Ever found yourself scrolling through TikTok while waiting for your DoorDash order? It’s more connected than you might think! Discover how today’s apps and social platforms are revolutionizing the agricultural marketing scene. In this Art of Sway episode, host Danielle Wiley and expert guest Ali Cox artfully dissect the digital transformation of food storytelling. From the success stories of brands like Sumo Citrus and Wonderful Pistachios to the innovative realm of vertical farming, this episode provides a fresh take on the evolving relationship between consumers and their food sources.
Discover how brands are leveraging platforms and influencers to transform the way we connect with our food and the stories behind them. Don’t miss out on a conversation that not only explores the future of food marketing, but offers practical insights that blend modern strategies with age-old farming traditions.
Whether you’re a marketer, a food enthusiast, or a curious listener, this episode is a must-listen! Don’t miss these standout topics:
- Why today’s food marketing looks nothing like the tactics of 15 years ago
- How sustainability initiatives can help drive consumer demand
- Why Ali is so focused on making sure food is assigned more value
- Why sending your kids to the grocery store can reveal the effectiveness of food marketing
- How to tell the RIGHT story of food to the right audience — at the right time
Episode 48: Ali Cox – Agricultural Marketing
This podcast is brought to you by Sway Group, a full-service influencer marketing agency. Sway Group specializes in matching brands with the right influencers and creating the kind of branded content people actually pay attention to. For over 12 years, they’ve been helping businesses just like yours hit their goals with top-notch content strategies. They’ve got a network of over 45,000 diverse influencers, they don’t shy away from challenging campaigns, and they’re masters of authentic storytelling. Basically, they’ve got you covered when it comes to getting your brand in front of the right people. Head over to swaygroup.com and check them out.
Danielle Wiley: Welcome to The Art of Sway, the podcast that uncovers the power of influence and its impact on all areas of our lives. I’m your host, Danielle Wiley. Each week, we’ll explore the many facets of influence through candid conversations with industry insiders, from brand marketers to social workers, educators, leaders, and more. Let’s dive in. Ali Cox is an agricultural and food ingredient marketing visionary and founder of Noble West, an award-winning marketing consultancy that specializes in the entire agricultural ecosystem. From fresh produce and nuts to dairy and ag tech, Noble West works in all aspects of agriculture. As a fifth generation farmer, Cox returned home to California’s Central Valley in 2007 with the singular goal of making world class marketing services available to the abundance of farmers and growers in the area.
A fierce advocate for farmers, Ali’s blend of a deep personal connection to the land and business acumen has made her a highly sought after strategist by her clients. With an eye on the future of farming and the climate crisis, Cox regularly consults with her clients on upcycling, regenerative water use and hydroponic and organic farming practices. Cox was a walk-on rower at the University of San Diego and went on to win a silver medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. A Turlock native, she’s a graduate of Turlock Senior High School and the University of San Diego, where she majored in communications and minored in business. She happily purchased her childhood home, where she resides with husband Tony and their two sons.
While I am likely best known as the CEO of an influencer marketing agency, I firmly identify as a foodie and food has played a significant role throughout my career, whether it was working in food service, contributing to a local newspaper as a food critic, launching a food blog, and of course working on dozens of food brand marketing campaigns. Given all of that, I absolutely adored meeting and chatting with Ali Cox. She knows so much about the agriculture industry and has dedicated her life to providing marketing services and strategic consulting to farmers and growers. I’m a huge admirer of her career and her passion, and I am so excited to introduce you all to her. Enjoy.
Well, hi, and welcome to the podcast. I’m so glad we were able to make this happen.
Ali Cox: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here. Nice to meet you, Danielle.
Danielle Wiley: So I had a lot of fun doing research and putting together these questions because you have quite the fascinating story, so I would love for you to take our listeners through it. But just my summary of what I read is you grew up on a farm, you were an Olympic silver medalist in rowing, and now you live back on your family farm as CEO of a marketing consultancy that specializes in agriculture. So this is quite the epic journey and I’d love for you to take us through that because I love your story, just from what I’ve read about it.
