We asked PR and growth experts in the food & beverage industry: What are Top PR Trends in Food Right Now? What are great examples of branding in the industry? Which exhibitions, platforms, food & beverage networks are trending? How to create a buzz for a food brand right now? Here are their answers:
Alison Seibert, Founder + Principal at The James Collective, a boutique integrated communications agency in NYC and the SF Bay Area that specializes in CPG food, beverage, travel and wellness.
“The food industry is in an incredibly exciting moment, probably one of the most pivotal moments that I’ve seen in my career. I think the biggest trend that we’re seeing is how so much of what is happening in the world both directly affects food, and the food industry likewise acts as a microcosm of what is happening more broadly in the world. Consumers are expressing a serious interest in understanding where their food comes from and how their purchases both affect the planet (both through issues like climate change and labor) as well as how their purchases reflect on themselves. Likewise, there’s a natural collision of food and beverage with wellness, and ultimately, consumers are seeking experiences over things — thus looking at food and beverage from the lense of experiences.
This directly affects us as public relations professionals and marketers. Transparency, credibility and authentic storytelling is key, as is reaching people where they live in an integrated manner. No longer is a great placement in a top publication enough. We need to strategically create opportunities for these products to be covered through media, have a solid social media presence for the right audiences, create experiences that emotionally and physically communicate the brand’s value in our lives, while always understanding that distribution and availability of food and beverage products are also key to sales and business growth.”
Jessica Butera, PR Supervisor at The Food Group, a full service marketing agency specializing in food and beverage.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the food & beverage industry. Innovation is booming with today’s biggest trends — functional ingredients, CBD, adaptogens, plant-based, on-the-go, clean-label, sustainability — influencing how we eat & drink. With new, on-trend products being introduced every day, PR is a great way to build buzz and demonstrate what sets your product apart. However, traditional tactics no longer cut it. Here are a few ways we’re driving awareness for our clients…
1) Experiential: The best way to generate excitement about food & beverages is by allowing people to experience them — how does it taste? does it smell enticing? is it instagrammable? is it craveable? Experiential opportunities like pop-up shops, events, and immersion trips where people can sample the food and beverage is not a new concept, but it’s one that has staying power, especially in such a saturated market..
2) Partnerships: Partnering up like-minded brands or influential tastemakers can be a great way to amplify awareness around your brand.
3) Content: Content, including recipes, influencer tips, photography, videos, etc. is still an essential way to drive awareness around your brand.”
PRontheGO: Top PR Trends in the Food Industry
Rachel Kay, Founder + President at RKPR, a boutique PR agency that has specialized in national food & beverage brands for 13+ years:
“A fiery political climate is fueling a heightened interest by food and beverage brands to communicate elevated cause-related or sustainability programs. Previously, tying back to heated political topics was avoided by brands (and PR reps); but now, the benefit of being a champion for change overrides the risk of alienating some consumers. It also makes for great storytelling as consumers want products that reflect shared values. Brands realize it’s no longer enough to be recyclable or to donate samples to a foodbank. To breakthrough, there needs to be a specific effort, opinion and measurable outcome. Programs reflecting things like regenerative agriculture to female empowerment to body positivity help build a deeper brand narrative.”
Candace MacDonald, Founder and Managing Director at Carbonate, a creative strategy and brand communications agency operating in the food & hospitality space:
“We co-produce an annual trend report every year with af&co., a food, hospitality and lifestyle PR & marketing firm based in San Francisco, which has become an industry standard for food & beverage trends. (2020 report here)
The big overarching trend this year is an increase in the importance of authentic sustainability messaging. Companies have been making the shift towards more sustainable operations, but especially for food companies, all of this is easier said than done. So companies are having to find ways to accurately be able to say what they are doing while still having a PR hook. We are seeing that lasting strategic partnerships are key to amplifying that message across a much wider field and also create brand synergy. Partnerships with brands that live in the sustainable space allow food companies to communicate values, create news angles, build trust in a brand, and reach new audiences.
Examples we love:
• KFC partnered with Beyond Meats for a custom plant-based fried chicken, which was test-launched with great success (in the South!) with new green (instead of red, and a symbol of sustainability) buckets with the slogan, “It’s still finger lickin’ good.”
- The partnership lends sustainability credentials to KFC
- The new branding supports the sustainability ethos while remaining true to the KFC brand
• Sweetgreen partnered with David Chang to launch the Tingly Sweet Potato and Kelp Bowl, touting the environmental benefits of Kelp harvesting
- The news hook is not just about the environment (and economic advantages) but the trust in a celebrity figure like David Chang to promote it
• We work with Chowbotics, a food tech company focused on making fresh healthy food available anytime, anywhere — and they partnered with a southern salad restaurant chain to put a Salad Station robots in hospitals throughout the south, offering fresh healthy salads 24/7 to hospital staff and visitors.”
