Food & Drink International - Spring 2017 Volume 1 - 93
Dare to be Different
You're doing everything you should, aren't you? Nice food photography, a social media presence, a reliable schedule of limited time offers, an investment in technology, some professionally designed materials and branded communications - perhaps
even buying a little space in the mass media now and then, depending on your size?
But have you ever considered that you
just built a bland backdrop for someone else to stand out from? You just
So how do you keep from blending
in? How do you blend out?
been up for a month and gotten very
little interaction or response. It blends.
Marketers need to stand out without crossing the line. And while on
the topic of social media, here are a
1. Be very responsive.
Recently Wendy's, a stolid brand with
general positivity common to most
restaurant communications, has been
making (actually) funny jokes on social media. It's been going on awhile,
but recently they got national media
attention for it. A troll-y guy doubted their claim of never having frozen
their burgers and the social media
manager drolly reminded him that
refrigerators exist. It was calm and
polite, and funny and devastating.
Suddenly, Wendy's stood out.
Clearly, not every brand is equipped
to do this. DiGiorno accidentally and
playfully tweeted a cheeky response to
a hashtag meant to be used by domestic abuse survivors; Cheerios looked
inappropriately self-promotional when
offering a Rest In Peace for Prince
with a Cheerio dotting the "i."
These missteps send a chill down
a marketer's spine - so most opt for
safe, inoffensive stuff like this recent
tweet from a major chain, over a little
looped video of (admittedly, nicely
shot) steaming fajitas being placed on
a table: "We put the heat in fa-heat-as.
[flame emoji]." That's just self-interested wordplay. It's not funny, it's not
personal, it's not effectively differentiating and it's not useful. The tweet's
If someone mentions you, acknowledge it. You wouldn't ignore them in
person if they mentioned you. You
don't have to be anything more than
pleasant, but you do have to respond
- and, really, most restaurants have
this down pretty well. They respond
to complaints, thank customers,
retweet photos and initiate. While it's
pretty basic, having a social presence
allows you to recognize the power of
one-on-one conversation. You don't
blend in if you're chatting directly.
2. Be very useful.
People help each other out. That's a
human thing. You could provide local
information as part of your community's fabric, or just say where your food
truck's going to be or what today's
sandwich is - fine and informational.
Be careful about being overly promotional, though, on social media. Save
that for ads. Like, for example, consider how you personally respond to the
following actual, randomly selected
social media post: "Catch some serious southwest flavor with our Tex Mex
Loaded Chips before they pass you
by," with a photo of the chips being
passed around a table. Does it seem
like they're trying to connect with you
To avoid blending in and building a bland backdrop, marketers need to ensure brands stand out without crossing the line. <<
food & drink international * spring 2017 volume 1 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com