Posts tagged "brand content"

Cooking burnout is upon families right now

Your Greatest Branded Content Creation Opportunity Has Arrived

August 2nd, 2020 Posted by brand advocacy, brand marketing, brand messaging, Brand preference, branded content, consumer behavior, Consumer insight, Content Marketing, Culinary inspiration, Culinary lifestyle, engagement, food experiences, Healthy Living, Higher Purpose, storytelling 0 comments on “Your Greatest Branded Content Creation Opportunity Has Arrived”

Food and beverage brands can take the lead as coach and guide

Your brand’s best opportunity for real engagement occurs when consumer need and your expertise overlap at precisely the right moment. And that moment is now.  It’s here, we’re in it. You have an opportunity to become a trusted partner, a useful resource, at a time when families are running out of menu ideas and kitchen fatigue is setting in.

  • We’ll provide guidance on what to do, but first let’s take a look at what’s happening right now that creates this important opening for brands to build a more meaningful relationship with their users.

Consumer research continues to reinforce a significant shift, and likely permanent change, to an increase in at-home meal preparation occasions. The pandemic has prompted millions of families to get back into the kitchen full time. Working and schooling from home makes this a three meal a day duty. Some are new to this culinary endeavor and the learning curve is upon them. Cooking veterans consistently have to devote more time and attention to laboring over the stove.

According to a recent “COVID-19 Impact on Eating” report from The Hartman Group, 93% of dinner eating occasions are prepared and consumed at home.

  • Even more amazing is the surge in lunch; 81% of occasions are occurring at home.
  • Dinner menus involving ‘heavy’ preparation are at 31% of occasions, up 9 points from a year ago, while lunch occasions requiring moderate preparation have jumped to 33%, up 14 points from 2019.

In sum, despite the dramatic falloff of restaurant eating events, Americans are choosing to cook rather than outsource their meals. The research also reveals that 33% of all eating and drinking occasions are in service of health and wellbeing objectives – no surprise given the elevated importance of health and wellness. People are purposefully making an effort to protect their immune systems while the pandemic continues to ravage the nation.

Kitchen burnout is a reality and it has arrived

Food, beverage and food retail brands are afforded an extraordinary opportunity to become a useful coach and resource for home cooks. This comes at a time when they not only need inspiration and instruction but personal encouragement and emotional support as well.

Considering people are spending more time at home, menu creation has taken on a new significance and importance for families. Previous studies of home cook behaviors determined that most have a repertoire of roughly 10 dishes they know well and will continue to keep in rotation. However, after months and months of repeat visits, menu weariness sets in as home chefs run out of ways to freshen their tried and true dishes.

Reinforcing the permanent home cooking shift is health and wellness aspirations

Alongside this cooking-from-necessity condition is a growing appreciation that home cooked meals are generally:

  • Healthier, more nutritious
  • Portion controlled
  • Completely customized
  • Convenient to scheduling
  • Safer
  • And can be functionally curated to support health and wellness objectives

Being relevant to consumers is the precursor to creating authentic engagement opportunities with them. What consumers are experiencing now puts your brand in an enviable position to be useful and helpful at a moment of real need.

“During this worrisome time many have re-discovered latent cooking expertise and more than a few have developed newfound culinary skills, but also most are feeling a bit weary and are reporting varying degrees of family meal fatigue. Our meal preparation muscles are tired, tested and stretched. Still we know the nutritional and family functioning benefits are out there awaiting us,” wrote David Fikes in a recent The Food Industry Association report ahead of their annual National Family Meals Month promotion in September.

In other words, now, when we’re tired, we most need the encouraging words of an inspiring trainer urging us to push beyond the fatigue, work through the discomfort and get reenergized about family meals, if we wish to reap the solid benefits they hold for us in terms of health, happiness and well-being,” he said.

Perfect moment for the most effective brand content strategy

Storytelling is best served when proper roles are recognized and respected. Consumers want and need to be the heroes of their own life journeys. The brand’s optimal function in this scenario is as coach and guide. That’s precisely what is required here. Your ability to step in with emotional support, inspirational culinary ideas and guidance on preparation skills and innovative cooking techniques will help consumers save time and avoid mistakes.

  • Your goal is to make the home chef more successful and comfortable in their kitchen-centric calling.

How to optimize this moment for connection and relationship building

Empathetic voice

Now is the time to put the brand ‘in league’ with the consumer by acknowledging the frustrations and burnout they may be feeling after months of constant meal preparation. It gets tough after the entire family is around the dining room table nearly seven days a week for months with no end in sight.

Food is an emotional category

Food consumption is enjoyable, social, indulgent, and can be transformational. This isn’t just about skills and cooking temperatures, it’s also about the table, experimentation, creativity and taste experiences.

Keep it simple

People literally run away from complexity and communication that taxes their brains. People are hardwired to avoid burning mental calories, so ideas and menus need to be presented simply, clearly with an eye towards simplifying what people must tackle in the kitchen.

Video and webinar are the right mediums

Harness the incredible capability of video to marry instructional or emotive words with pictures to amp the entertainment value. This will help people better understand through visual demonstration what they should be doing to bring great food to life.

Credible experts can help

Chef voices can elevate the conversation and add viewer interest to what you produce. As we said earlier, people now see food as a direct channel to improving their own health and wellbeing. Outside experts in nutrition and wellness add more authority to what your presenting. People are more likely to respect credentialed third-parties than in-house voices.

Social proof and trust creation

Consumers love to hear from other consumers. Employ your social channels to engage the community in sharing their own culinary content, recipes and ideas. People are far more likely to engage their peers before they’ll accept the assertions and claims brands make.