Michael Vaughan, Account Coordinator at HeraldPR, a full service Public Relations + Digital Marketing agency:
“QReal, a Glimpse Group subsidiary, is creating lifelike 3D and AR content for social media campaigns, web content, and e-commerce purposes. Their augmented reality (AR) platform is also expanding into the restaurant and food services space thanks to their unique partnerships. According to founder Alper Guler, there are “many opportunities” ahead for AR to be utilised in FMCG and grocery.
Qreal’s high-end experiences and 3D assets enable food makers to present products in 3D and provide visualisation of dishes using advanced scanning technologies.
The Glimpse Subsidiary has attracted the attention of big brands and over the summer it worked with the likes of Grubhub, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Domino’s and Magnolia Bakery to develop AR campaigns. They’ve worked with partners to create augmented reality Snapchat ads and activations.”
Pizza chain Dominos worked with Qreal for an AR social media campaign.
Diane Welland, M.S., R.D., Nutrition Communications Manager at Kellen, a leading global provider of management and strategic communications services to trade associations, with deep expertise and extensive relationships in the food and nutrition industry:
“Right now, the biggest food and beverage trends are plant-based products, from nut butters to meat replacements, which has gone mainstream to restaurants, fast food and grocery stores everywhere. Beverages are getting really exciting, and right now, the biggest trend are dairy alternatives such as oat based, nut and seed based and fruit based. CBD infused drinks, candy and ice cream are also picking up steam as is interest in functional ingredients. In terms of diets, Keto is still king and is expected to remain a top diet trend for 2020. We’re seeing brands taking products to the next level and stretching flavor profiles, such as Frito Lay’s Cheetos Popcorn or Churro-inspired Oreos. A great way to create buzz around your brand is to know who your audience is and connect with them in an honest way in the places they care about. Storytelling with shareable content that people can connect with can help elevate your brand in big ways.
You can read more about top food and beverage trends in our 2019 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo Recap.”
Sarah Walters, Director of Public Relations at RMD Advertising — The Integrated Advertising Agency for Food and Only Food
“In food, the top PR trend is also one of the most tried-and-true strategies: targeting consumers where they live, and where they shop. Working with food brands, it’s critical to support a PR program that focuses on national media, trade media and regional targeting. This allows the brand to be positioned to consumers at precisely the right time — just before they shop, and ongoing to stay top of mind. Perhaps just as importantly, this PR strategy also demonstrates to important retail partners and customers that the brand is investing in the relationship — a key competitive differentiator — and helping to drive feet into the aisles.
Some of our favorite examples of branding of recent in the food category can be found in the Keto Snack and Pork Rind categories. Brands such as ParmCrisps came out of the gate strong with a powerful integration of key strategies, including powerful package design, to clearly communicate with precision that they were there to solve a very real snack dilemma. They also effectively communicated they were bringing the taste leader to the snack food aisles to do so. Pork Rinds, on the other hand have been transformed as a category over the past 3+ years. The results of Southern Recipe Small Batch’s efforts, specifically, have catapulted the core consumers from a 65+ year old males to millennial women. Transformations such as those do not and cannot happen overnight, or by chance. Integration of all efforts, including product innovation, is required for such a transformation.
Today in the food category, Natural Products Expo West is the go-to expo for food brands and product launches. There are others, for sure, but this is the gold standard.
Currently, creating a buzz for a food brand requires innovation, time, creativity and carefully orchestrated and timed execution of marketing strategies. The best “buzz” seems almost spontaneous — but few really are… Strategic planning and flawless execution are mandatory.”
PRontheGO.com — The Creative Entrepreneur’s source for PR hacks.
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PRontheGO: Top PR Trends in Travel Right Now
We asked PR and marketing experts in the travel industry: What are the Top PR Trends in Travel Right Now? What are great examples of branding in travel + hospitality? Which exhibitions, platforms, travel networks are trending? How to create a buzz for a travel brand right now? Here are their answers:
Brookes May, Co-Founder at Funbully, a modern, lifestyle PR agency:
“We work with lifestyle and travel brands all the time. Here are some trends we’ve noticed lately:
1) Writers are looking for experience-based travel ideas. It’s no longer enough to list fabulous “amenities,” you need to be talking about what there is to DO: yoga retreats, ski trips, bar crawls, local food tours, etc. …
PRontheGO: 3 Top PR Trends in Fashion Right Now
We asked PR and marketing experts in the fashion industry: What are Top PR Trends in Fashion Right Now? What are great examples of fashion branding? Which exhibitions, platforms, fashion networks are trending? How to create a buzz for a fashion brand right now? Here are the current top 3 PR trends:
1) Digital PR
Olivia Royce, Digital PR Manager at NOVOS, an agency of eCommerce specialists focused on acquiring new customers through SEO, content marketing & Digital PR:
“The Fashion PR market is moving away from the traditional PR set up. No longer getting a product placed in a magazine (no matter how well it is styled) will guarantee a sell out piece! We’ve seen a real move in to working with brands on expanding their digital footprint, and through that essentially using brand messaging to spread the word. We are not contacting journalists as much to feature a product, but rather creating meaningful campaigns — a story to be shared… This would include a press release on an interesting ‘hook’, plus some product placement and then working with influencers to spread the message on social.” …
PRontheGO: 7 Resources That’ll Improve Your Public Relations
