Adopted a cow, and didn’t even tell a story

What do you think of when you hear "Adopt a cow"?

If you are not familiar with the domestic dairy industry, perhaps the first picture that comes to your mind is: cow, buffalo or dairy cow. You are led by a breeder to identify a cow in a pasture, and then say "Yes, that's it, I want it." Immediately afterwards, the breeder took it out and told you, "It's yours now." It was sprayed with your name, and then you took it home and kept it in captivity.

But this is not the case, business imagination is always infinite. "Adopt a cow" is a domestic milk brand.

On the 19th of last month, the dairy brand "Adopt a Cow" has completed a round of financing. The financing was jointly led by KKR and Dehong Capital, and Haibang Fenghua, Guanghe Investment and others participated in the investment. "Adopt a Cow" did not announce the specific financing amount.

It was financing that brought "adopting a cow" back to the public eye again. It is worth noting that this dairy company has conducted three rounds of financing since its establishment in 2016, namely in 2017, 2018 and 2021, which means that the last round of financing for “adopt a cow” was three years ago. Up.

From the very beginning, this dairy brand has broken the tradition of domestic dairy companies, from brand name, to marketing, to sales model, and then a series of stories. It seems that "adopting a cow" at the time seemed to be a potential stock in a new consumer brand in the dairy industry. It satisfies all the elements that investors imagined for the "net celebrity brand", but in fact, in the past few years, "adopting a cow" There is still a gap between the "good milk" or "milk that consumers like to consume" in the eyes of consumers.

In the tepid state, someone said, "Adopt a cow" tells a good story. At this time a few years later, various companies in the beverage industry were arrogant, and in the silence of moisturizing, someone was the obvious winner.

As for "adopting a cow," now it seems that perhaps its story is not that good.

How did the story begin?

Products need stories to be full.

On the eve of Model 3 production, Musk put down his bold words and said that he would produce 200,000 Model 3 by the end of 2017. As a result, at the end of that year, Tesla only produced 2,700 Model 3s. At the same time, Tesla was in debt of $10 billion and its credit rating was downgraded.

In April 2018, Musk personally took over the Model 3 manufacturing engineering. During that time, Musk told the media that he often fell asleep in the factory because he "had no time to go home and take a shower." In July of the same year, Tesla was finally able to produce 5,000 Tesla Model 3s per week.

After a milestone goal is achieved, the story for achieving the goal is also widely circulated. Since Musk can sleep in the factory for the production of cars, Tesla will at least be a brand that has "worked hard."

Not long ago, 360 CEO Zhou Hongyi announced that 360 will lead the round D financing of Nezha Automobile, becoming the second largest shareholder of Nezha Automobile, and deeply participating in the manufacturing of Nezha Automobile. According to the 21st Century Business Herald, Zhou Hongyi admitted to the media in the 360 ​​Building Lecture Hall that he was inspired by the story of "Musk's Sleeping Factory". "It's how advanced the automated factory he built is so advanced that he sleeps in the factory every day."

The role of a good story for the brand itself, consumers and even investors is self-evident.

▲ Screenshot of 21st Century Business Herald

The stories of technology companies are more fascinating, and the story of China's dairy industry is a vast wasteland. Except for the rich history of old dairy companies and the darkest years of China's dairy industry, there are very few stories about the birth of brand blessing. Until the appearance of "adopt a cow".

The story of this milk brand is related to Xu Xiaobo, a "real estate merchant". In the official narrative, in 2012, Xu Xiaobo brought 8 cans of imported milk powder to Hong Kong for his son. He was detained by the customs because he did not understand the "purchase restriction order". After 4 hours of inquiries, Xu Xiaobo not only wrote the guarantee letter. , The milk powder was also confiscated. Xu Xiaobo felt frustrated and angry. In a promotional video for adopting a cow, he said:

Could it be that our country with a population of 1.4 billion can't make a really good glass of milk? In the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel, in order to make a really good glass of milk, I frantically searched for solutions all over the world.

While heartbroken, Xu Xiaobo even said, “In five years’ time, China’s real estate has lost my real estate gun. It really doesn’t matter, but I think China’s agriculture, especially China’s dairy industry, because of my participation, It will be different."

▲The picture is from the promotional video of @识养一头牛

The experience of self-reflection due to being trapped in the customs is introduced in the brand history of Adopt a Cow's official website: the original intention of adopting a cow to "make a cup of rest assured milk" was born.

From the fact that imported milk was detained and thought that domestically produced milk was not good, from the son’s failure to drink good milk to the thought that people all over the country could not drink good milk. Give up profitable real estate business because of milk quality. This story and thinking logic laid the foundation for the establishment of adopting a cow, and at the same time made a basic marketing plan for adopting the image of a cow.

However, in 2014, Xu Xiaobo did spend 460 million yuan to build his own ranch.

Four years after the detention of milk powder in Hong Kong, Xu Xiaobo met Wu Xiaobo, a financial writer. The meeting of the two Xiaobos is destined to some kind of fate. In the promotional video, Xu said that he shared the story of raising cattle with Wu at that time and told Wu that he had made a good cup of safe and secure milk. Wu Xiaobo said, "Then tell the world loudly."

