01.07.2019

How to Make Your Food or Drink Product Relevant Year Round

by Ashley Willis

Without the leverage of multiple new product launches, many food and beverage companies struggle to find ways to stay relevant in the fast-paced news cycle. We often see brands resorting to grandiose stunts or events with the hopes of getting media talking about them. But the uber high investment on these stunts often doesn’t pay off; while they’re likely to deliver a handful of headlines at once, they can rarely carry press attention for the entire year.

A better way to build a steady and impactful media presence is to track the latest market and media trends, and capitalize on the areas of opportunity they present. Skip the risky stunts for thoughtful, targeted press campaigns that center around pop culture events, valuable learnings and insights, seasonal topics, and creative story themes. Here are some of the strategies we’ve seen work…and a few we’ve already put to the test with our own clients.

Pay Close Attention to Pop Culture Trends

Pop culture events, trending TV shows, and popular celebrities present unique ways to add relevance to your brand with the media. For our client Harmless Harvest, an opportunity to tie in with television’s guiltiest pleasure – the E! show Keeping Up With The Kardashians – presented itself when we spotted the brand’s iconic green bottle stocked in the family’s fridge on more than one occasion. We took this revelation straight to Refinery29 – a top target for Harmless Harvest’s millennial audience – and it became an instant newshook, resulting in a full feature placement on the coconut water brand.

Not to worry, though – even if your product isn’t a Kardashian staple, there are plenty of other ways to leverage celebrity trends or pop culture story angles for your brand. We like this example from dairy-alternative brand Kite Hill*, whose products were recommended by popular lifestyle website Byrdie when analyzing the latest celebrity trend of cutting dairy to improve their beauty routines. Regular product sampling and gifting, as well as proactively pitching the media on your products as the “go-to” recommendation for a specific trend, is a terrific way for a brand to position itself for this type of mention.

Be a Part of Conversations that Matter to Your Audience

Brands are about more than just their products; their corporate values and positioning on key issues can also be an important tool in helping to engage with customers in a more meaningful way. So it makes sense that a company’s PR program should also take those aspects into account. Consider Luna Bar*, who built out an annual brand partnership program to address issues important their core audience of women. This year focused on the important conversation about the gender pay gap, with a partnership with E! News co-host Catt Sadler who had been in the news for calling out the entertainment station on their potential pay disparities. Luna and Catt came together to provide helpful insights and tools to arm women with what they needed to negotiate fair pay. The relationship resonated with the media, with coverage in high-caliber outlets such as Mashable, Hello Giggles, In Style, and Refinery29.

Break through Event Noise with Intimate Media Events

Large scale events aren’t the end all, be all for a strong media presence. In addition to the cost, rain, breaking news, and other interruptions will always be a hurdle in getting media to your event for coverage. Smaller, intimate, and more meaningful interactions with the media are a great – sometimes, even a better – alternative, enabling brands to build stronger, more personalized relationships with press contacts. For our client Java House Cold Brew coffee, for example, we bypassed the costly stunt approach in favor of on-site samplings with target media contacts to share the product with them first hand, while also listening more closely to how we could help provide them with useful content for their outlets. The results provided both immediate coverage in digital sites like Brit + Co, as well as longer term coverage with print outlet Rachael Ray Every Day. Beyond these meetings, we schedule touchpoints with each contact by sending another shipment of samples, identifying new coverage opportunities from the planned editorial calendars or seasonal tie-ins, and sending additional updates from the brand on availability, sales, recipes, and more. This sets a brand up for additional coverage of their product in new ways.

Lift the Veil to Give Press and Consumers an Inside Look at Your Brand

Many consumer audiences, especially Millennials and Gen Z, want to know more about who’s behind the products they love. When founders or executives lift the veil to show the inner workings of their business, how they make it successful, and where their priorities lie, it provides a captivating campaign to keep the brand in the press. For example, we’ve noticed that Health-Ade Kombucha’s Daina Trout* regularly speaks on the inner workings of running a business, letting fans of the brand and media get insights on how her passion project and side hustle grew to one of the most popular brands in space. Recent stories with outlets such as Brit + Co and Well and Good put a face and a personal story  to the company and product these outlets and readers have come to love, and provides a deeper connection to the brand.

Look to Seasonal and Thematic Topics to Keep Your Product Newsworthy

When in doubt on which direction to take your next PR campaign, getting creative to uncover a seasonal or thematic tie-in is the best way to keep your brand relevant. Our team looks at everything from holidays and recurring events, to relatable themes around travel, parenting, fitness, and more to keep our brands in the press. For example, look at food holidays that line up with your product, as we did for Java House Cold Brew and National Coffee Day for Parade. Or, perhaps find an event that gets media attention every year, such as Coachella Music Festival, which we utilized for Harmless Harvest in Us Weekly to talk festival essentials. You can also look ahead to the activities and topics that are popular for that time of year. Tapping into the hydration of Harmless Harvest, we talked bach bag essentials and healthy beach snack options with PopSugar for another product mention leading into summer. With a little foresight and creativity, you can fill a year’s worth of PR campaigns by looking more closely at the calendar and the themes that follow for that time of year.

To discuss how our team can make noise that lasts all year round and beyond for your star product, please reach out here: Julia@resoundmarketing.com

*Not a Resound client, just a brand we love!