With over 7,000 food and drink brands in the UK it’s now essential that companies think creatively about integrated marketing across multiple channels in order to generate cut-through in a crowded market.
Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram have transformed the way the food and drink industry promotes itself, especially since the rise of major league foodie bloggers who have such a high authority on social networks that one post from them can see a big return at the tills. From creative video content, mouth-watering memes and appetising food and drink s shots, consumers cannot help but be drawn into a branded world via their handset.
PR has always been important for food and drink brands – a way to get people talking about, and engaged with, their products. However, it’s the digital world that possesses a real opportunity for PR agencies today. For instance, Disaronno turned to Instagram this summer to create the first ever social media led ‘Disaronno Terrace’ event at Ace Hotel.
House PR delivered a campaign that centred on blending influencers and consumers through social networks in an iconic London location. The campaign to launch Disaronno Sour Hour focused on Instagram as the go to lifestyle social media platform for young women across the world. With 60m photos uploaded each day, Disaronno needed a campaign that would cut through the excess of imagery on Instagram and grab their target audience’s attention while remaining true to the brand’s fashionable, design focused credentials.
Using the London skyline as a backdrop, many of the UK’s most high-profile food and drinks Instagramers turned up to create the perfect summer shot of the Disaronno Sour. On the hottest day of the year, users clicking on the #DisaronnoSourHour hashtag saw numerous aspirational images of the Disaronno Sour being enjoyed at the exclusive rooftop party in London. The total reach for the campaign was 9,151,835 Instagram users, a 180% increase on the original target. The negotiations with influencers resulted in 225,041 total likes and 1,372 total comment, generating a cost per view of £0.001. Influencers helped to drive social media fans into bars up and down the country asking for their own Disaronno Sour.
Beyond Instagram it’s becoming ever more important to produce visually stunning social assets and ground-breaking digital content to generate cut-through, and to help engage fans on a deeper level. Iconic American rum brand Sailor Jerry recently turned to the la test digital innovations as a way to r each its audience in a new way, via Facebook Live.
To coincide with its event ‘The Ride’ – an annual road trip with three bike building teams on customised Harley-Davidson’s – Sailor Jerry used Facebook Live to distribute assets to, and get real-time engagement from, its target audience. The campaign, focused on creating exclusive behind-the-scenes video content from ‘The Ride’ that was shared with core fans on social media in partnership with Choppertown, a popular biker social media feed. Sailor Jerry hosted a premiere of the final video and arranged a live Q&A on Facebook Live, which generated an organic reach of 1,515,565 and 25,651 engagements.
However, digital elements do not work in isolation and even great social and digital campaigns do not generate cut-through without the support of a solid consumer and trade PR campaign. Working with House PR, OpenTable, the world’s largest restaurant booking service, focuses on strong features and news stories in national press, lifestyle and trade media to demonstrate its expertise in everyday dining.
OpenTable’s insight into the UK’ s dining trends and habits has become the backbone of its PR approach. Recently the brand commissioned a study that examined the nation’s attitude towards tipping, creating the definitive tip map of Great Britain which was a huge success both online and off. The findings from the study revealed the country’s top tippers by region, city and gender to challenge common conceptions about Brits’ thriftiness and the dining experience across the UK.
This was accompanied by a brand-led infographic, which was picked up by an array of media titles. Combining both consumer PR with a shareable asset for social media and digital helped OpenTable reach an outstanding 666,999,009 consumers with the campaign and a PR value of £337,266,843. With over 61 pieces of coverage including seven national print titles (the Sun, Daily Mail, Daily S tar, Daily Telegraph, Observer magazine, the Times, Financial Times) and two broadcast (BBC Breakfast and Today FM), OpenTable integrated consumer PR with digital seamlessly.
Similarly, in trade media OpenTable chartered a growth in the popularity of bar-side dining by commissioning a study of both diners and restaurateurs. House PR positioned OpenTable as the business that spotted this trend and offered up insight into the best restaurants for bar-side dining. The results included pieces in Metro, Casual Dining, Eat Out, the Caterer, Big Hospitality and Bar magazine, with a total reach of 3,266,843 and a total PR value of £98,022.
So, food and drink brands must think 360 when identifying the best channels to r each consumers. It’s not only about combining PR, digital and marketing, but also ensuring the company’s own customer channels fit harmoniously with the overall offering.
PR is becoming more integral than ever for food and drink companies. Campaigns are no longer just based on engaging consumers with traditional media relations, but are also driven by ground breaking social content. Food and drink companies can reap huge benefits by direct engagement with consumers, and reacting to their feedback in real-time is proving essential in the modern world.
PR’s place in this is to help control a narrative online and manage the conversation between influencers and audiences, creating a brand narrative that is told via multiple channels. Without a solid integrated strategy that takes a multifaceted approach to reaching consumers, brands will lose out in the fight for consumers in the digital age.
This article was originally published in The Drum Network Does...Food and Drink supplement on 8 December.
Charlene Allen is strategy director at House PR.