Therefore, in 2016, the adoption of a cow and the Wu Xiaobo channel was formally established.

▲ Picture from @取养一头牛

There are many similar stories. In addition to Xu Xiaobo himself, the grassroots employees also form part of the story of adopting a cow. Adopting a cow and shooting a number of promotional videos to tell the story of the cow-raising employees.

How to describe the entrepreneurial story of adopting a cow?

One of the promos may illustrate the characteristics of these stories: In the video, a milker in the milking hall is milking and working with his back to the camera, while the narrator says the milker in a blunt local dialect. The "confession" of the worker. "I have to milk more than 2500 cows every day, of course, I mainly rely on our DeLaval turntable."

An uncertain observation is that although this narration is spoken in a dialect, the tone of the dialect is young and smooth, which does not match the middle-aged milker status. The dialect at this moment is to express the simplicity of the milker, but it has a little more performance.

It's like the story of adopting a cow. It is not so great in itself, or even smooth, but after some seemingly unnatural modifications and additions, it is still established.

▲The picture is from @取养一头牛

Cows that cost 80 yuan for food, and still listen to music?

Xu Xiaobo lost his status as a "real estate agent" and went to raise cows. The core story of being a milk brand is adopting a cow. How to make really good milk, as Xu Xiaobo said, is a blank that needs to be filled in.

The original intention of adopting a cow was to produce good milk. How to evaluate whether milk is "good"? In the dairy industry, nutritional value and taste always come first.

Adopting a cow at the beginning of its establishment is obviously more high-end for its dairy products. First of all, from the perspective of Xu Xiaobo's investment in purchasing an independent ranch, it shows that adopting a cow hopes to present the best possible impression to consumers in the milk supply. A promotional material that suspects adopting a cow writes:

Milk and yogurt are all directly supplied from the ranch and are super fresh, and the intermediate cost of layered distribution is also subtracted. This money can be reinvested in pastures and dairy cows.

No longer have to face the problems of high prices of Daiquiri dairy products, uncertain shelf life, or even difficult to distinguish between true and false, and directly use the price of the place of origin to drink good local milk.

Xu Xiaobo said: "This is not turning the cart before the horse."

The pasture under Xu Xiaobo's plate is in Hebei, named Kanghong Pasture. According to reports, Kanghong Pasture has 11,000 Holstein dairy cows, each with a yield of 13 tons. In addition, more than 150,000 mu of pasture has been planted. The nutrient content of the milk source. Higher than EU standards".

▲ Picture from @取养一头牛

Adopting a cow traces the "good milk" back to breeding cows. In the propaganda, adopting a cow often mentions the "methodology of raising cows" such as "listening to music for the cows" and "the cost of food for each cow exceeds 80 yuan." At the beginning of this year, he adopted a cow and invited Li Yundi as the "Chief Cow Music Officer" to play the piano against the cows and be responsible for playing music for the cows.

All kinds of publicity have shown that adopting a cow hopes to create a look of "people are not as good as cows", so that the brand will get a certain premium, and consumers will be assured of the quality of adopting a cow.

Coupled with the cooperation with various self-media channels and online celebrity live broadcasts and evaluations, the adoption of a cow quickly gained popularity.

▲Adopt a cow and dad to evaluate and promote milk

Marketing is one aspect. Another thing that must be mentioned is the innovation of adopting a cow-the establishment of the "adoption model". In order to hit the pain points of consumers regarding the safety and quality of milk, Adopt a Cow initiated the "Million Family Adoption Plan" in 2020, and launched three models of "adopting" dairy cows.

According to Sun Shijun, the co-founder of Adopt a Cow, the first one is cloud adoption. Simply put, it is to play games on the platform to experience the so-called fun of raising cows, and consumers can also complete online communication with cows by watching the live broadcast of the ranch. interactive. The second type is joint adoption. Jointly launched joint cards with Wu Xiaobo Channel and Dunhuang IP, to obtain the rights of product delivery and membership customization.

▲ “Yun Yang Niu'' who adopted a cow

Finally, there is real-name adoption, which is the best way to reflect the adoption model: consumers can adopt a dairy cow and become a "cow-raising partner", can reserve milk one year in advance at the exclusive farm, and receive regular information about the dairy cow. Various feedback.

According to the introduction of the Taobao flagship store that adopts a cow, consumers who adopt a cow can choose to join the club, and can achieve the consumption amount by purchasing milk cards and other methods, and achieve different levels to obtain more rights.

▲ The picture comes from Adopt a Cow Taobao flagship store

These models illustrate the innovative nature of adopting a cow in the current dairy industry, that is, making milk sales more digital. Think about this picture: Many years ago, the traditional dairy industry still relied on phone calls or door-to-door sales to attract long-term customers. When the customer confirmed the milk order, a small box was installed at the door to prepare the milkman to fill the milk. . The same is to attract long-term customers, but this method is more inefficient. In this regard, adopting a cow introduces a membership system to attract consumer customers to stay sticky.

