Food or drink brands with no personality will leave a bitter taste…

29th January 2018

written by George Hughes

If your food or drink brand doesn’t have a great personality, you’ll leave a very bitter taste with your customers and will struggle to connect with the Millennials and Generation Z consumers of today… 

1600 new food and drink products are brought to market each year in the UK (LSEG). That’s a sh*t ton of choice, and this abundance means consumers are incredibly discerning about the brands they buy into. In fact, Millennials are said to be the pickiest generation when it comes to food (NYPost) and yet at the same time the most impulsive buyers, with nearly 1 in 5 Millennials admitting to impulse shopping every day (Finder).

With 90% of Millennials spending time online every day (Google), it’s never been more important for brands to send out the right message and connect with audiences in the digital space. 

The proliferation of social media means that consumers have endless access to information, making them more culturally aware. In the last couple of years, people’s attitudes to food and drink has radically changed, particularly in western countries; Millennials and Generation Z has totally redefined the FMCG industry. In fact, 25% of teens aged 15-17 say they worry about staying healthy, and another 49% agree that drinking soda is unhealthy (Mintel). And Millennials are far more attracted to personalisation, with 77% thinking that it makes a food brand more attractive (Askatest).

They aren’t just concerned with the consumption of food; however, with so many Millennials spending a lot more time on social media and having their lives on display, the image and identity of the food they consume is extremely important and acts as an extension of their own personality (Kantarmedia). Now the phrase “How to Cook This” is the most searched on Youtube, and on Instagram, over 3 million posts contain the hashtag #avocado (Onebrandmagic). Incredibly 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z share food images and search for food products every day (PSL). According to a study by Maru/Matchbox, 69 percent of millennials take a photo or a video of their food before eating.

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Whether you’re a restaurant, smoothie or chocolate bar, your brand’s identity on-and-offline is extremely important. Your consumers today will resonate more with the brands that seem to share their values and lifestyles, represent what they do or want to represent, are building personal connections through relatable and engaging content, and provide them with a more individual experience. Brands like Cadbury show us that you don’t need to be an all plant-based and organic product to do this; instead, you need to connect with them, show them your brand’s personality, and resonate with them on an emotional level. Cadbury recently changed its brand’s personality from being loud and quirky to being more family-led and down-to-earth. This was specifically to “reconnect with consumers” (The Drum), and their recent adverts have been very down-to-earth and relatable to a large UK audience of different ages, gender and status.

Cadbury Inventor – Go Madbury UK

Cadbury – Mum’s Birthday

Cadbury – Coast

Creating video content can be one of the most effective ways to showcase your brand’s personality, especially online, and it’s why many food and drink brands decide to create brand films. A brand film gives the audience an instant deep dive into your brand’s personality, background, and story. It gives the audience something to instantly connect and engage with, making your brand a lot more relatable. It will typically be the first thing a customer sees and help inspire and formulate a positive first impression.

Ugly Drinks exploded onto the UK market last year with this killer brand film which encompasses their personality very well. They’re bold, they’re disruptive, and they have a problem with sugar. Here’s a quote from an interview with the Founder of Ugly Drinks “Our fans love to be seen with the cans, they buy our merch from the website, and they stick our stickers everywhere!” (Business Advice).

Ugly Drinks – It’s Time for the Ugly Truth

Your brand’s personality is going to be what sets you aside from all the other food and drink businesses out there, and it is going to be your greatest asset when building loyal customers. That’s why focusing attention on building a brand personality online through platforms like Instagram, your website and Youtube has become so important. They help you connect with your customers, spread a message and help to build a loyal following. Once you achieve that loyal tribe, it will be easier for your brand to tackle larger demographics. Brands like McDonald’s have always been nailing this part of their marketing and are now providing a relatable personality to millions of customers. It works so well for them because they know who their customers are, what their customers want to see from them, and why their customers buy their products.

In this advert by McDonald’s, “More in Common”, we can see how they connect with multiple demographics based on multiple personalities. This, in turn, showcases McDonald’s as being inclusive, down-to-earth, and enjoyable for everyone.

McDonald’s – More in Common

Consumers today want to see the brand behind the product, they want to see your personality, and they want you to speak to them as individuals. You can read our other blogs to find out how to connect with your customers online, and best spread your brand’s personality through video.

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With Christmas now a distant memory and January finally over, food and drink brands need to be focusing on what their next marketing campaigns will be, and there are many events and public holidays coming up this Spring that food and drink brands can take advantage of. The beginning of 2019 saw a tremendous growth in the participation of Veganuary and Dry January which both increased by almost a third from last year. So it’s no surprise that it was a hugely popular time for marketing teams of food and drink brands across the UK. So with Spring upon us, what special days are coming up that scream for food and drink video content?

