Opinion 4 minute read
A few years ago, using the power of public relations and communications to launch a food brand was like a piece of cake. You followed the instructions mixed the recipe ingredients together, added the flavor quotient, baked it, and it was a hit! Today that piece of cake has figuratively and literally been transformed by technology. From the traditional days of a product launch press release and “tasting is believing”, to the modern world of #Instagood #HealthBhiTasteBhi #CoffeeLover; food and beverage are ‘on demand’ for consumers.
For today’s consumer, food and drink are one of the primary pathways in their pursuit of health and happiness. Eating, drinking, cooking and dining are critical parts of friendships, relationships, family connection, entertainment and self-care rituals.
Whether from an agency, brand or consumer perspective, the industry has been revolutionized. I’ve witnessed this interesting shift. Food bloggers, influencer videos or posts, tweets, FB, YouTube and more, the high engagement of digital outreach has had an unrivalled impact on food and drink.
Here are some tips and tricks to make your food campaign click:
Identify real personalities to amplify brand attributes
Too Yumm! recently launched ‘Har Craving Ka Jawaab’; with the incredibly health conscious cricketer and desi food lover, Virat Kohli. The efforts of the campaign further boosted TooYumm’s strong positioning, when the campaign revealed India’s favourite streetside flavors according to Virat Kohli – Noodle Masala, Dahi Papdi Chaat, Chilli Chataka and Chilli Achaari. By recognizing a culture’s need to eat “healthy but tasty”, its “go-to” flavours; and addressing that requirement, food brands hit the sweet spot. The takeaway here, drives home the fact that when brands keep a keen ear to the ground and swiftly respond to their audience needs, the results are outstanding.
Bring the brand closer to customers through technology
In the age of hyper-aware GenZ and millennials more than ever before, authentic brand content that resonates with your audience, keeps them engaged and brings value to their lives, is what works. Our antenna was tuned into the potential and power of digital. As customers are home quarantined, coffee aficionados (including me!) had minor panic attacks. The loyalists of Starbucks started showing signs of withdrawal symptoms. Could we ever imagine life without an Iced Caramel Macchiato in hand? Starbucks globally, has been lauded for its customer centric approach. In the true spirit of the brand’s purpose, it ensured customers; get their favorite beverage delivered while they stay safe inside their homes. Presently most of us are in personal and professional meetings virtually through video conference apps. We leveraged this insight to give people a ‘virtual Starbucks experience’ through customized backgrounds. Customers could enjoy their latté set amidst an ambience of their favorite Starbucks café.
Spark dialogues through unstereotyping food
While brands have been busy breaking stereotypes about people, we wanted to address an age-old norm around food – the notion of a perfect round chapati, almost always judged by its stereotypical round shape due to centuries of conditioning, formed way back during the Indus Valley Civilization and passed on for generations since then. We created the idea of #WhyShouldAllChapatisBeRound to positioning Annapurna atta as a brand leading a movement to change this age-old stereotype in food, albeit, in a new-age and light-hearted manner through our influencer campaign. We handpicked influencer couples. Why couples? Because they aligned with Annapurna’s target market and conveyed our message via a relatable banter that these couples share. Insights have indicated that couple content has been receiving better traction and engagement during the lockdown. The pre-buzz and sustenance Instagram stories by influencers received over 1.6 million views!
Storytelling based on authentic in-home experiences
We live in a world where consumers demand that food and beverage brands go beyond the product. Consumers have demonstrated a need to connect with brands in a personalized setting, with experientials and communication that resonates. Following this shift towards an increased experiential economy, Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel, Gachibowli, launched their ‘Chef on Call’ service, way back in March. A fantastic insight into the social distancing norms we experience today! Savouring a fine dining experience in the comfort of your own home beats even the most decadent delivery service. Smaller, more intimate groups of people can enjoy an in-home experience from lattes to lasagnas. Niche offerings like those from Hurrem’s, a first-of-its-kind Turkish Baklava Confectionery Café in India, offer meet and greet and tasting sessions with Turkish chefs over a cup of invigorating Turkish coffee. Food and beverage brandshave morphed into a style of life, bent on sharing the most inspiring experiences with everyone, everywhere. This has been a turning point in the evolution of the food ecosystem.
Dynamic food trends continue to inspire compelling storytelling. Amplifying trends with broad and deep social media outreach, earned owned and paid media will drive new levels of attention for brands. So will identifying, engaging and activating relevant influencers who reach a brand’s audience authentically and contextually.
Kavita Lakhani, executive director, GolinOpinion – MullenLowe Lintas Group