▲Picture from @上海静安

What needs to be admitted is that this method is effective. On the one hand, people need to find safe and high-quality milk as a substitute after experiencing the crisis of trust in domestic milk. The adoption model of online and offline interaction provides consumers with transparent and open channels. On the other hand, consumers nowadays also want to grab a better customer experience from various brands, and satisfy the identity of "prestigious customers" through the adoption model. Name the cows and observe the growth of the cows. This one-to-one rights and interests can greatly satisfy the additional needs of milk consumers.

According to the "2020 Tmall "618" Dairy Drinks General Report", the overall sales growth rate of brands that adopted a cow during the 618 period exceeded 600%, and the flagship store sales reached the industry's TOP 1, of which 4 million boxes of milk card sales were sold.

During the most beautiful days, adopting a cow was called: the perfect diary of the dairy industry, the dark horse of the dairy industry, etc.

Adopt a story

The dairy industry has not had a story for a long time.

In 2008, melamine and cyanuric acid were found in the milk powder of the Sanlu Group. At the end of that year, the Ministry of Health notified that tens of thousands of children across the country were affected by Sanlu milk powder and entered the hospital. Three years after the incident, a media investigation found that 70% of the people still lost confidence in domestic milk powder. During the same period, people in mainland China regarded Hong Kong and overseas milk powder as safe milk powder. For a time, a large number of "water customers" poured in, and various places have issued milk powder purchase restrictions.

The story of adopting a cow is depicted on this basis.

▲Picture from unsplash

Nowadays, although it cannot be said that adopting a cow depends on hard marketing and floating stories to survive, but the story really makes adopting a cow popular.

The question before adopting a cow is, is this story a good one? Is there any flaw in this story? If this story is not well told, what can we rely on to adopt a cow to become the "good milk" in the minds of consumers?

In fact, the flaws appeared from the moment Xu Xiaobo claimed to be a "real estate agent".

▲ The picture comes from the promotional video of @取养一头牛

Before adopting a cow and leaving the pen, no one seemed to have doubts about Xu Xiaobo's self-proclaimed identity. But in fact, this worried Zhongzhong’s father was the chairman of Zhejiang Zhongsheng Industrial Co., Ltd. before he established and adopted a cow.

According to public information investigations, although Zhejiang Zhongsheng Industrial Co., Ltd. has undergone many changes in its business scope, it has always been manufacturing and selling bamboo glue templates, as well as selling chemical raw materials and building materials. In 2009, the company's business projects also included coal wholesale. It cannot be said to be exactly the same as the business project of real estate development, it has nothing to do with it.

▲From Sky Eye Check

According to a survey by the "Changjiang Commercial Daily", in the year that the farm that adopted a cow was invested and built, Zhongsheng Industrial's total assets were 141 million yuan, and its debt ratio was as high as 66.67%. Even leaving aside the financial situation, it is doubtful where the 460 million yuan invested in the construction of the ranch came from.

This means that the narrative of a real estate businessman giving up stable wealth to save the domestic dairy industry is mixed with exaggerated elements. It is the true version of the story that a building material boss changed his career when the company's financial situation was poor.

However, the brand has been established, what does the identity of the chairman have to do with it?

▲ Picture from @取养一头牛

Of course there is. A story is exaggerated, and it is destined to make a steady stream of stories betray for this. For example, there is indeed evidence that listening to songs of dairy cows stimulates their cerebral cortex to increase lactation. However, the nutritional content of milk for adopting a cow is actually not much different from that of branded milk on the market. Lensu and others are similar.

Those actions such as listening to music for cows and doing SPA are to allow consumers to increase their awareness of the brand when adopting a cow. An unchanging fact is that no matter how good animal welfare is, the cows must still be put into place when adopting a cow. Continuously squeeze their breasts on the assembly line.

In this way, only the digital sales model and the so-called "adoption model" are important story lines that distinguish the adoption of a cow from other milk. Sun Shijun, who has adopted a cow, once said that the company has achieved a sales scale of 2 billion years, which is undoubtedly successful. However, digital sales are essentially online interaction and marketing, and the "adoption model" is essentially a membership system and a promotional method of changing tricks.

▲ Picture from Xiaohongshu

Take the "Share Home" proposed in 2018 as an example. In addition to purchasing designated products, you can become a "Bull Raising Red Man", but you can also become a "Bull Raising Red Man" by inviting friends to get commissions.

According to the Beijing News, "adoption" under the "adoption" model is not what consumers imagined to obtain milk and products from designated dairy cows. "Adoption" finally became an imaginary story.

▲ Picture from @取养一头牛

Of course, the adoption of a cow has received financing recently. Public information indicates that this round of financing will be used to expand the scale of upstream high-quality dairy cattle breeding, and accelerate the digital and intelligent upgrading of enterprises and the refined operation of the industrial chain.

But at present, adopting a cow is too dependent on online channels, and the profit model is also full of uncertainty. How to balance the cost of marketing and self-raising cows? How to make a story continue to attract those audiences? In these issues, adopting a cow has to be resolved slowly.

What is certain is that when those loyal followers adopted a Holstein cow, they did not know that they actually adopted one of the most mediocre stories in the Chinese dairy industry.

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