Ali Cox: Well, thank you. I appreciate it. It’s a pleasure to be here. Fan of the podcast, so happy to share my story and shed light on influencer marketing in a different industry than maybe we’re used to covering, right?
Danielle Wiley: Yeah.
Ali Cox: Everything you said is true. I did grow up in the agricultural community in the Central Valley of California. I left for just under 20 years, and then during that time I went away to college, competed on the US National Team for about seven years, made several World Cup teams and World Championship teams, and then culminated with the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. So a seasoned veteran now and then decided after the Olympics to move to New York City, and I worked at several large agencies and after about 10 years decided, “I think I’m ready to focus on an industry that I’m passionate about,” which is food and agriculture. And really dive into my roots and my heritage and apply all of the marketing expertise that I had learned while living in New York and working on different campaigns over the course of a decade, and really apply that to what I think is just the most important and fascinating industry in the world, which is food.
Danielle Wiley: And so when you were working at the agency in New York, were you touching the food industry at all or was it completely separate from that and really just a crash course in marketing?
Ali Cox: I was not touching it at all. I worked in entertainment, I worked in television, I worked in fashion, I worked in sports. I worked at a sports and entertainment agency and then went and worked at a publicly traded PR agency and really was just a generalist.
Danielle Wiley: Got it. I have a long career in the marketing industry as well and I’m passionate about food, did not grow up on a farm. Grew up on Long Island, very far from-
Ali Cox: I love it.
Danielle Wiley: … the farming world, but just obsessed with food and it’s my passion. And I remember being at one of the marketing agencies I worked at and going up to the CEO after I had a couple glasses of wine, I think it was at a Christmas party, and I was like, “This job is so perfect, but you know what would make it more perfect? Is if my clients could be food clients,” and somehow convinced him to let me start going to food conferences to try to grow that piece of the business. But it’s hard to put all your energies into marketing when it’s not something. Well, at least you had the sports element to it.
Ali Cox: True. True. That’s why I think I thought I wanted to be in sports marketing, and then I realized there’s just not enough of a mission-driven hook in many ways. Not to say that there isn’t mission in sports, obviously, but the company I wanted to work at didn’t exist, and that’s why I set out to go out on my own. So I started AC&C marketing in 2007, we just rebranded Noble West this year, so it’s definitely been a journey. And it wasn’t until 2020 that we sunsetted all of our accounts that we’re not food and agriculture related, and that’s probably just one of the most amazing thing that’s ever really happened. It was probably one of my boldest, most audacious goals that I’ve ever hit too, because it’s basically saying no to good paying clients who are nice people. It’s scary-
Danielle Wiley: As the CEO of a marketing agency, that sounds terrifying.
Ali Cox: … with payroll and COVID and all the things. And I just was like, “If we’re going to do this, we’re going to really do it right and I’m going to really lean into my goals and my mission.” But Danielle, you can understand this. You are in the same boat, you have a wonderful small business also. Once you put intention and really lean into the laws of attraction, you don’t know what’s going to happen other than typically good. And so what’s evolved is Noble West has really leaned into our mission and our vision and our values, and now when new teammates come to work with us, it’s such a different conversation. The conversation is so mission-driven, and I wasn’t even the person who said, “This is a mission-driven organization.” I overheard that in a team meeting and I was like, “Oh my gosh, this really is happening.” And that’s I think something that’s probably been one of the most beautiful parts of my career.
Danielle Wiley: That’s wonderful. So I’ve actually been lucky enough to work with some agricultural commodity groups through my career, first at Edelman. I remember teaching mushroom farmers what Facebook was, so much fun. And then we’ve had a few commodity food clients here at Sway Group. I’m just wondering what you think since you’re so close to it and that really is all you do, what do you think some of the biggest challenges are in that space? I know for me one of the benefits, I always loved working on those clients because when you’re recruiting influencers, of course we’re influencer focused exclusively, no one can hate a mushroom.
