Marketing in Foodservice Conference 2015As the leading foodservice agency we make a point of attending the ‘Marketing in Foodservice’ conference, which is now in its third year. M&C Allegra offered up a varied agenda for the day with speakers representing high street operator brands, traditional and social media channels and of course food brands, reflecting the diverse nature of the sector.

As ever there was a huge amount of content throughout the day but here are my top ten take-outs…

  1. The Market – Allegra kicked-off the day with an overview of the market and the good news that branded restaurants are showing 5.6% growth.  Also that ‘wow’ foods look to be driving consumer engagement, which means operators need to embrace unconventional thinking to create cut-through in the market.
  2. Emotional Marketing / Neuromarketing – Having been to a whole conference on emotional marketing which covered a lot of the neuroscience behind successful marketing strategies I was interested to hear that KFC has switched their entire marketing strategy to embrace this ‘new thinking’. Long gone are the days of product focused ads, as KFC now aim to create a positive emotional engagement with their audience. If you want to see what they’re getting at just watch this
  3. Internal Engagement – Often the forgotten audience internal stakeholders are key to the success of any campaign. It was interesting to hear how Santa Maria approached its internal engagement with a ‘foodie’ programme and even more reassuring to hear that for KFC’s Marketing Director Meghan Farren, re-educating old school marketers to their new emotional marketing strategy was one of the biggest challenges she faced.
  4. Twitter – We at Jellybean have long been advocates for Twitter and all it can do for brands in foodservice, running Twitter accounts for the majority of our clients as well as ourselves. So it was great to hear from Twitter and find out more about some of its services and features. The good news is that thanks to our digital and social team here there wasn’t anything we hadn’t looked into or tried (from lead gen cards to periscope we are all over it!) but if you’re interested in what Twitter can do for your business it is worth checking out their business page. (Or just give us a shout)
  5. Data – The age of big data, marketing automation and now ‘engineering serendipity’ is here. With the technology moving towards a place where data from all channels will eventually be able to be brought together to target individuals on what some might see as a deeply creepy level. If you think remarketing (where ads stalk you across the internet) is a bit much then the thought of engineering serendipity to approach customers just at that crucial moment might be more than you can bear. It’s fair to say however that data is a hugely powerful tool and used in the right way offers foodservice marketers an invaluable resource which often goes untapped.
  6. Innovation – Innovation is a term often bandied around by marketers and is usually associated with highly creative ideas and developments. However it seems that process and control blended with creativity is the way to really innovate, whilst ensuring your customer is at the heart of any innovation.
  7. Doing Different – There are few brands that are as edgy as Brew Dog. Their passion for craft beer has helped build the sector in the UK and most of it has been done by breaking every rule possible. This crowdfunded brand simply does things differently, it does Punk PR, and its anti-establishment mind-set means it resonates with consumers unlike other sanitised and polished brands out there. Interestingly enough the Marketing Agency Association has coined the phrase ‘Do Different’ to drive agencies to challenge and be more punk – it looks like we could learn a thing or two from Brew Dog, even if our budgets don’t stretch to driving tanks down Camden High Street!
  8. Technology – As we all live on our SmartPhones 24/7 technology can now get brands literally into the palm of our audience’s hand. Busaba Eathai has seen the results of embracing technology with their loyalty app that also offers customers a quick pay solution. It’s a strong example whereby applying a technology solution to a business challenge (like customers hating to wait to pay) can offer a relatively easy to implement answer to an age old complaint.
  9. (In the real world) IRW vs. URL (online) – In this technological age the digital realm is often heralded as the way to communicate with 18-30 year olds but Captive Media take a slightly different view. They managed to demonstrate how although influential, digital media cannot achieve the same real life engagement and brand impact as IRW media. The kicker – well, we’re not talking any old IRW media, Captive Media is responsible for getting brands in front of their potential audience whilst ‘spending a penny’ (to put it delicately), offering interactive urinal screens. (What’s more with sensors the participants can ‘direct their flow’ to interact with the media.) Sadly as a girl I’ve not experienced this particular media but on the theme of ‘do different’ this definitely ticks the box.
  10. Networking – As ever these events are great both for the official agenda of presentations and panel discussions, but often just as interesting is the company and opportunities to catch-up with contacts and discover new ones.

My final thought, well it’s a little off-topic but it has to be that Simon Stenning of M&C Allegra has something of the Hugh Bonneville about him – anyone else agree? Feel free to comment  @JellybeanAgency on Twitter and while you’re there you can catch-up on the tweets from the day by searching #MarketingInFoodservice.

Jellybean Creative is a leading foodservice marketing and foodservice design agency. We help top brands with foodservice pr, foodservice marketing, digital and design. If you feel we could help you with your marcomms, strategy, public relations, creative or digital then drop us a line today.