So, you have a great new food or drink product. But how do you get people to know it exists and crucially buy it? With so many brands out there how on earth do you get cut-through with consumers? How do you get to be the next big thing?
In this simple guide, we outline the essentials of consumer food and drink marketing for the uninitiated, to help you unlock the secrets to successfully marketing your brand to UK consumers. Of course, each of these points could, and in fact have, whole courses and books dedicated to them, so this is essentially a quick fly through to help you get your head around what can be a daunting topic.
1: Get Your 4 P’s Right
It sounds obvious, but ensuring you get these four pillars of consumer marketing right from the offset is very important if you want to have a hit brand on your hands. (And yes, there are now 7 P’s but let’s get the basics right to start with eh!). So many products fail simply because they answer a perceived need that just doesn’t exist, so make sure your product has a market at the very least.
Product – Get your product right, this could be flavour, portion size, allergens, shelf-life, usage, etc. Try the competition and be honest with yourself. Ideally get unedited feedback from your potential consumers (not just friends and family). Most importantly have a unique selling point which ensures you stand out from the competition.
Price – Look at your competitive set and make sure you are priced appropriately, and that you can do so whilst still making money, whether you are super premium/artisan, mainstream, or cheap and cheerful. If you are selling direct to consumers make sure you factor in marketing costs, shipping, etc. If you are selling via grocery retailers or through wholesalers and distributors make sure you factor in the margin they will need/demand, listing fees, marketing fees etc.
Place – Think about where you see your product being sold and what sort of occasion. Will it be an on-the-go product, a cooking ingredient, a functional food or drink, or even an indulgent treat? Will it need refrigeration or freezer space? What is your route to market?
Promotion – Here we come to the marketing…
1: Understand the UK Food Landscape
Before diving into the intricacies of marketing, it’s crucial to comprehend the rich tapestry of the UK’s culinary scene. From hearty traditional dishes to the latest food trends, the British public is known for embracing a wide array of tastes and flavours. Keep your finger on the pulse of evolving preferences to stay ahead in this dynamic market.
2: Get to Know Your Audience
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Work out who your product and brand will appeal to and tailor your messaging and marketing choices to reach these individuals. Try to get under the skin of your audience and put yourself in their shoes -you should know what they listen to, watch, read, what their interest are and where they shop for your type of product. What offers appeal to them, why they are likely to buy it. Will it be for them to consume, their family or children, or even purchased as a gift.
3: Craft a Compelling Brand Story
At jellybean we have always championed the power of storytelling. Your food brand should tell a tale that resonates with your audience. Whether it’s the heritage of a family recipe or the journey of sourcing premium ingredients, a compelling narrative adds a layer of authenticity that will appeal to your consumers and help set you apart from the crowd. Take the time to fill in a brand blueprint so you have a clear idea and vision for your brand (you can find templates online or work with an experienced agency to workshop this with you).
4: Tap into the Power of Packaging
You cannot underestimate the importance of packaging and the impact it can have on your brand’s success. Your product’s packaging is the first interaction prospective consumers will have with your product, so make it count. Invest in eye-catching designs that reflect your brand identity and stand out on shelf. The right packaging can make all the difference when it comes to launching your food or drink product.
5: Digital Presence & Strong Content
As we know, first impressions count and these days when we are looking for something our initial thought is often just to ‘Google it’. So, make sure you have a stunning website that draws your potential customer in with great content including video to bring your product to life. Crucially make sure it will be found online by working with those know about the dark arts of SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (pay per click) so you don’t get lost on page 50 of Google. And don’t forget to capture data with active opt ins (i.e. yes please email me in the future) so you can keep in touch and build an ongoing relationship with your potential customers to turn them into actual customers via email marketing, keeping your brand front of mind.
6: Social Media Mastery
In the digital age, social media is the playground where brands and consumers engage. Leverage platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Pinterest to showcase mouth-watering imagery of your culinary creations. Engage with your audience through polls, contests, and behind-the-scenes glimpses to build a community around your brand. Use the right channels for your brand’s audience to demonstrate your brand personality, always making sure you comment and engage with relevant accounts and not just use it as a broadcast media – it should be a conversation – the clue is in the name ‘social media’.
7: Embrace Influencer Partnerships
Collaborating with influencers can be a game-changer for your food or drink brand. Identify influencers whose values align with yours and whose followers match your target audience. Authentic endorsements from trusted figures can significantly boost your brand’s credibility and reach. You don’t necessarily need a big name as often nano and micro influencers can have higher engagement rates and hold more sway with consumers.
8: Capitalise on Seasonal and Local Appeal
UK consumers on the whole have a real appreciation for seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. If relevant, tailor your marketing campaigns to highlight the freshness and origin of your products. Emphasise sustainability practices and showcase how your brand contributes to supporting local communities. Even if your product isn’t seasonal or local, you can tap into seasonal occasions like Valentines, Easter, Christmas etc. Events like farmers markets attract foodies and can help you create a grassroots following so be generous with samples and encourage consumers to share their experience on social media to help amplify your brand reach.
9: Navigate the Regulatory Landscape
Compliance with food regulations is non-negotiable. Stay informed about labelling requirements, nutritional information, and allergen declarations. Proactively addressing these aspects not only ensures legal compliance but also builds trust with consumers. You may also want to use accreditations like Vegan or Vegetarian from the Vegetarian Society, which can in itself introduce your brand to a receptive audience through their network.
10: PR & Awards
Last but very far from least…One way to get the word out about your new product is to send samples and a press release to journalists. You can either do a bit of digging and target them yourselves, or work with an experienced agency with existing relationships and contacts (your choice!). Just make sure you make it short and sweet and include why you think their readers would want to know about your product and where they can buy it, ideally from a a recognised retailer, Amazon and/or your own e-shop. Another way to get noticed is to win awards, some you can even use on pack like the Great Taste Awards, instantly giving consumers new to your brand the reassurance that you come recommended. Finally, you might want to do something out of the ordinary as an experiential stunt perhaps combining with sampling to gain local or even national coverage for your brand – just keep it legal!
That’s all folks!
Congratulations! You’ve now unlocked the essential guide to marketing your food or drink brand to UK consumers. Remember, authenticity, engagement, and a genuine passion for quality are the key ingredients to success in the competitive world of food & drink marketing. That, and working with the right agency!
If you’d like to chat about your food or drink brand just get in touch here.