No one can hate an egg. You might not like it. Kids might argue with me, but there’s nothing. It’s not like when I would work on processed food clients, there are plenty of food bloggers who wouldn’t touch Velveeta with a 10 foot pole, but it was an easier pitch. It was easier to find great ambassadors and bring them on board. So I see all the good stuff, but I’m just curious what you think the challenges are or even some other good pieces that you want to share.
Ali Cox: We do a lot of commodity work ourselves, and there are new challenges that farmers are facing today, and probably, honestly, I think since the start of influencer marketing, and not to date both of us, but that is about 15 years ago as an official niche industry, which I would love to talk to you more about. But there’s a new level of challenge that comes with farming, which all those farmers who belong to those commodity boards are experiencing, and that is climate, environmental issues.
And a lot of finger-pointing about big ag being the challenge, and I always say that’s interesting because 97% of all farms in the United States are family-owned. The majority of them are less than 500 acres by the USDA and CDFA acreage report, so speaking in California terms. So with that said, that’s where it’s a challenge and that is part of our job as marketers, is to help these farmers tell the good stories and all of the things that they are doing and the risks that they’re addressing on a day-to-day basis as a farmer to… sorry about the train.
Danielle Wiley: No, if it were 7:25 AM, you would hear it.
Ali Cox: But that’s where marketing is so important and storytelling is so important. And it’s not just about 15 years ago, food marketing is putting out a recipe, and now it is such a different experience. It is a soil-borne experience, particularly for us. It involves water, it involves social responsibility, sustainability. It involves understanding your supply system. It involves knowing how and where your food is transported to where and to whom, and that’s where I think a lot of the commodity boards are doing a great job because obviously they invest in a lot of research, but then they invest in a lot of promotions that are commodity-based just to provide more brand awareness and exposure, because commodity by definition is more of the same. And so they are promoting the same across the board, and that’s something that I think is great.
And also just a personal take on it, I think commodity boards are really a beautiful thing because the industry has set a checkoff dollar amount, so there’s an assessment for every pound that is processed, and it is a beautiful active teamwork that is not without challenges, but it is a beautiful thing. So we work across commodity boards, co-ops, individually, privately-owned companies, international companies, publicly traded ag companies. So there’s lots of different facets to it, but I think the underlying challenges are all the same in that we have to tell the story so people understand where food comes from and not assume the worst. And then secondly, just my goal in life is to make sure that food is assigned more value. So every bite we take should have a value and I want to make sure farmers are compensated that, and I also want consumers to have access to that information so they understand what they’re paying for.
Danielle Wiley: Right, right. I was at a marketing conference in Southern California a few weeks ago, I guess it was a couple months ago now, and there were a lot of specialty crop companies there, people doing marketing and just a lot of farm-based and companies. And I was standing with a bunch of them at a happy hour and they all started talking amongst themselves, and one of the things that they were talking about, which I hadn’t heard of this trend before but ties into what you were saying about humanizing and trying to just show the people behind this industry that sometimes gets maligned, they said they were doing a lot of programs with the farmer’s wives, and I know there are women-owned farms, but showcasing more of the family of those family farms. It was very fascinating to listen to that. I don’t know, I’m sure you’ve seen that trend yourself.
Ali Cox: I’m full of opinions, which I think you will hear. I actually think that’s the problem.
Danielle Wiley: Really?
Ali Cox: Yeah. That’s the problem. They’re marketing their lifestyle.
Danielle Wiley: Interesting.
Ali Cox: Nobody owes them their lifestyle. What they owe is they owe fair food to be paid at a fair price for a fair amount that it takes to grow that. That’s the problem in my mind, is that-
Danielle Wiley: It’s not a greenwashing, it’s like it’s some kind of washing. I don’t know what the word would be in front of it.
