It goes without saying that the pandemic has changed pretty much everything about how we live our lives. But if you ask me, one of the biggest things that’s changed is how we eat. The ways we acquire, prepare, consume, and even feel about our food have all changed. Comfort food is more comforting than ever. Hygiene is essential. “Contact-free” is king. Some of us are getting really good at cooking. While others have consumed enough protein shakes to fill a swimming pool. But perhaps the biggest thing that’s changed is the opportunity for brands to satisfy their customers’ needs. If you can offer a moment of comfort, security, or delight in this wild, ever-evolving world, your customers will always be hungry for more.
Take it from Galbani Cheese—it’s worth the investment to create a library of recipes that consumers can use to create delicious masterpieces of their own. Sure, recipes have always been a great way to demonstrate the multitude of possibilities your products present. But ever since “nights out” became “nights in grasping for new meal ideas,” demand for culinary inspiration has reached an all-time high. Mac ‘n’ cheese only does the trick for so long… or so I’ve been told. People are hungry for new meal ideas, and brands have a unique opportunity to be there for customers to make dining at home more convenient, interesting, and delicious.
Of course, just like any dish worth its salt, you get out what you put in. Add plenty of imagination and functionality, and don’t skimp on the photography. If your recipes are tantalizing, everybody will want a taste—and they’ll want their finished product to taste as good as it looks on your website. Most importantly, don’t forget to share on social, or all the effort that went into cooking up that delicious recipe page will have gone to waste. Our client Galbani will often link to a menu page on their social channels, prompting followers with great meal ideas that align with seasonal appetites.
More time at home with family means more opportunities to share great meals and great moments. For brands, it means sharing content that is relevant to the changing context of people’s lives. From instructional DIY posts to those that remind us to savor time with family, content that is tailored to the reality customers are living in will always taste the best.
Rich Products does an amazing job at this. Just take a scroll through their Instagram. As far as eating with your eyes goes, their page is a veritable feast. Take their Chocolate Dessert Whip. Rich’s used decadent imagery and video content to inspire customers to create their own show-stopping desserts, and people ate it up. (If you’re not trying to be tantalized into a treat-making frenzy, you definitely shouldn’t click here.)
Aligning with worthy causes and movements can be an effective strategy, but only if the connection to your brand is clear and authentic. For Rich’s—a family-owned company dedicated to inspiring culinary possibilities—The Great American Gift Card Giveaway was a perfect fit. Followers had a chance to support restaurants and the COVID-19 response—and win a year of free takeout—simply by sharing and tagging a photo of their takeout or delivery order. For every tagged post, Rich’s donated $5 to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, a fund dedicated to supporting restaurant workers financially impacted by COVID-19. The good that was done for the restaurant industry was unmistakable. And the authenticity of Rich’s role in contributing to that good was unquestionable.
How are you making your customers’ lives easier, safer, or more convenient during these—I wasn’t going to say it—uncertain times? Rich’s provided their customers with a way to top their treats with peace of mind with the hygienic, no-touch tip of their On Top® Whipped Topping. They encouraged less handling and lowered the risk of food contamination with their Grab ‘N’ Go Snacks, Pre-Packaged Desserts, and Takeaway Meals with contactless pickup and delivery. And they were able to give customers the assurances they need to enjoy their meals to the fullest with their Food Safety Kits. The takeaway: Try innovating with peace of mind in-mind.
In a pandemic where food safety is a top priority, it’s not enough to just be safe. Your customers need to know you’re being safe. Brands need to be proactive in the way they communicate the special precautions they are taking to keep customers safe and make their lives easier. Clearly communicating the steps you are taking to protect your products and personnel from COVID-19 is a must. Rich’s has used a variety of posts to accomplish this task, some informing their followers of specific actions they are taking, and others thanking their associates for their hard work and solidarity despite challenges.
If we know one thing going into 2021, it’s that digital events aren’t going anywhere. At least, not anytime soon. But that shouldn’t sound the alarm to cancel all events. Instead, when discussing event planning, brands should begin with a conversation about how their goals could also be accomplished digitally. You may be surprised by the ever-evolving capabilities of digital events.
When we helped Grow NY rapidly pivot their global agriculture competition from in-person to digital, it took an integrated effort to make the event as effective as the original was forecasted to be. Both the size of the event and the unexpectedness of the pandemic presented significant challenges, but our teams were able to pull together an event that delighted countless attendees despite the circumstances. We can accept that digital events are, and will continue to be, a part of our lives—and brands must adapt. We all miss in-person events, but failing to recognize the shift our consumers, industry, and world are experiencing is out of the question.
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