 

There are a lot of great dates coming up, like St Patrick’s day,  Easter, and the period building up to easter like Pancake day and Mother’s day. But, it doesn’t just have to be national holidays that inform your video marketing choices, it can also be the changing seasons and the weather.

 

Walkers did a mini video on Youtube called “Walkers does Spring” with the slogan “Our crisps are hard to bleat this spring.” This type of video is easy to make and easy to market across all online platforms.

 

Arla created this GIF on Facebook titled “It may not feel like it, but today is the first official day of spring! Who’s looking forward to fresh spring flowers and warmer days?”

It may not feel like it, but today is the first official day of spring! Who’s looking forward to fresh spring flowers and warmer days? #Arla

Posted by Arla on Tuesday, 20 March 2018

 

Creating video content focused on a specific day of the calendar year can be a great way to gain positive exposure for your brand. Especially if you run them as video advertisements on social media and target audiences that are engaging with similar content.

 

Hellmans did a short and simple recipe video for pancake day last year which they marketed via Facebook. The mayonnaise is barely used or referenced but it is branded and you can tell that it’s a Hellmans video.

 

Towering Japanese Fluffy Pancakes; served with crème fraîche, crispy bacon and lashings of maple syrup.

Posted by Hellmann's on Thursday, 8 February 2018

 

Waitrose created a recipe video on Facebook that shows pancakes being made three ways. It’s a really simple video that has no reference to Waitrose products or services but it’s engaging, relevant and entertaining, so their audience can take something positive away from it, which overall adds value to Waitrose.

 

Enjoy these delicious topping ideas for Pancake Day! Which one is your favourite; mango mojito, maple butter and crispy pancetta or chocolate, banana and hazelnut?Read the recipe: http://bit.ly/2EyGZB1

Posted by Waitrose & Partners on Monday, 12 February 2018

 

Marks and Spencer held a flower arrangement event last year for Mothers Day which they filmed and uploaded onto their Youtube channel.

 

 

Easter is perhaps the best Spring holiday for food or drink brands to take advantage of, because it spreads a positive message, is widely celebrated and, is typically a happy, warm and colourful time of the year. Similar to the Waitrose recipe video you can create Easter related recipe videos like this one by Lurpak.

 

Roasted until golden and crispy, Whole Roasted Sea Bream is not your ordinary lunch. Recipe: http://bit.ly/2GjX24j #SeizeTheLongWeekend

Posted by Lurpak on Friday, 16 March 2018

 

Or like Marks and Spencer you could hold an Easter related event with either your company or customers like an exclusive easter snack hunt. Film the event and share it with your customers and audiences online to spread a positive and fun message about your brand.

 

Your videos don’t have to have such a strong reference to holidays or events, it can be as simple as adding the colour yellow or having some daffodils and tulips in the video. Typically, the audience will build their own connection to the event as long as you give them a nudge in the right direction.

 

Asda created this video advert last year for Easter as part of their “Meal Under £2.50 a Head” (which is a series of videos they run on Youtube). During the video there is no actual reference or connection to Easter except for the dancing daffodil in the middle of the table. Yet the video is effective at capturing people’s attention when thinking about Easter.

 

There are a lot of great videos food and drink brands can be making this Spring season. Using an event like Pancake Day, Easter or Mother’s Day to aid your monthly marketing campaigns is simple, effective and hugely rewarding. It’s one of the fastest ways to drive organic engagement to your brand, get great return on investments and reach wider audiences during an exciting and busy period. Have a think about the types of videos you could make and what your audience would like to see from your brand this Spring.

 

Food glorious food.. Lots of us love eating it, most of us buy it, some of us like cooking it – and we’re all fascinated by it to one degree or another. It’s no surprise then that the food and drink industry is the biggest manufacturer in the UK today and contributes over 28 billion pounds to the UK economy each year. (BDO)

 

Although consumer spending on food and drink products remains stable, (ONS) external factors and changing trends in consumer behaviour and technology are having an impact on the relative fortunes of food and drink brands. A future including Brexit has led to fears about recruitment shortages in a labour-intensive industry that needs a whopping 400,000 employees in the UK to sustain itself, whilst increasing consumer distrust of big corporations and overt marketing has demonstrated a need for the industry to become more transparent about food safety, health and environmental issues. Operating in a landscape of fast-changing technologies and increasingly tech-savvy, online-focused consumers, food and drink companies are now having to take a lot on board when considering how best to promote their brands and reach their target markets. A 30 second ‘buy this product’ TV spot supported by some billboard and press advertising no longer cuts the mustard.

