This message will disappear in 3, 2, 1…

Snapchat, the social messaging app that has taken American teens by storm, has a strong base of 26 million users, the rapt attention of a young core audience, and is facilitating billions of shares per day. Yet, Snapchat is still a largely untapped territory for brands. 

Here are eight things you need to know to get caught up and determine if Snapchat is the right place for your brand’s messaging:

While more than a few food and beverage brands are beginning to exploit the emerging creative opportunities in the online space, many more are still inexperienced with the true potential of digital marketing. For industry decision-makers, understanding how to realize that potential and leverage the advantages of this approach — including best practices for creating digital marketing strategies that better target their ideal demographics — is essential.

Because the digital media landscape occupies such a vast and diverse expanse of virtual real estate, it is a medium that allows for a great deal of highly customized and highly effective targeting in marketing and advertising campaigns. 

A food or beverage product is recalled every day in some part of the United States and around the world. Sometimes the reason for the product recall is because of salmonella or E. coli, which are very serious, and other times it is for undeclared ingredients or something that is not necessarily life-threatening.

Whatever the reason for it, a recall is serious business for a company and it must be prepared to properly handle the situation. 

Tellem Grody PR Inc., based in Los Angeles, developed the “10 Commandments of Recall Crisis Management” to minimize damage to a brand. Of course, the Food and Drug Administration has its own rules that must be followed by companies as well, but those are to protect the public more than the brand. 

“For real? Is this happening?” Those are the questions that ran through my mind as I watched Jon Bon Jovi grab the guitar hanging on the Blue Parrot’s wall and sing “Wanted: Dead or Alive” to the 50 people eating Mexican food and drinking margaritas.

This surreal experience is what people secretly hope for when patronizing celebrity boîtes; I can hit a hot-spot, eat amazing food, and maybe, just maybe, chill with Justin Timberlake or Michael Jordan or Mark Wahlberg. 

Craft beer has experienced exponential growth in the United States and throughout the world over the past decade as consumers have come to appreciate the variety of styles and phenomenal quality that result from the dedication of smaller, local beer producers.

Although beer figures declined overall in 2013, craft beer continued to experience another year of double-digit growth, including 49 percent growth in the export of American craft beer, according to the Brewers Association. Craft beer may have started the movement, but it is not the only category of artisanal beverages experiencing rapid growth in today’s marketplace. 

First it was gourmet cake pops and cupcakes. Today, fancy macaroons and donuts. Tomorrow, it’s the “cronut” – a hybrid donut/croissant making its rise in New York and L.A. The only constant thing about millennials and their food tastes is that they are always changing. 

Contributing writer Tesla Martinez spoke with Brent Toevs, CEO of Marley Coffee, to get his perspective on taking a food or drink company global. Marley Coffee, founded by Bob Marley’s son, Rohan Marley, is a sustainably grown and ethically farmed gourmet coffee company.

There’s an emerging conversation among supply chain leaders at major food and ingredients companies about the concept of “food miles,” and how the extended supply chain is reaching a point where we could face a situation where the food chain becomes unsustainable in certain parts of the world.

If you’ve ever wondered what world-famous chefs do for spring break, ask Lee Brian Schrager. The mastermind behind the Food Network’s South Beach and New York City Wine and Food Festivals has hosted the likes of Emeril, Anthony Bourdain, Bobby Flay and Martha Stewart at these charity-supporting food and wine events for more than a decade, and the party is just getting started. 

Just how short are we talking?

In late June, the formal announcement of Instagram’s new 15-second video feature immediately met with speculation about whether 15 seconds was too long or too short. Would people fail to engage with a whole 15-second video? Or is six seconds, the established limit for Twitter’s Vine app, too short now by comparison? Which will users prefer? Which will marketers prefer? 

The economic downturn has been tough on many restaurant chains, but even as the economy continues to improve, owners are finding that further steps are needed to enhance profitability and ensure continued success. Keeping struggling locations afloat and turning them into contributing units within a system are key aspects to strong, long-term financial performance. 

In the highly competitive restaurant industry, the “new normal” approach to optimizing occupancy costs combines renegotiating more favorable lease terms with remodeling locations to boost revenue. When done correctly, these strategies can be beneficial for landlord and tenant alike. In fact, a joint approach between the restaurant operator and the property owner minimizes risk and expense for both parties, while increasing return on investment for all involved.

Observe the refrigerated and freezer section of any supermarket or grocery store that still has open cases. What you’ll see is shivering shoppers rushing to the registers, products that appear washed out by bad lighting and scuffed, dirty cases that accumulate dirt and repel buyers. It is a universal phenomenon.

“I shop at two stores, one is close to home and has open cases and the other is 15 minutes away, but they have new closed cases,” says Kristin Manning of Charleston, S.C. “I try to avoid the one closest to home because the store just looks run-down, plus the cold cases are all open, so the store always feels like a meat locker. In fact, we call it ‘the meat locker.’

Gluten-free is becoming the latest trend in food consumption, even among those who can tolerate gluten. One-third of U.S. adults reported by January that they want to cut down or be free of gluten in their diets, according to The NPD Group’s Dieting Monitor. This is the highest percentage making this claim since the NPD Group began asking the question in 2009. 

We know people are still watching television. We know people are consuming food-related media in social networks. And we know they’re especially active in social networks while watching television. This convergence can mean big opportunities for brands if they know where to look.

Before we dive into the opportunities, let’s discuss our target and learn more about what they’re doing.

Recipe Revolution

The Hartman Group’s 2012 report Clicks and Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture provides strategic insight into how social media has transformed the “lifecycle of a meal.” In the past, recipes and meal choices were influenced by Mom’s old recipe box, family traditions and cookbooks, and we consumed our meals together, around the table. Today’s home cooks, whatever their skill levels, seem to be driven into the kitchen by multiple social channels, mobile apps, restaurant reviews that are detailed enough to celebrate specific meals, television programs, bloggers and the recommendations found within their own personal networks.

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