Digital marketing trends in the food and beverage sector
Marketing and advertising have evolved rapidly in recent years. As our eyes have become increasingly drawn to mobile devices and display screens rather than our surroundings, advertising on billboards and park benches has largely lost its importance. Similarly, streaming television and music has lessened the impact of marketing with television and radio ads. As such, many companies are increasingly turning to digital marketing to reach their customers.
Food and beverage companies are making the most of digital marketing opportunities and coming up with truly unique ways to connect with their audience. This month we examine the latest digital marketing trends in the food and beverage sector.
Instagram and Gen Z
Gen Z, along with its 8-second attention span, is set to account for 40 percent of consumers by 2020. Food and beverage companies are taking note and realizing that Instagram provides an excellent platform to reach the coveted Gen Z market. Instagram stories provide a way of telling a quick visual story that can make mouths water.
CPK is known to create boomerang videos on Instagram showing toppings being added to its pizzas, a tactic that helped raise awareness of its seasonal offerings this summer. Selva Rey Rum, co-founded by Bruno Mars, shares stylized pictures showing off drinks made with the rum as well as the lifestyle that can be enjoyed with a Selva Rey drink in hand.
Aside from creating social media posts for themselves, companies can turn to influencers to create the content and potentially reach a new and wider market than their own social media channels offer. Again, Instagram can come into play here, as was the case for Cuvée Coffee which sought out a “blue collar” influencer to market its coffee to people more like those who actually drink their product. The company found Omar, an Austin-area construction worker, who was eager to help despite not knowing much about social media. Omar’s Instagram went viral, racking up more than 540,000 followers and garnering free media coverage concerning the company’s “average Joe” influencer.
YouTube is another area where influencers can help spread the word for companies. Food influencers such as Laura in the Kitchen and Tipsy Bartender have helped companies ranging from Oreo and Nutella to Ciroc and Fireball expand their audiences by being featured on popular YouTube programs. In many cases, all it takes to be featured on such a program is supplying some samples — much cheaper than paying for a TV ad.
Blogs and Recipes
For many, cumbersome cookbooks are a thing of the past. When it’s time to look for a recipe, people look online. Companies such as Nueske’s use their websites to offer recipes that include their meat. Not only does this provide a valuable resource for existing customers, it drives traffic to the site. People who may not have heard of Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Chicken can find the product when searching for a recipe for chicken risotto and be encouraged to buy it. Using social media to share time-lapse videos of the cooking process is an even better way to get the word out, draw attention, and potentially go viral.
Companies such as Stone Brewing use a company blog for a variety of purposes, all of which drive customer engagement. In addition to recipes, Stone shares company news, previews of upcoming releases and events, and behind the scenes access to its breweries and restaurants. Such information grows the brand, attracts visitors to the site, and helps customers develop a more personal relationship with the brand.
Interaction and Memes
Speaking of developing a personal relationship, digital marketing through social media allows companies ample opportunities to have personal interaction with clients. Dunkin’ Donuts has discovered that Twitter is an ideal place for getting in touch with customers. The company regularly responds to tweets that mention it or ask specific questions. More recently, in an attempt to promote its seasonal pumpkin spiced coffee, Dunkin’ made a pumpkin emoji available to anyone who tweets the hashtags #Dunkin, #DunkinLove, #DunkinCoffee, or #DunkinPumpkin.
Creating shareable content in the form of memes is also an effective to promote a business or product. Seamless food delivery and KFC have discovered that having your finger on the pulse of popular culture and producing timely tweets and posts can entertain, attract an audience (KFC has 1.4 million Twitter followers), and get your message out to an astonishing number of potential customers.
AR and VR
Augmented reality and virtual reality have been making their impact on industries from construction to entertainment, and the food and beverage industry is no exception. Australian winery 19 Crimes has found worldwide success by using AR on its bottles. The company’s Living Wine Labels app allows customers to use their phones to scan the bottle, bringing an infamous Australian criminal to virtual life to recount their crimes. After the app was downloaded over 2 million times in its first year, 19 Crimes’ parent company, Treasury Wine Estates, decided to use the AR tech on other products.
Scotch producer Laphroaig realizes that not every fan of its whisky can make their way to Islay to tour the distillery, so it developed a VR tour of its facilities. Scotch connoisseurs who purchase certain bottles receive cardboard goggles which they can attach to their phone to enter a 360-degree virtual reproduction of the distillery. Prior to viewing the tour, customers are prompted to sign up for a mailing list, meaning the company not only runs a successful advertising campaign, they also can keep in touch with customers for further direct marketing.
Finding an Audience
Different forms of digital marketing are more suited for some businesses than others. When developing a strategy, it’s vital for a business to consider the audience to which it is hoping to appeal. One common thread that runs through all successful marketing campaigns is storytelling. Whether your business is telling a story with a picture, an Instagram story, a tweet, or a recipe, the story needs to be relatable and intriguing. Fortunately, digital media provides a wide variety of options for storytelling — as seen in the marketing efforts of some of the biggest food and beverage companies.