Food sparks interest and brings people together. We recognize this aspect of culture at gatherings of all sorts—weddings, parties, family reunions and even blood drives. Many non-food brands also benefit from building market strategies around the concept of food.
Even back in middle school, I remember when giving a presentation in my Spanish class that bringing in food was a sure-fire way to have a happy, more attentive audience. Typically, we’d dream up a way to tie the food into the class assignment, for example by offering traditional Mexican wedding cookies . Actually, my middle school experience is not vastly different from a successful market strategy for non-food brands. Find a way to tie food experience into your brand, and it will become more interesting to consumers. This strategy is also sometimes referred to as “borrowed interest.”
Health care brands, financial services brands and automotive brands tend to ‘tune out’ food’s popularity, because they don’t see a connection to their brand equity. Hopefully, my health insurance example will give you some ideas and help brands make the connection.
Example: Health Insurance Benefits from Food Strategy
Recently, I caught up with Mary Milling, Insurance Advisor at American Senior Benefits. Milling works with seniors and pre-retirees (starting around age 55) to get health insurance coverage in place, helping them navigate Medicare and the Obamacare website. Typically, health care coverage is the most urgent need for these clients and their spouses.
To maintain an ongoing line of communication with her clients, Milling uses a monthly e-newsletter. Recognizing that a newsletter full of insurance and financial advice may not appeal to all audiences, she uses food to capture interest. As Milling says,
“My market is really interested in healthy food, so we make sure to include a recipe and photo in our monthly newsletter. For example, the January 2014 newsletter includes the recipe for Lime-Jalapeno Chicken. We know that this captures our readers’ interest.”
Food is #1 in Capturing Mom’s Attention
So how popular is food? It is the #1 topic that all moms seek information on, both in print and online, according to the State of the American Mom Report. Food is #1 across moms with children of all ages (i.e., infant/toddler, preschool, elementary, middle school, highschool and young adult). Food is #1 among Millennial, Gen X and Boomer moms. And, food is also of considerable interest to dads, ranking #3 behind sports and technology.
Pictures of Food are Everywhere on PInterest, Twitter
According to Repinly Stats, food was the #1 category on Pinterest, as of February 2013, with 11% of Pinterest pins. State of the American Mom 2012 research found recipe ideas tied with decorating and inspiration as the top uses of Pinterest among moms.
So… Mexican Wedding Cookies, anyone?