Words from the wise

Content in the food and drink industry

When I was asked to write a blog on ‘Content’ for Tinderflint, I paused. Not because I didn’t want to write it, but because, isn’t this something that everyman and his obedient dog is doing?  But are they doing it right? It’s a bit like the adage conversation PR Founders Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays probably had in the early 1940’s about the measurement of PR, we are still having it. To it now being more about how you can make content work harder for you. I mean, even Dan Evans in his blog for Tinderflint opens his piece with ‘OH NO, ANOTHER CHAT ABOUT CONTENT.’ – Say no more.

We often ruminate and regurgitate content and themes, what channels, and when a client says ‘oh yes I want to be on Twitter – our response is often – why?   In our willingness to write a different kind of blog (and tell me otherwise if it isn’t) we’re keen to turn it on its head a little, take a step back and consider what may lie at the heart of content and brand strategies?

Is it Purpose?
Let’s take it back to basics. What’s your purpose in life? Do the brands you engage with have a purpose, do your clients? We are seeing more and more that purpose is often central to strategy. Take Proper for example, they are a challenger brand in the snacking sector. They partner with BEAM, a charity that works by crowdfunding employment for homeless people and supports them in work. They have a supply chain centred around environmental sustainability with all products Fairtrade and are also a certified B corporation –B Corps are a new kind of business, acting in a sustainable and transparent way and to become this you have to meet high standards of overall social and environment performance, transparency and accountability – you’d shop with them right?

Is it about content provocation or Inspiration?
Do the brands you buy encourage thought provocation or inspiration? Is their content engaging, inspiring, sexy or just plain boring? Are they hitting the mark and encouraging you to re-purchase?

It is about the content.  Right?

Here’s Louise Watson-Dowell, Digital Director at Definition take on the matter:

I don’t know if a blog on marketing food is done right if you don’t mention Innocent.  I reckon the social media manager role  at Innocent Towers is probably one of the most coveted jobs for young guns in the comms professions – they’re quirky, cheeky, funny and always on brand, even when that brand is talking about penguins. Which they do. Often

Basically, Innocent isn’t afraid to have a laugh, take the mick out of themselves or their audience, all the while building a real community feel that drives engagement and, bottom line, makes people love Innocent.  Even their award entry to The Drum’s Social Buzz Awards 2019 (where they won, of course) was on brand. Now that’s commitment. So what can we take away from the way that Innocent does things when it comes to content?

1. Bring all your content back to brand values
What are the things that make your brand tick? What makes you different? What’s your tone of voice? You might be nonchalant, irreverent, prophetic, serious, straight talking or challenging.
Own it. Across everything.

Make your content consistent across your website, social media channels, marketing materials and product. Build a voice and live it. You don’t have to be all things to all men – a cohesive tone of voice and messaging reflected in everything you do drives engagement and builds trust and authority, whether you’re talking about your smoothies or penguins, or anything in between.

2. It’s not all about you

That might sound a bit harsh, but, it’s true and it’s important to remember when you’re thinking about content. Your brand values align with other causes, other people, other things – what are they and how can you champion them, and get them to champion you?

Although your content should always come back to brand values, it doesn’t all have to be inward looking. Part of creating a community is a focus on the things outside of your brand that demonstrate the things that make you tick, the ideas you support. Think about sponsorships, affiliations, charity partnerships or community projects that reflect your brand. Build your support there, talk about it, show your fans.

Share the love and you’ll see it back – partners will spread the message about your great work too.

3. Get emotional
Emotions are powerful things. Harness that.

Easier said than done sometimes, but if you can illicit an emotional response through your content it could perform up to twice as well as content that’s presenting rationale alone. Video and photography are a great medium for this.

When it comes to food, there are all manner of passions to tap into to drive that emotional connection – people care about sustainability, whether their food is vegan, fair trade or uses palm oil. They remember moments from times gone by with food. Food envy is real, trust me, and jealousy is one of the strongest drivers of decision making. Or, develop hard hitting content demonstrating the values of the causes your brand supports. Give this a watch. Gets me every time.

The food and drink industry is in rapid growth and also under high scrutiny. In this new decade it is vital that brands, and often easier for start-ups and challenger brands, content hits the nail on the head and in the right places.

Tinderflint creates content for food and drink brands and here at Definition we’ve just launched our commitment to help start up and challenger brands create effective stand out communications strategies around key industry issues: purpose, policy and sustainability. Whether it’s a new campaign to launch recyclable packaging to working with community groups to launch a healthier weight obesity programme – we are here to help and to get involved….

You can read more about our new food and drink division here.


Written by Rosanna Head & Louise Watson-Dowell @ Definition Agency


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