Ali Cox: I don’t know. I think it’s education. This is how much it costs to grow food. On our family farm, operational costs are up 35 to 40% over three years ago, and the price is down 35 to 40%. Any person who is in any business would be like, “Oh my goodness, that is not sounding great.” But again, that’s where farmers, I think they get a bad rap for being slow to change and stuck in their ways. And it’s like well, that’s also resilience. There’s another definition. It’s resilience and it’s also steadfastness, and we need to honor that as well. But what I want to see is I want to see consumers understand more about what it took to grow that mushroom, what it took to grow those melons, those almonds, and understand, “My goodness, I need to value this. And if I value it, I potentially will waste less, so I’ll have less food waste. I will actually be more mindful about what I put in my body,” which I think we could all agree, we all would like to do that.
And that’s part of, in my mind, the solution, and that’s where I think marketing strategies like influencer marketing are so critical because it is a way to utilize tools to reach the consumers in very authentic ways. And that’s where I want to see more of that and I want to see less of, “This is what it looked like to grow up on my family farm,” because honestly, somebody in downtown Chicago doesn’t need to care about that. They need to care about how much this package of fresh fruit costs because it was trained or trucked from Salinas Valley. Or this apple from Washington, how much does cost? I’m going to value that this is a $4 or $5 apple because I understand what it took to get it. To me, that is more important to me than seeing pitchfork and a farmer standing in their field and us valuing their wives.
Danielle Wiley: Love it. Feel free to chime in with your opinion on any of this stuff. It makes it fun.
Ali Cox: My opinion.
Danielle Wiley: So you do a lot of work with specialty crops, and I would love to know how you define those and how they differ from the larger agricultural commodities that we were just talking about. I know a bit about this, but I’m guessing a lot of our listeners don’t, and just understanding are those marketing challenges different for them than they are from the commodities? Just help us understand that space a little bit more.
Ali Cox: Yeah, yeah. ‘ll go high level. There are 400 crops that are grown and marketed in California, by far the most varied amount of produce and vegetables and almonds and nuts across the board. By definition, they’re specialty because they are not typically big Midwest crops. So since they’re not wheat, sorghum, soy, those kind of crops, they’re also not subsidized by the government.
Danielle Wiley: They’re not subsidized.
Ali Cox: They’re not subsidized. So specialty farmers are not on a salary from a government with guaranteed sales, so their crops are sold and marketed as a commodity, which means that there’s no set or regulated price.
Danielle Wiley: I can think of obvious challenges, or is it good to be independent and kind of separate from that?
Ali Cox: Well, I don’t know. I am an independent agency and I kind of love it. I love not having a boss, I don’t know about you, but I always say my seven-year-old or my eight-year-old or my bosses. But what I think, it’s an industry. It’s a vibrant, thriving industry with produce shows and with nut shows, and that’s the industry. And I think really just thinking through what’s at your local grocery store? That was grown and how that arrived to you is something that everybody’s in business to make money, there’s no doubt about that, but that is where I think economics comes into play. So supply and demand and understanding consumer preferences and educating consumers and working with your retail partners. So your groceries, your grocers and your online grocers and your Amazon, and understanding how to actually market your crop is really, really, really important.
And there’s just I think because of the internet, because of e-commerce, because of social media, because of influencer marketing, there’s more access to more information, which means people inherently have more choice. And that is where our job as marketers are to help our clients tell their story, to reach the right audiences who are likely to spend what it costs to buy that product and to do it with enjoyment because they’ve been educated and they like the story, and that’s brand marketing. You could also argue that’s part of the commodity job as well, but how could we make sure that consumers understand their food and where it comes from? Well, we have to tell those stories because the artichoke’s not going to do it themselves, and the strawberry, and that’s where that marketing is so important. And there’s a lot of variety in what’s happening now. There’s indoor farming, there’s vertical farming. There are lettuce farmers all over the country. So if somebody has decided, “I am a localvore. I’m only consuming local,” that’s fantastic, but if you live in a snowy climate, that would mean that you are not having certain nutrients throughout the year.
Danielle Wiley: I’m in Michigan, and that would be tricky.
