Consumer Research & Product Development

Consumer research guides marketing efforts for beef's No. 1 brand.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 4, 2014) — With its mission of adding value to registered-Angus cattle, “the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand is your partner,” said CAB's vice president of marketing, Tracey Erickson, during the education series on consumer research and product development hosted Tuesday, Nov. 4, at the Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show at the KCI Expo Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Tracey Erickson
Tracey Erickson

“How do we do it? Layers,” she said, noting targeted consumers are primarily females 34 to 55 years old with $70,000 or more in household income and children. CAB also markets to chefs, restaurateurs and retailers.

“Being a nonprofit, our goal is for every dollar invested to buy $4, $5, maybe even $10 worth of marketing with our partners,” Erickson said. “This approach has built a premium beef brand known around the world.”

Tactics include bringing beef marketers to the farm or ranch: “They want to know.”

She provided examples from leading retailer Meijer, which featured CAB in television advertising. The retailer’s Jerry Suter said, “The days of cheap beef are gone. We make sure when you buy from Meijer, it’s the best.”

The brand’s customized approach with 27 retail chains results in thousands of ads from print to television. “The cost is 99% relationship and design, not paying for advertising,” Erickson explained, noting that retail accounts for 43% of sales.

Foodservice, 34% of sales through more than 9,000 licensed restaurants, grew to record sales by a program that “teaches them to be experts,” she said. The Master of Brand Advantages (MBA) series begins with ranch, feedlot and packer tours, followed by fabricating cuts from primals and finally overcoming sales objections.

Another layer involves chefs as Brand Ambassadors, CAB-trained experts who interact with media in their markets across the United States and other countries, all at no cost to the brand.

Waitstaff training — with contest options — helps everyone at licensed restaurants understand those brand advantages and accurately represent what they are serving. A team of six graphic artists keep busy designing menus for partner restaurants, thus ensuring brand integrity.

This in-house ad agency developed last year’s “Join Our Table” campaign with brand ambassadors in Montana. Next is the “Brand Heritage” campaign showing the people, years and practices behind the taste: “From our family ranchers to your family table.”

Erickson said more than 100 groups have learned through programs at the CAB Education & Culinary Center since its opening in 2012, those including the staff of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods for a segment on beef aging.

She told of consumer research that showed name recognition of 92%, second only to USDA Choice and higher than Prime. Interestingly, most thought Select was higher quality than Choice, however. Other research showed no other Angus brand had near the name recognition as the original, Certified Angus Beef brand.

In another aspect of the research, 30% of consumers said they would drive up to 30 minutes to a grocery store to buy the brand, and nearly 44% would drive 30 minutes or more to a CAB restaurant, Erickson said.


Editor's Note: This article was written by staff or for the Angus Journal®. It is available for reprint upon request to editor Shauna Hermel. Author Steve Suther is director of industry information for Certified Angus Beef LLC. Photos are available upon request.

ABOUT CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF LLC. Of the more than 106 "Angus" branded beef programs monitored by the USDA, CAB is the only one owned by the American Angus Association and its members. The Association formed the CAB brand in 1978 as a not-for-profit company that owns only the trademarks it uses. Our company functions independently from the Association through the guidance of nine directors, which include five members of the Association board. For more information, visit and

ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving nearly 25,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers. For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association’s programs and services, visit