Food & CPG Content Marketing Strategies You’ll Crave

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In today’s robust food marketing world there are a growing number of digital channels empowering brands to build one-on-one relationships with consumers. These online platforms play a significant role in a brand’s ability to generate awareness, establish trust and loyalty, and position themselves as an industry leader. Social media, websites, blogs, and podcasts give brands the opportunity to create strategic content that cultivates genuine relationships with their consumers and more importantly, impact purchase intent.

According to a Nielsen study, consumers are five times more dependent on digital content when making a purchase decision than they were five years ago. Digital content enables consumers to do product research, genuinely connect with brands, and ultimately decide whether or not to make a purchase. Having this much influence on the consumer’s purchase decisions, food brands need to consider the importance of a strategic content marketing campaign that appeals to their customers across all digital outlets. Here are three strategies to consider:

Add value to the consumers experience

The consumer’s experience with any brand is heavily influenced by various touch points– primarily advertising, retail environment, and the online experience. With the rise of consumers using online ad blockers (over 200 million in use today), we can see that digital audiences are demanding more control of their online experiences. This has forced marketers to shift their digital campaigns from interruption-based to value-based. We are currently watching this happen with Facebook’s new algorithm promoting more personal content over news and advertisements, making it much more difficult for brands to get into consumer’s newsfeeds. In light of this, marketers will need to shift their content marketing campaigns to prioritize adding value to their consumer’s purchase experience.

One of today’s leaders in content marketing is Starbucks.

With more than 23 billion dollars in sales last year, Starbucks focuses on providing their customers with a seamless online/offline experience. Across various outlets, they offer special promotions, personal stories, brand activities, highlight popular drinks, and beautiful photography fans enjoy and share. The brand places an intentional effort on inspiring their consumers to experience Starbucks through their content. This added value strategy has played a significant role in influencing their consumer’s purchase decisions. In fact, a recent study by Facebook and comScore shows that Starbucks’ social media posts lead to a 38% increase in in-store purchases. The best example is their Pumpkin Spice Latte, which took the world by storm.

Through content marketing, Starbucks created an experience around the #PSL as the inaugural holiday season drink. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are ‘liked’ on Facebook by more than 10 million users, and according to Forbes, the festive fall drink generates over $100 million in yearly revenue.
With over 12 million Twitter followers, 16 million Instagram followers, and 37 million Facebook followers, it’s clear that Starbucks consumers enjoy the brand’s added value digital experience. This added value approach has the power to heavily influence consumer purchasing decisions and should be seriously considered when executing a content marketing campaign.

Get involved

With the 18-35-year-old consumer segment making up the largest generation in history, food brands have no choice but to build a content marketing campaign that resonates directly with this group. Growing up in an era of dramatic political and cultural events, this generation’s personal views played a direct role in their purchase decisions. According to Sprout Social, a majority of consumers prefer brands that take a stand and speak up about political and social issues. Controversial discussions are going to happen across digital platforms whether or not brands chime in. However, if brands choose to play Switzerland, they run the risk of being ignored or going unnoticed by their largest consumer demographic. The key is to clearly determine brand values and join the social or political conversations that directly align with these principles.

Take Ben & Jerry’s, for example. The famous quirky ice cream brand heavily weaves their social values into their content marketing campaigns. Whether it’s on the company blog, social media pages, or the event sponsorships, Ben & Jerry’s is not afraid to speak up and take a stand. In December 2017, the brand launched a new flavor, One Sweet World, with a strong social message in support of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. In light of the recent social and political upheavals surrounding racism in the United States, Ben & Jerry’s is donating a portion of the flavor’s proceeds to benefit campaigns promoting economic and racial justice. With over 755K Instagram followers and 8+ million Facebook followers, the peace-loving, justice-seeking ice cream brand has been established as a vocal leader in the food industry. Through content marketing the brand rallies their consumers to promote such causes and clearly, it significantly appeals to consumers.

Food brands choosing to get involved in social or political conversations aligned with their brand values may find that leveraging this voice will allow them to further engage and build a deeper, more vulnerable relationship with their primary consumer – and ultimately influence their purchase decisions.

Elevate the content beyond the product

Every brand has a story to tell. The way in which it is told, however, is of utmost importance. A single page on a food brand’s website describing their history is no longer sufficient. Instead, food brands should consider sharing their story across multiple digital mediums with their consumer’s interest at the forefront. This strategy should lead marketers to ask, “What parts of our brand story evokes emotion in our customers?” “In what ways can our story be tied to the customer’s interests?” The key is not only knowing your target audience and their specific interests but genuinely understanding their perspectives. When a brand story is utilized in relation to the consumer, it has the power to captivate and inspire the intended audience. This connection humanizes the brand and serves as the foundation for strong consumer loyalty.

Red Bull does a wonderful job of incorporating their story into the interests of their consumers. Through all major digital media outlets, Red Bull promotes their mission of “giving wings to people and ideas” and bases their entire content marketing strategy around inspiring their consumer. One scan through their social media pages and the website shows how little Red Bull actually promotes their canned energy drink. Instead, these platforms are filled with videos and images of extreme sports and activities. One particularly famous Red Bull campaign was the 2012 ‘Red Bull Stratos’ mission, which attempted to transcend human limits by proving man can survive the speed of sound in free-fall. Significant digital content was generated and the campaign garnered over 52 million views during the event’s live streaming. It was one of the most-watched live streams in history. By using their story to appeal to their consumer’s interests, Red Bull strategically elevates their content beyond their product to inspire and engage their target audience.

Today, Red Bull owns over 40% of market share globally and has sold over 62 billion cans of product. Their example shows food marketers the power of using the brand story to elevate content beyond the product and strategically appeal to consumer interests.

Conclusion

Elevating content beyond the product, adding value to the consumer’s experience, and expressing the brand’s values in today’s polarized society is no easy task. However, by employing these content strategies, marketers will find that their brand will become more personalized, they will learn more about their consumer’s interests, and most importantly, will develop authentic customer relationships. Executed strategically, content marketing can be a powerful tool for marketers to increase consumer purchase intent and establish long-term genuine brand-consumer relationships.

Madison Serrano PR Senior Account Executive EvansHardy+Young
Madison Serrano, PR Sr Account Executive

Madison is instrumental in growing share of voice for the Idaho Potato Commission, Lamb Weston, and Martinelli’s.