We asked PR & growth experts to provide Resources That’ll Improve Your Public Relations. Which resources do you use to develop and implement PR strategies? Which tools are out there to improve the performance of PR campaigns? Which resources give entrepreneurs a better understanding of PR? Here are their answers:
1) Find the right contact
“In PR it’s all about who you know — or more importantly, who you can reach. Today, with massive turnover of media staff and the push towards online communications through DMs and social media, people may find it actually harder to reach key gatekeepers (media, editors, event planners, podcast hosts, etc) who can put them and their message front and centre. Hunter.io is an online ‘email hunting tool’ that allows you to search up anyone’s email as long as you have their company URL. This has come in handy say, when searching for a specific Huffington Post editor whose contact info wasn’t displayed online, but by using the email search in Hunter.io — we were able to figure out his direct email and craft a personalized message that didn’t land in a general inbox. …
PRontheGO: PR experts provide their best tips for yoga studios
We asked PR and marketing experts to provide their best PR tips to yoga /pilates studio owners. How to differentiate in the product and branding, how to stand out? Which (local) platforms shall studio owners use to promote their classes? How can they grow their brand and clientele? Here are their answers:
Ashley Steinmetz is the founder of Perfect Wave Marketing, a boutique marketing and public relations firm catering to wellness, travel and leisure businesses and individuals around the world since 2010. She’s been working with yoga teachers, studios, and yoga retreat companies for several years:
“No two yoga studios are exactly alike even if their services seem similar and their businesses are on the same block. Have a well known yoga teacher leading classes at your studio? Do you offer hot tea at the end of class? Do you sell beautiful malas or yoga wear? Do you offer full moon classes? Are you partnered with a cause close to your heart? …
We asked PR and Marketing experts to provide their best ideas and success stories on Valentine’s Day campaigns. Why should founders leverage national holidays such as Valentine’s Day? What are creative publicity and social media campaign ideas? With which Valentine’s Day campaigns have you been successful in the past? Here are their insights:
The best Valentine’s Day campaign ideas for your business
Meg Prejzner, Founder & Consultant at Hackett Brand Consulting, brings proven marketing strategies to life for businesses, drawing from more than 10 years of experience working with Fortune 50 enterprises, international organizations and national franchise brands:
“National holidays give audiences a specific hook, or date, that’s easy to remember. But, it’s important to capture attention in a unique, out-of-the-box way. When I led PR & Social Media as Brand Manager with Qdoba, we launched the Qdoba for a Kiss campaign for Valentine’s Day. The idea — customers who share a kiss with a loved one, friend, or even their own hand get a buy one, get one free burrito. Using this tongue-in-cheek campaign, we were featured on The Today Show, USA Today, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Bustle, Money.com and more where a simple 50-percent off deal may not have cut it.” …
A full plate of data-driven PR capabilities.
With our proven methodologies and data-driven strategies, we’ve represented clients in the food and beverage space from fast-casual to fine dining, burgers and fries to vegan cuisine. No matter your consumer, we know how to reach them.
With a dedicated team of public relations professionals, strategists, and data analysts are specialized in all things food, we can create and syndicate the perfect message to reach your audience. And did we mention our international influencer network we leverage regularly to grow brands?
Standing-out from the crowd through PR
Making news in the food and beverage sector is not only challenging, but also a task that often fails to differentiate itself from others. We know that to score the desired results, a unique perspective needs to be presented and that is where we invest ourselves. We take your unique story and craft the perfect creative content around it to make you win against the masses.
Our proven blueprints are in-depth and detailed roadmaps on how to proceed with different type of products, audiences, and mediums. Combine that with the bespoke messaging plan tailored to you, and you get PR that beats the competition and puts the limelight on your brand.
How we work.
We leverage on our relationships with influencers and journalists
When you have been in the PR game as long as we have been, you make long-term relationships that produce wonderful results. We are full-service public relations and marketing agency and we actively work with thousands of influencers and journalists that rely on us for stories that matter. Once we have you onboard, we work closely with your team to craft messaging that will make headlines and then we push the content out to handpicked influencers and journalists to multiply the exposure.
Our creative team works hard to maintain a uniform approach towards your story and personalize it according to each audience, making your story look like their story and the story that people will listen to. We create a bond between you and your audience that drives sales and multiplies the impressions you make with your brand.
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We control everything.
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Increase brand reach
Through mass media PR, social media content, and virtual launch events, we share compelling stories, images, and videos that combine your brand with cognitive refreshment.
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Food and beverage marketing is just as much about consumer awareness as consumer loyalty. We'll use a strategic combination of traditional media placement with influencer and viral marketing to increase your brand's voice to new circles.
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The consumer journey is a long and precarious one. But with the right timing and the right messaging, you can make sure that each lead not only becomes a customer, but a member of a loyal and dedicated base.
The amount mobile searches for soft drinks has increased in the past two years.
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