BeefLegends – A Design Strategy Connecting Australian Producers and Chinese Consumers
Food Agility CRC
Beefledger is an integrated blockchain-enabled food provenance and smart contract transaction platform. BeefLegends is its design led consumer engagement strategy. BeefLegends combats food fraud by embedding authentic regional stories in the data that credentials Australian beef exported to China. It connects two ends of the supply chain for mutual benefit.
Image: Mount Gambier High School students interview Chef Shu as part of their digital storytelling project.
BeefLedger’s overarching challenge is to address food fraud in China. It does this by means of distributed ledger technology whose data tracks the product from paddock to plate. BeefLegends’ design challenge was to 1) communicate BeefLedger and engage communities of production; 2) add value to BeefLedger’s unique data narrative; 3) co-design creative content in various forms that connects the two ends of the supply chain for mutual benefit. BeefLegends enhances the data narratives with human centred ones generated and co-designed by local communities of production across regional Australia in an educational context and accessible via next generation Laava QR codes.
BeefLegends is a design strategy tailored to the accelerating complexity of Chinese consumer culture. As consumer driven content becomes more disintermediated, individualised, instant, and ubiquitous, BeefLegends addresses the risk that conventional marketing strategies employed by Australian industries in China are becoming less fit for purpose and less effective in promoting Australian products. BeefLegend’s design strategy engages young people in regional communities with social influencers in China developing creative video content on Douyin (China’s TikTok), and other social media platforms. Thus, BeefLedgends creates a content loop that has benefits for both ends of the supply chain turning consumers into creative ‘prosumers.’
As a component of a larger R&D partnership, BeefLegends engages local governments, farmers, producers and local school students at the Australian end: a “whole of community” approach. At the Chinese end it engages individuals, social influencers and group buyers as well as retail distribution networks. Thus, it has designed a feedback loop whose impact is to connect individual producers and their communities directly to buyers in China. BeefLegends both mediates cross-cultural communication and disintermediates the conventions of export marketing. BeefLegends employs narrative engagement for digital prosumerisation, which transforms passive buyers of products and services into active creators of value.
BeefLegends brings design thinking approaches and co-design methods to the complexity of contemporary commerce and community in the export environment. Not only does it break new ground in linking producers to consumers by means of community participation, it enables new forms of mutually beneficial partnerships within regional Australia by designing-in benefits bringing together the agricultural sector with the creative industries. Further, it locates community, culture and design as integral components (ingredients rather than garnish) of a more complex whole that is itself breaking new ground in areas of international trade and law, behavioural economics and e-commerce. In doing so BeefLegends positions BeefLedger as a leader in corporate social investment. Our strategy is designed to disrupt the orthodoxies of patronage and philanthropy and develop new ways of embedding social license in the operation’s core business: food and data. This contributes to more resilient regional communities and better uptake of the products in their market.
Cross-country trade is geared towards volume but produce remains largely undifferentiated and unable to take full advantage of food provenance premium potentials. BeefLegends places producers, consumers and their trusted network at the heart of cross-border trade by integrating them meaningfully into new circuits of digital value creation.