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Food and drink. Whether it’s fuel to help get things done or you’re planning what’s for lunch whilst eating breakfast, the food and beverage sector is competitive. So, whether you are an artisan start up or an established FMCG brand, you’ll need to really know your target audience and what affects their purchasing decisions. Having an enticing food and drink PR strategy is part of making sure that your product is always first on their shopping list!
At ADPR we love helping food and beverage brands bring new products to market, increase their brand positioning or diversify their offerings through creating innovative PR campaigns.
With increasingly savvy consumers here are some core considerations to help kickstart your planning.
Provenance is paramount
Authenticity. A word used more and more in daily life and critical to food and beverage offerings. Do you know the exact provenance of all the elements in your product? How confident are you with your supply chain? It’s more than just ticking off your legal requirements like listing ingredients, allergy information and nutritional data. It’s even more than ethical decision making around workers’ rights and conditions and the environmental impact of production.
Being able to communicate who you work with and how and where your ingredients are grown, crafted, processed or sourced is what makes your offer different. Sharing these stories in a creative and compelling way helps to build curiosity and relationships with current and potential customers. From infographics mapping food miles to interviews with growers, the stories that you share about the people you choose to work with can really impact the perception of your brand. But consumers are savvy. Don’t hop on the plant-based trend if it’s not on brand for you. Make sure that any claim that you make in messaging – from packaging to online – meets relevant legislation and has been proven.
So you’ve got your delicious product with its perfect blend of ingredients. Getting feedback is critical at the development stages. Your friends and family are usually always very kind, so broaden your net and create a team of product development testers that will give you hones feedback. Now’s the time to get both quantitative and qualitative data collected in a structured way to inform your marketing approach, business development and product refinements. Create an online, telephone or face to face based survey – just be sure that you collect and process personal data in-line with GDPR requirements. You may have to incentivise tasters, so have some budget put aside for this. Local food markets are perfect places to get instant feedback and raise brand awareness – just make sure you’ve got all the right certifications and permissions needed. Research relevant influencers and trade journalists and send them bespoke personalised packages and ask for their feedback. Just make sure, where you can, you find out their foody preferences in advance – social media research can really help with this! At ADPR we love to create product seeding strategies from desk drops at publication house HQs to live taste tests on BBC Radio 2.
More than ingredients
Like many things in life, your product is more than the sum of its ingredients. Knowing your target audience is key and being really clear on the benefits of buying your product will shape the PR launch and help you stand out. From ultimate convenience to hyperlocal sourcing, the latest superfood wellness benefits to award winning taste, with the right communications messages you can build a stellar campaign to help meet your business goals and generate sales. Think carefully about your content and time it with relevant ‘hooks’. National awareness days and even the seasons can provide the perfect platform for your campaign. Good imagery is also key to a successful campaign so make sure you make this a key focus.
Getting out and about
Speciality Fine Food Fair. Natural & Organic Products Europe. The Royal Bath & West Show. The Exeter Food & Drink Festival. Taste London. There are hundreds of trade and consumer shows, festivals and markets to choose from. Having a marketing and PR event activation plan is critical to make the most of your attendance. That means setting goals and selecting the events that give you the most opportunity to exceed them. Is it meeting key buyers? Testing a new product in a new geographical location? Checking out the competition? Getting feedback on new packaging? Hearing a phenomenal speaker? Being part of a panel talk?
Trade shows and exhibitions are great for getting the latest trends and industry insights. Treat everyone that comes to your stand as if they are your dream buyer and you’ll do fine. Make sure that you have enough product for samples, key information, a clear call to action and – for consumer shows – consider a special show offer to help increase those sales. The exhibitor organiser teams are super helpful, especially if you make sure you fill all your show forms in plenty of time, and many shows have dedicated PR teams. Get your news to them as soon as possible and ask what they are planning to encourage attendance and how you can help them – offer competition prizes or samples for the media office. Make sure that everyone on your stand is briefed about the objectives of the event, smile and we recommend flat shoes – always! Post event, be sure to follow up with all those leads you’ve generated!