the global map as producers of clean, green, nutritious food as George the Farmer’s farm, his hub of food production, is located in ‘Panoola’, South Australia.
A survey released in Australia in 2012 revealed that almost 1/3 of Australian year 6 kids thought yoghurt came from a plant, 75% thought that cotton came from an animal and 45% didn’t associate basic lunch box items such as a piece of bread, a banana or some cheese as originating from a farm.
If children don’t know where their food comes from, how can they make informed food choices for their health?
Over the past 6 months, we have had over 3000 downloads of our educational resources which has attributed to over 40,000 children’s education about agriculture and food production. Through our books and resources, we encourage children to learn about food production and environmental sustainability, while also enticing them to consider innovative careers in agriculture. Our most recent educational guide is on Pulses for the United Nations Year of the Pulse. It educates children about nitrogen release through the growing of Pulses such as chickpeas and broad beans while covering STEAM based subjects in the classroom and, are introducing them to George the Farmer. Additionally, we print all of picture story books within South Australia on environmentally-friendly paper from well managed forests using vegetable-based inks.
Our business has always focussed on innovation through creativity, with our George the Farmer breakthrough coming to fruition not long after the global economic slow down. It has been through regular brainstorming and researching sessions that we have established our new ideas. Our ideas, once
commercialised, have been interpreted as being forward-thinking and innovative which has led to ongoing growth and opportunities.
Export growth has continued to grow steadily since launching in 2014. Our app is currently sold in 13 countries globally.
Late last year, we established a joint venture with an award-winning television production house based in Sydney who is assisting to get George the Farmer on to television screens internationally. We have also been working with leading global entertainment company Toonz Media, based in India, who has developed
an animated sizzle reel for our pitch, free of charge, as they love the concept and want to be involved in the production of the series going forward. We have also had interest expressed by the leading global
distributor of kids television, Imira, as well as interest expressed informally from a French broadcaster. The television series will be ready to pitch officially next month at MIPCOM in France.