 

Amongst the challenges and uncertainty, one thing is becoming clear, and that is that video as a marketing tool is increasingly becoming unbeatable for generating reach and engagement in the food industry. Video content has been shown to produce the highest levels of engagement of all advertising formats and views of food-related content on YouTube are increasing 170% year on year (Tubular Insights).  Of course, the big global food and drink brands are ahead of the pack with video budgets and strategy, but small brands and start-ups also need to consider video as an essential part of their content marketing efforts in order to be competitive.

 

And it’s not all food porn and recipe videos. Here are some other great examples of the types of video food and drinks brands are currently producing:

 

 

 

Storytelling/connecting with an audience – Chipotle Mexican Grill – A Love Story.

This sweet, emotion provoking animated short emphasises the brand’s core messages of sustainability and food with integrity, whilst being an entertaining storytelling film in its own right.

 

 

 

Educating/informing on health benefits/ingredients – Graze – An introduction to protein. For a company producing ‘healthy’ alternatives in the snack market, Graze need to share educational information about health and nutrition and show that they have expertise in the market.

 

 

Recruitment/Communicating behind the scenes company culture– Innocent.

Demonstrating its fun, quirky, independent vibe and customer focus, this film effectively works as a recruitment tool and a way of reinforcing Innocent’s brand values to a wider audience.

 

 

 

About us’ video– Hello Fresh. A simple but effective introduction to the company’s service and values.

 

 

 

Partnering with influencers/branded content– Captain Morgan Rum partnered with target market influencer, grime star Lady Leshurr on its #livelikeacaptain campaign, promoting its brand through a music video about drinking responsibly.

 

 

 

Demonstrating brand transparency/humour.Absolut Vodka killed two marketing birds with one stone in this amusing video featuring naked Swedish men demonstrating the Absolut Vodka production process –  #vodkawithnothingtohide

 

 

 

6 second pre-roll bumper ads– Oreo thins. With a speeded up pastiche of a chef plating up Oreo thins in a fancy restaurant style, this video succeeds in grabbing the attention and getting its message across in the blink of an eye – perfect for bumper ads and mobile marketing. Here is a selection of 20 of the best bumper ads.

 

 

Small Films’ founder George Hughes spent 15 years producing and directing content for TV broadcast including serious documentary and food and cookery content. For more information about how Small Films can help your food or drink brand with different types of engaging video content, contact us here.

 

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.

 

Content Marketing Food

Feeling peckish? Food is one of the most popular and fastest-growing subjects for video content in digital marketing. In terms of online content, lots of us are yoga devotees; some of us love gaming and a select few of us are passionate about free-diving. Food, however, whether we like cooking it or just consuming it, is a unique form of content in that it appeals to pretty much everyone. The preparation and sharing of food has been at the heart of what it means to be human since earliest times – we use food for fuel, celebration, comfort and consolation; we have a deeply emotional connection with it. In addition, food stimulates the senses – it lends itself to a visual and dynamic medium like video. Watching food being prepared, cooked and consumed is captivating on a primal level. Research in sciencedaily.com showed that visual stimulation through enticing images of food increases a hormone protein in the blood which stimulates appetite. It actually makes us hungry! Whether we’d like to admit or not, we’re all hooked on looking at food.

The measure of food content’s success can be seen in its adoption as a growth strategy by the big online publishers. Food has always played a central part in traditional publishing content of course; all the big newspapers have food supplements and we lap up restaurant reviews and recipe pages in print publications. But social media and the growth of affordable video marketing has given food content a rocket-fuelled boost in recent years. Buzzfeed’s popular Tasty food channel to which 1 in 6 people in the UK subscribe, and the New York Times’ recent foray into discerning digital food content are hugely successful examples of this.

And the stats speak for themselves. Views of food-related content on YouTube are increasing 170% year on year (Tubular Insights). Food is in the top 10 categories of content that generate most engagement, and amongst Millennials, the popularity of food content is massive (a whopping 70% of food-related views are in this demographic). Food is therefore proving to be one of the most successfully visually appealing, emotive and shareable subjects in digital marketing. If seeing it makes your audience want to eat it – and social media can direct consumers directly to your business website – food and drink brands have some amazing opportunities to grow their businesses with cleverly targeted video content.

Here are some of the ways food and drink brands can capitalise on video marketing for growth (and there’s a lot more to it than just enticing recipe videos):

Social Media Advertising.

