The end of “spray and pray” tactics.
The world has changed dramatically for food and beverage brands: marketing traction and engagement are more elusive than ever. Questions multiply now about the right communication channels, aggregating scale and somehow securing attention. Why? Because consumers can quickly separate themselves from marketing they don’t want (which is most of it).
Brands that matter to consumers share a common characteristic of being relevant and meaningful to them in ways that transcend the basics of product performance (feature and benefit). The search for engagement begins with this insight: people buy emotionally not analytically. The goal for any food brand is to matter to its user and thus be in a position to cultivate a relationship, versus being at the mercy of commoditizing price promotion.
Emotion, by the way, is inspired by belief, which is secured when brands offer deeper meaning and value beyond the product.
Here are four simple rules that work to separate the wheat from the chaff in effective marketing strategy, knowing that deeper meaning and unselfishness are table stakes to building a relationship.
1. Be (super) Focused
There are simply too many brands and businesses competing for attention to try and be all things to all people. Today, it is more important to mine relevance with a smaller cohort of engaged followers than be marginally (or less) meaningful to a larger segment. Narrow your focus based on deep understanding of your core user fan base and work overtime to become more valuable to them.
2. Be (truly) Different
From mission, website to ingredient sourcing, recipe, packaging, behaviors and commitments beyond the transaction – zig when everyone else in your category zags. Push the edges of differentiation out fully to separate and elevate your brand from everything else in the consideration set. Do the unexpected!
3. Be (authentically) Human
The voices of real people (users), credible influencers, company founders and other subject matter experts within the organization should be brought to life. People want to know who is behind the brand and they want the validation of experts on claims made about product ingredients, formulation and integrity.
4. Be (rousingly) Inspirational
Brands-that-matter work hard to become resources and guides for activities and issues their customers care about. Your path to a real relationship will occur when you become an enabler of these aspirations and interests. People want to belong – to be part of something important. Elevate your game by cultivating a higher purpose and fulfilling the role of catalyst. Deeper beliefs and real purpose lead to inspiring moments.
If you do these four things well, even more can be gained to stir the winds of social sharing and brand ambassadorship – a goal for any successful retail or product business in the food and beverage world.
Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent Healthy Living. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to national food, beverage, home and lifestyle companies. Emergent’s unique and proprietary transformation and growth focus helps organizations navigate, engage and leverage consumers’ desire for higher quality, healthier product or service experiences that mirror their desire for higher quality lifestyles. For more information, contact Bob@Emergent-Comm.com and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.