Transparency

Consider virtual farm visits with your suppliers and an opportunity to hear the personal stories of the families who create the ingredients you use. This serves as a transparency mechanism where customers get to see first-hand how your ingredients are sourced and then how your recipes are created.

Don’t wait

Now is the time to create a content calendar and begin operating in service of your customers during their time of need. With work-at-home looking like an ongoing condition and schooling- from-home likely to occur for many young people in the fall, kitchen and menu burnout isn’t going away any time soon.

This is a time for experimentation and openness to trying new flavors and cuisines. With the tried and true dishes most home cooks repeat losing their luster, people are gravitating to new experiences. In light of this condition, they need the guidance and expertise you can provide to bring new food ideas to the table.

Need help creating and building a strong culinary content calendar and fresh creative assets optimally messaged to engage home cooks in the right way? We can help! Let’s discuss your needs in greater detail.

Looking for more food for thought? Subscribe to the Emerging Trends Report.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent, The Healthy Living Agency. Traditional brand marketing often sidesteps more human qualities that can help consumers form an emotional bond. Yet brands yearn for authentic engagement, trust and a lasting relationship with their customers. Emergent helps brands erase ineffective self-promotion and replace it with clarity, honesty and deeper meaning in their customer relationships and communication. For more information, contact Bob@Emergent-Comm.com and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

How to Counter Digital Marketing Resistance

August 3rd, 2017 Posted by brand marketing, branded content, consumer behavior, Digital marketing, digital tools, Retail brand building 0 comments on “How to Counter Digital Marketing Resistance”

Five steps to engagement and mattering

Food brand communication is going through a period of disruption and change, as consumers step away from conventional media to devote more and more time to mobile screens and social channels. Digital-based outreach in both narrative and video forms is where the action is, assuming you’re intent on fishing where the fish are.

However, the vast majority of communication in food and beverage categories is essentially re-purposed advertising trying to win a nano-second of attention — in an environment where consumers run from content that appears to be a sales pitch.

Just because you’re spending and ‘getting out there’ doesn’t mean your effort is gaining traction or that your communications is delivering the desired effect and business outcomes. It is harder than ever to simply buy fame and attraction. Why?

Dawn of Digital Resistance

A new challenge is rising up to once again confirm and restate the consumer’s master control over brand engagement: digital resistance. Simply stated, the consumer manages what they’re willing to consume — and anything that starts to look like conventional selling, marketing, feature/benefit communication is getting tuned out.

The alchemy of this change is fueled by the sheer volume of marketing activity trying to secure an audience — operating in an environment where consumers direct when, how and where engagement happens. Additionally, consumers have made it abundantly clear they’re interested in content offering help more than hype. Self- reverential brand messaging and product feature/benefit selling are just not cutting it.

Yet the temptation to focus on overt selling runs deep in our business culture. We believe that if we’re not showcasing and pushing product features, we’re being derelict in our responsibilities as marketers.

Ironically this is the very behavior that shuts down the opportunity for a relationship with those consumers we wish to attract.

When communication looks less like marketing and more like coaching and guiding, traction increases.

So how do you connect without overt selling? To provide some context, here’s how marketing conditions have evolved…

We’re Now Doing Business in the Relationship Economy

In the 1970’s we reached the apex of the Industrial Economy where the focus was squarely on specialization in the marketplace, and functionality of products aimed at modernizing your life. Marketing was about tonnage of media spend and persuasion.

In the 1980’s there was a natural evolution of this condition to the Experience Economy where services rose in prominence along with brand experience in pursuit of lifestyle associations. Marketing increasingly took on the guise of cinematic entertainment.

In the mid ’90’s when the Internet truly arrived, with it came the Knowledge Economy and the empowerment of consumers to start managing the relationship with the brands they cared about. This was fueled by the arrival of access to information previously controlled solely by brands and business. Marketing morphed to be more holistic and integrate ad campaigns with promotion and PR tactics.

Today, we’re doing business in the Relationship Economy where consumers are on a mission to secure greater meaning and purpose in their lives. Consumers now fully manage the interaction with any brand they deem worthy of mattering — by “liking,” “following,” “subscribing” and “sharing” — and ultimately buying. It is a transformative business environment dominated by the influence of cultural shifts. Brands that demonstrate an empathy towards the authentic experiences and content consumers now find most compelling (like ethical behavior, honesty and transparency) will fair better in creating true engagement with the audiences they seek to court.

Five steps to meaningful brand engagement:

  1. Deep investment in consumer insight research aimed at fully understanding your core customer’s lifestyle passions, interests, concerns and desires
  2. Marketing strategy which taps into empathy around how the brand and business can truly improve the customer’s life
  3. Messaging and outreach tools founded on building relevant connections to consumers’ lifestyle interests
  4. Embedding your brand with a ‘higher purpose’ that informs your actions and behaviors helping to secure consumer trust – essential for any real relationship
  5. Communication built around content that operates in service of the customers’ interests; designed to mine emotional cues essential to gaining their attention and associating memorable storytelling moments that help endear them to your brand

It’s important to note here the advice of eminent psychologist Antonio Damasio: “We are not thinking machines that feel. We are feeling machines that think.”

Brand relationships operate in similar ways to the rules of personal friendships. As long as mutual respect is honored and the character of communication is focused on help over hype, the door to engagement will be open.

 

Looking for more food for thought? Subscribe to our blog.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent, the healthy living agency. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to emerging and established 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.

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