Ali Cox: That would be tricky.
Danielle Wiley: This is a great time of year. I was just at my local produce store over the weekend and they had a display of peaches and nectarines, and the peaches were Michigan and the nectarines were California, and I was like, “I’m going to do the peaches because it’s August and this is prime.”
Ali Cox: You should. And then also, those peaches and nectarines from California are probably going to be there in October, and probably some will be there in the middle of winter if they’re grown in the Coachella Valley. That might happen. But I think that’s also where if you look even one generation two generations ago, that’s why people had canning and that’s why they changed the variety of their diet, and we had root vegetables during the winter, but that might be somebody, a consumer’s choice of diet.
Maybe I am a seasonal eater or I’m a localvore, but now they have more choice and more options because there are some amazing indoor lettuce farming operations in Michigan, but you have to decide if that price point aligns with your values. Does $15 or $20 per head of lettuce makes sense for you? Maybe and maybe not, and that’s okay. You have choice. Or you can decide, “I’m going to have more traditional lettuce,” which is grown in the Salinas Valley or in Yuma, Arizona, or it’s a seasonal crop throughout the southern part of California and Arizona, and you’re going to have it trucked in and you’re like, “This is my carbon footprint and this is worth it.” That’s okay. It’s a choice.
Danielle Wiley: I’m going to switch the order of questions just because we’ve segued naturally. I think a lot about the different generations, probably because I have Gen Z kids. I have a 21 and an 18 year old, and I’m just very fascinated with how they see the world differently from how I grew up. And I know that a lot of people are, but I think Gen Z in particular is very interested in aligning their ethos with the brands that they’re purchasing. For them, there often has to be that fit and they have to feel like, “This brand fits with who I am and speaks to me,” which aligns with what you were just talking about. So how does that impact food brands and how can those food brands make sure that they get in front of those consumers who have that matching ethos?
Ali Cox: Well, I think that there’s two ways we could generalize it and say storytelling and investing 20% of your revenue and marketing, and investing in paid advertising and invest in influencer marketing and respect that your consumers need to be educated and deserve to know more of the story than just what’s on the back of your package. That’s probably number one, a sophisticated marketing strategy. We do a lot of partnership with retail grocers on behalf of our clients, so helping with launches and education and giving the social media team at the grocery stores access to free content and photography and messaging. Just help them tell the story because we also want those folks, they’re really highly educated and typically are somewhat mission driven to love food. So that’s where good partnership comes in, and that’s also where if you invest in that content, and then I’m sure in Michigan you’re going to, I don’t know, Menards or Meijer or Aldi or I don’t know if there’s Kroger up there, but that’s-
Danielle Wiley: I’m a Meijer gal. I’m always at Meijer.
Ali Cox: But that’s where Meijer, you want to be able to walk past your produce guy or gal at Meijer and say, “When are the first cherries going to be here from California?” And you’re having that conversation in April or May. And they’re like, “We just heard from our packer, they just started harvesting last week,” and that is education. And that is something where they can draw and then say, “California cherries between now and the end of June, and then luckily, Michigan cherries will be right by mid-July or the beginning of August.” But that’s celebrating and honoring food in my mind, and it’s also honoring that consumer has deeper, bigger questions and they deserve to understand what they’re paying for. And there’s been a lot of assumptions, this is a hot take, but in a lot of ways, sometimes farmers don’t like their target audience. They don’t like their consumers because they’re like, “Why are they asking these questions?”
Danielle Wiley: Just eat it.
Ali Cox: And I’m like, “Because they deserve to know the answer, just like you deserve to be compensated fairly for growing the food you grow and the risk you put out there every year.” That’s the reality, and I am scared to think of a world without passionate marketers like yourself and our team who are ready to honor the cherry and honor the soil it took, and the impact it affected the climate in order to grow that. We’re ready to honor that, and that’s where I think that’s part of what’s next in food and ingredient marketing is honoring those ingredients and we can’t make any assumptions. Especially, I think back to your point a couple minutes ago, isn’t that hard for those specialty crop growers? Well, if they don’t tell their story, they’re not going to have the market.
