Brand Journalism Buoys Food Marketing

Just as chefs thoughtfully select ingredients and carefully choose certain techniques to tell a unique flavor story, food marketers should act in an equally deliberate manner in regards to the content they choose to express their brand. An increasingly powerful communication tool within the food industry, brand journalism influences consumers in a major way.

Brand journalism is a PR philosophy that stimulates the sharing of corporate stories in a journalistic way, to engage with customers and stakeholders. This journalistic style proves more trustworthy to consumers than traditional marketing.

Brand journalism is built on the principles of good storytelling. First and foremost, a brand journalist must be a strategic storyteller with a full understanding of how to write and create compelling stories using multimedia tools such as video, photos, text, tweets, etc.

Lisa Arledge Powell10 tips for becoming a terrific brand journalist, PR Daily

When executed well, brand journalism—or “brand storytelling”—doesn’t just aim to sell, but it courts the prized consumer along their purchase journey. Marketers craft content intending to send a message, yes; but also to entertain, inspire, connect, and ultimately build enough trust and favor to influence their customers’ procurement decisions. Even better, post-purchase content aspires to make a fan of the consumer so they want to tell their inner-circle about your brand, too.

At just over 125 years young, The Coca-Cola Company made a decision that its best stories could no longer be contained by traditional communications paths.

“As demand for healthy food grows, healthy food content grows with it,” suggests Mat Zucker in his recent Forbes article, Marketing Healthy Food: Strategies to Make Discovery Easier. Views of food-related videos now top 23 billion. 100%+ record growth in online search for food diets like gluten-free and veganism points toward the consumer’s continued obsession with knowledge around what they eat. Zucker continues, “Most healthy food brands are small to medium-size players, so content for them becomes a transformative lever — helping them be found, chosen, used, repurchased and of course shared.”

Doug Bask, global group director of digital communications and social media at Coca-Cola explains, “[People], especially Millennials, want to buy into a personality more than a product. They want to support brands and companies that share their passions.” He further stresses that with transparency comes trust and expounds, “Storytelling is an incredible way to pull back the curtains on what we do, why we do it, and how we do it.”

Coca Cola excels at this. In fact, they led the way over five years ago (and continue to do so) with the creation of Coca-Cola Journey, which set an industry precedent with stories covering topics like their history, to diversity and inclusion, and how they’re giving back to the community. If, like Coca-Cola, marketers demonstrate brands as in-touch and relevant, consumers view them as trustworthy and authentic.

Trust is vital to any relationship. And that’s exactly what brands want to develop with their targeted consumers – a relationship. So how can we gain, or in some cases like Chipotle, regain, the public’s trust? The significance in brand journalism lies within the transparency and creating an honest connection.

For example, Pepsi’s widely mocked TV spot caught flak for its culturally-inappropriate escapism and un-relatable protagonist. Conversely, Heineken’s passed muster because of its honest and human moments that seem to transpire naturally. It comes off as anything but forced. Politically charged and still controversial, sure, but the Heineken video on YouTube has over 10 million views to-date and a rating that’s about 97 percent positive.

Also on the F&B-front, Kroger recently executed a solid brand journalism effort. The Cincinnati grocery retailer launched a content-driven marketing platform,, to unite localized supermarket brands by highlighting the company’s values, charitable efforts, and employees. Using long and short form stories, videos, photos, it aims to provide “a way for our stakeholders to have a fuller perspective on the people and the ideas that drive this company,” explained spokesman Keith Dailey in an interview.

Everyone possesses the ability to tell a story, but the stories that stand out are digestible and communicated through relevant channels. Whether published to owned, earned, or paid media, sharing brand values is key.

Telling stories that truly matter to a core audience should be synonymous with your brand. There doesn’t have to be a difference between the story and the storyteller.

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Taylor DeVries PR Senior Account Executive EvansHardy+Young
Taylor DeVries, PR Sr Account Executive

Growing up on a farm with macadamia nuts and various tropical fruits, Taylor truly knows the ins and outs of farm-to-table. She currently works on the National Honey Board and California Walnut accounts.