Taste the Difference with Food and Drink PR
With Christmas just round the corner, we’ve already scoffed a heap of mince pies here at PR Superstar Towers and we’re wondering just how much food and drink we’re going to get through during the festive season. Of course, food and drink is big business in the UK, with the industry turning over a tasty £76 billion each year. Cookery books dominate non-fiction bestseller lists; food shows dominate the TV ratings, and pictures of foodies’ mealtimes dominate social media. Smashed avo on toast anybody?
This is great news for the food and drink industry, but it also means the sector is more competitive than ever. Product manufacturers are fighting to be chosen as TV chefs’ ‘newly discovered’ ingredient, and brands are jostling for eye-level shelf space in the top supermarkets and speciality food stores.
If you’re a manufacturer looking to get into a particular retailer; a brand that’s launching a new food or drink product; or a company that specialises in niche speciality goods – a highly targeted public relations campaign can get your products flying off the shelves.
Here are a few food and drink PR tips to whet people’s appetite for your product:
Use evocative imagery
Great photography is absolutely key for brands in the food and drink industry – especially when you’re approaching glossy magazines and using social platforms such as Pinterest or Instagram. Whether it’s a small news-in-brief item or a fabulous full-page feature, low-quality images will let you down – or even deter the editor from including your feature altogether.
Eating and drinking are highly sensory experiences, so you need to make sure your images are top notch. Think of M&S and how they raise people’s expectations for how food should look and taste.
Providing beautiful photos will not only get food journalists salivating, it might result in an editor giving your story even more coverage. Capturing food at its best is an art, so use a good food photographer, preferably one who has credibility with your target media and who understands what picture editors are looking for.
Build fans by engaging with them early
Use social media to conduct research, build a base of opinion formers, journalists and fans, and involve them in your product development, tasting, refining and packaging. Many well established brands have seen the value in early engagement, such as crisp brand Walkers. Their ‘Do Us a Flavour’ campaign gave the consumer unprecedented control over the direction and outcome of their campaign to introduce new products to the range. Members of the public submitted ideas for possible new crisp flavours, with the best six going to the public vote. The winner received £50,000, and a share in the profit of their winning flavour, which, just for the record was the deliciously sounding Pulled Pork in a Sticky BBQ Sauce.
Make a date
The editorial content of many food articles revolves around the calendar year – diets in January, Valentine’s Day in February, Easter themes for spring, al fresco dining for summer, Halloween and bonfire night for autumn and of course Christmas, which seems to take up a massive amount of editorial for the whole of November and December.
Consider how your food or drink might fit around these themes when approaching the press.
The proof is in the eating
You may think your food or drink product is exquisite, but has anybody actually graded it for you? Product sampling is an easy and inexpensive way to get crucial feedback on the taste, look and feel of the product from those all-important food journalists.
You can do this by organising media drops to radio programmes, and offering to run in-house demonstrations and tastings for media houses.
This technique is one of the best methods to build recognition, and it can be much more effective than standard advertising.
Don’t forget recipe websites for ingredient-led products. Research the top 10 relevant recipe sites for your product(s) and consider what images and recipes you can provide to complement, not duplicate what they already have. Tips (from chefs, or celebrities) can often provide useful coverage too. And if you can afford it, consider having some simple demonstration videos made for YouTube. These can be used on your own website too.