Danielle Wiley: Right. I wonder, at the same conference that I was at, there was a lot of buzz about retail media networks and they were showing all these case studies of brands, advertising on DoorDash, advertising on Instacart, advertising in the Kroger media network. And I think about that too because for me, I go to Meijer or I go to produce station and I talk to the guy who’s standing there. Maybe it’s because I’m old, but I prefer to buy my produce. Fine, you can deliver my Tide and-
Ali Cox: I’m with you.
Danielle Wiley: … things that are easy.
Ali Cox: I’ll pick up for all the other stuff.
Danielle Wiley: … but please don’t pick out my peaches for me. But I think Gen Z is totally different and, judging for my kids, are not going to go to the store and have that conversation, and it has to be what pops up for them on DoorDash when they’re just grabbing a bunch of stuff. That’s a big change in how we communicate in advertising. How do you think farmers have been adapting to that or will adapt to that form of advertising?
Ali Cox: I think what you’re saying is really interesting, and I think consumer behavior in generational pools is very interesting. To give Gen Z a break though, and also younger millennials, is that I always say they’re the least lazy consumer there ever was because they do the most amount of research, a voracious amount of research, and they do not make a decision without googling it, chat AI or-
Danielle Wiley: On TikTok, my kids. We go on a trip, they’re finding every restaurant on TikTok.
Ali Cox: Exactly. So I would just say, send your kid to the grocery store to buy something. They’re probably going to actually Google it from the aisle, or they’re going to text you. They’re not going to call you. And then they’re going to Google it, or they’re going to look it up on Instagram or TikTok or whatever. And that’s where if we want to honor their sensibilities as marketers, that’s where your branding’s going to be. That’s where the story’s going to be. Back to your conversation that you had with the retailers at that conference, they’re not in the weekly shoppers, I’m just going to tell you. They’re not in that paper handout. I don’t even read the paper handout. It’s not even for me, and I’m in my mid-40s for goodness sakes.
So that’s where I think that we need to respect, instead of fighting it, let’s just lean into how people receive messaging because it’s evolved over the last generations, but now it’s just happening digitally and that’s why we exist, Danielle. That’s why we have jobs, is because we need to help those who don’t do digital marketing and can’t do digital marketing, and that includes farmers. And we could dive into whose job is it to tell the story of food? Is it farmers? Is it packers? Is it brokers? Is it the brands? Is it the commodity? Those are all nuanced people and we work within all those tentacles, but in a lot of ways it’s not even the farmer’s job, particularly the smaller farmers.
Danielle Wiley: Right, right. So I was going to ask you what role influencer marketing plays in the agricultural space, but I feel like we’ve covered that. I think what I’m more interested in asking you, if you’re open to it, or is what are some great examples of influencer marketing that you’ve seen in the agricultural space?
Ali Cox: I use this example all the time as best practices and I wish I could say that Noble West did it, but how the Sumo Citrus is marketed is really top notch. They honor seasonality, they honor the short growing season. They honor that it’s an expensive purchase. It’s typically like a $10 orange and they have a countdown clock on it, and it’s just a different experience. They do extraordinary influencer marketing and guerilla marketing and all the things, beautiful packaging. It’s an experience that you just want to keep diving into, so that’s one example. I also think Wonderful Pistachios have done a great job. They really turned commodity marketing on its head and were the first to say, “We’re going to add humor into net marketing. We’re going to add humor, we are going to be more culturally relevant. We’re going to be a little cheeky.” Always, those are probably my quickest go-to.
