The path to improved food and beverage marketing outcomes.
We run smack into a form of marketing disconnect all too frequently. The kind of disconnect that impedes brand traction and success. There’s not a marketing professional in business who doesn’t want to secure engagement and conversion on a daily basis. Yet this goal can be increasingly elusive as consumers run away from anything that looks like traditional marketing. Thus, best practices are continuing to evolve at a startling pace.
What matters in marketing now is this: how can we create real bonds and relationships with the people we wish to reach? It begins with them, always. And nowhere can this be seen in such stark and powerful relief as Table Strategy.
So what is Table Strategy?
Consider this quote from Chef Michael Chiarello:
“We taste with our hearts when we receive the gift of someone’s cooking. Cooking for family and friends allows us to celebrate their presence and helps keep them close. Shared food creates shared memories. The times spent in the kitchen and at the table are among the most meaningful moments in life.
Food is a pathway to personal enrichment, creativity and the greater meaning we derive around consumption. Simply stated it’s always about the food and the role it plays in our lives:
- It’s preparation – ideas, creativity, techniques, new flavors
- And enjoyment – the culinary and taste experience
- The social interactions that come from a meal well prepared and well shared
- The outcomes we experience in improved health and lifestyle
When around the table you can observe how food orchestrates in real life. It is not merely the sum of calories and sugar gram consumption, delivery of micronutrients or fuel, or a means to a physical end – as in energy and sustenance.
Food is both an adventure and facilitator
Food is fundamental to our lives and experiences with each other. Increasingly people care about the quality of their food experiences, and thus, the freshness and sustainability of the actual ingredients they ingest.
Culinary culture has also evolved and with it comes a whole new horizon in cooking that unfolds around us in the form of real, locally-sourced products. All of this drives a natural segue to greater learning and imagination in the kitchen.
And when we peel this onion just a bit further, we can observe the human adventure unfold as this idea comes home to roost. Our social lives coalesce around the table. Eating leads to conversation and shared enjoyment. If you can borrow that alchemy and inject the essence of these emotions and feelings into brand communication, the outcomes and opportunities can (and will) dramatically improve.
People gravitate to products and services that mirror their lifestyle. When marketing looks less like marketing and more like a conversation about creativity with food and enjoyment at the table, we gain traction, engagement, interest and permission for a relationship.
For that very reason, your brand and retail value proposition will accelerate. Said another way, consumers are willing to sign up with brands that see them as real people, and avoid those that see them as targets.
If you can capture the emotional resonance this brings in your marketing strategies, you can change the paradigm of how your brand and business are perceived. Table Strategy at its core is about our experience with food, the pleasure it brings, the wellness it perpetuates and the enjoyment and conversation it ignites with those we care about.
Everything in food and beverage marketing must evolve from the consumer experience and their love affair with food. It is only when we achieve alignment with what matters to people in their lives that true engagement can be achieved. Everything else is an invitation to less effective deployment of time and money.
At Emergent, we look at Table Strategy as a foundational construct to help us think about more impactful and powerful communication.
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.