Video content generates the highest engagement of all online advertising. It is estimated that 92% of mobile video viewers share them with other people (Hubspot).  Users expect high-quality production values and great entertainment though to keep them watching. YouTube stats show that users skip ads on average after 5 seconds of watching so it’s important to grab the attention quickly. If you can pull it off, a well-made online food advert is so shareable on social media that it can go viral. KFC has just released 3 online videos using their infamous gravy to make cocktails, piggybacking on the niche cultural trend of ‘stocktails’ – whilst being quirky enough to pique the viewer’s interest. With over 270K views in a week, the ads are proving capable of cutting through the social media noise and creating some buzz.

Social media advertising is also brilliant for targeting your specific market through campaigns on individual social media platforms. Kids’ sweet brand Sour Patch Kids carried out a successful video campaign on Snapchat by collaborating with a popular YouTube influencer to record ‘sour then sweet’ prank videos and then utilising live video to have conversations with fans and consumers. The high-energy, fun and young social media app was the perfect platform for connecting with the brand’s potential teenage audience and Sour Patch Kids gained 120,000 Snapchat followers during the campaign. Utilising more online video content also contributed to their growth in sales by $30 million between 2014 and 2015.

Branded content.

Video provides a way for food businesses to integrate branded content across multiple platforms. Using video in different ways across broadcast, online, mobile and social media channels means that brands can digitally communicate their stories, tone of voice and messaging holistically. A big-budget TV ad might launch a new product for example, but regular video content posted across YouTube or Facebook can give depth, personality and consistency to brands. Some brands use these methods effectively to show a human side and connect directly with their audience – posting videos of behind the scenes, food production, and employees for example. Dunkin Donuts famously launched one of the first branded live Facebook videos when it posted a tour of its food development kitchen for a Valentine’s day promotion and competition, generating 21,000 viewers in 15 minutes.

Our first-ever LIVE tour of the DD test kitchen + a big announcement for engaged Valentines!

Posted by Dunkin' on Thursday, 11 February 2016

Live video is a fantastic tool for connecting directly with customers and building a committed and engaged community of followers (and potential customers) and is ideal for a relaxed, informal brand.

Other brands have effectively used regular video content to demonstrate their ‘expert’ status, quality and authenticity. Waitrose launched a successful YouTube channel and collaborates with top chefs and influencers to produce gorgeous recipe videos using high-quality ingredients, whilst also placing an emphasis on ethical food production and sourcing. This appeals directly to its educated middle-class market and provides a way for its customers to invest emotionally in the brand.

Combine with influencer marketing.

The increasing visual and emotional appeal of food has not been lost on bloggers and vloggers and food and recipe influencer content is one of the fastest-growing types of food content creation online. Some foodie influencers have a much wider audience reach than many brands and many have built up vast, trusting and engaged followings. Without the corporate machinery, they can often produce content more quickly and regularly than brands. SORTEDfood is a brilliant example of this. A group of British millennial men decided to video themselves sharing banter and food and have built up a huge YouTube subscriber base of over 1 million people. With a relaxed and humorous vibe, and lots of engaging content like recipe battles where they each attempt to make the same recipe, their content is perfect for reaching a particular demographic of 20 and 30 something men (and women) who are interested in (and spend a lot on) food.

Collaborating to make joint videos with influencers like this can be a brilliant way of targeting specific audiences. When Lea & Perrins wanted a younger market for its famous Worcestershire sauce, SORTEDfood was the go to influencer. Together they made a series of videos and Lea & Perrins launched a YouTube channel on the back of the content, resulting in 2.2 million channel views.

  • Generate user action.

Video content is also a good way for brands to encourage genuine customer engagement and to prompt user action. Coca Cola carried out a hugely successful integrated marketing campaign when it launched named bottles, using broadcast and online advertising to stimulate customer engagement.

The campaign, which originated in the UK but went global, encouraged consumers to #shareacoke with friends and submit videos and photos of themselves with their named bottles to be shared online. It proved a brilliant way of generating a feel-good shareability of branded content.

Use video as a recruitment tool.

One issue that affects a lot of food and drink brands is recruitment. The food industry is employee heavy in terms of production and service, and recruiting enough good, qualified staff can be difficult. (This issue is likely to be exacerbated with Brexit – over 40% of staff in fruit, vegetable and meat processing and production are from EU countries  – as are nearly 15% of employees in the hospitality industry.) Video can be an effective tool for reaching the right audience of potential employees (young, social media users) and competing in a busy market. Have a look at a recruitment video we recently produced for restaurant group  Living Ventures which capitalises on this.

Small Films’ founder George Hughes spent 15 years producing and directing content for TV broadcast including serious documentary and food and cookery content. For more information about how Small Films can help your food or drink brand with engaging video content, contact us here.

Small Films are a London video production company. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign. Give us a bell. 

 

 

 

 

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