I also think there’s some interesting things happening in the juice industry. We are working in an upcycled fruit facility with a client who is making upcycled fruit, so taking fruit that would otherwise go to silage as a grade out and going and actually cleaning it, and it’s because it’s imperfect. It’s technically imperfect because it’s been graded out, but it’s perfectly edible. Probably if it was grown in Europe, it would be sold in a grocery store but in the United States, because we think everything has to look the same, it’s imperfect. That is I think some of the juicing things that are happening. I think how regenerative marketing and how regenerative farming and upcycling is being approached is really interesting. So I think some hard lessons were learned from how organic has been marketed and certified, and they’re trying to make some changes proactively.
Danielle Wiley: That’s great. I’m excited to see some of that. My husband went to Jackson Hole last winter with some friends and came back talking about the vertical farms and the indoor farms there, and how it had completely taken over the town. And I could see younger generations, that’s just such a great story and is so exciting to hear about, I think just from an environmental perspective.
Ali Cox: Absolutely. But it really just involves intentionality. And I think that if we don’t tell the story of food, we cannot expect consumers to make in intentional choices, and we can’t expect them to make choices on anything other than cost because that’s where if we don’t actually tell the story. So again, using the example of the $15, $17, $20 head of lettuce that’s grown indoor in Michigan in February, understanding the investment that was made to build that facility and to code the robots and do the things, and find the right probiotic mix and the right soil limits and all the things. If you knew that story, you’d be like, “I’m going to savor this salad. It is the best thing I’ve ever eaten this week and enjoy every last bite of it, and we are not going to waste one single part of this.” Versus now, if you think about it, we probably all have a head of lettuce in our fridge that we should have probably eaten three days ago, if we’re being real.
Danielle Wiley: I think for the past three days, my husband and I, we’re empty-nesters as of this week, and we keep-
Ali Cox: Congratulations.
Danielle Wiley: … “What are we going to do for dinner?” And I’m like, “Salad. We have to have salad. We’ve got to eat this lettuce that I bought.” So we are ending every conversation this season with the same question, which is what was the last thing that you were influenced to watch, buy, listen to, try out or read? I know we’re all influenced daily, but can you identify a recent time when you are certain that you were swayed to consume something?
Ali Cox: So as the CEO of a marketing agency, I am an organizational junkie. I cannot listen to enough podcasts about organizational management, change management, behavioral management, cultural management, cultural change, all that. So last night I was driving home from meetings in San Francisco and I was listening to a podcast about organizational management and actually how to manage meetings in a culturally relevant way, and I went home and bought the book.
Danielle Wiley: Okay, what book? Tell everyone what book it is so we can share it with others.
Ali Cox: It is a book by Patrick Lencioni, and it’s his meetings book.
Danielle Wiley: Impacting how meetings are run and organized is, I always say the word wrong, but a Sisyphean endeavor. I think it’s just very difficult, and I find that I can get people on board for a short period of time and then it just starts falling off. You have to just keep pushing it-
Ali Cox: Well, according to the book, and I tend to agree with a lot of the theories that he mentions, some people would think, “Well, if the meeting started on time, there was no confrontation and it ended early, that’s a good meeting.” That’s actually a terrible meeting. That could have been an email.
Danielle Wiley: That sounds very boring.
Ali Cox: That’s a boring meeting and it could have been an email. And that’s where they really are talking about the culture also, how to approach meetings. Sometimes agendas are bad for certain types of meetings. Anyway, it’s a whole meeting theory.
Danielle Wiley: Love it. Love it. Well, thank you so much. This was wonderful. I’m so glad to have met you and have had you on. This was terrific.
Ali Cox: I know. Thank you for the time and thanks for shining a light on food marketing, on agriculture marketing, because I just hope that we breed. And I love that your kids are following the trends of educating and self-educating and the due diligence, and not just taking something for face value because I actually think that’s part of the solution, as long as we lean into telling those food authentic food stories.
Danielle Wiley: Yeah, yeah. I agree. Well, thank you again. This was wonderful.
Ali Cox: Thanks, Danielle.
Danielle Wiley: Thank you for listening. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. Please check back next Monday for a new episode featuring candid conversations that explore the power of influence. I am your host, Danielle Wiley, and this is The Art of Sway.