So, you’ve made the plunge into the food and beverage world, and now you want everyone to know that you’re out there. It’s hard to believe that after months of hard labor, where you have done nothing but live and breathe your new brand, that no one else knows about your brand! How do you get them to drink your particular brand of “Kool-Aid”? Hard work, that’s how… but there are some ways to make it easier.
The oldest trick in the book is to let your customer do it for you! After all, word of mouth is the most authentic and effective way to spread information. Ensure the support of your customers by engaging with them, and truly treating them with the “Customer Is King” mentality. They will be the ones telling everyone about this amazing new restaurant, bar, food product, or drink. By being a good brand, and truly appreciating and being transparent with your customer, they will become your biggest ally.
Toot your own horn! When you get good press or a recommendation, share it! Blog it, Facebook it, tweet it, etc. Let folks know that you’re amazing, and they’ll want to share it on your behalf. Any new customers that come as a result won’t be disappointed, because your product really does do amazing things or tastes phenomenal.
Make those connections! So many people work extremely hard and are exhausted at the end of their 16-hour day that the idea of networking curls their toes, but you need to pound that pavement. Let folks know you are there by attending food events, and bring samples! Let your product do the talking. Connect via your social media channels, but remember that Facebook and Twitter are two totally different animals, and therefore, you need to treat them very differently. Show off your social media chops!
Make connections with bloggers, and of course, the more traditional media. Don’t just hit them cold and ask them to support you. Take your time and respect theirs. Follow them, see who really speaks to you, see who you really think would be a good connection for your brand, and tell them that. Bloggers have a tremendous network of loyal followers, some of which can be pretty fanatic, so if they say you are “all that and a bag of chips”, their followers will think so too.
Take it “viral” baby! There is nothing wrong with a well-executed stunt or gimmick if your brand supports it. Have fun with it, and get it on the Internet. Your network and their networks can help take you to the next level. It’s hard to create a viral video or a viral post, but if you are open to thinking outside the box, I’ll bet that you have some folks on your team that can really come up with some amazing ideas.
Never discount the experts either! Brand companies like Elevate My Brand do exactly that, they ELEVATE YOUR BRAND! Take your time, evaluate the players, understand that you might not be the expert in that area, and realize that others can help in ways that you never thought possible.
I’ll be honest: Elevate My Brand reached out to me on Twitter, @fundafeast, to talk about my new crowdfunding site for food and drink, fundafeast.com. I thought it might just be a sales pitch, but being new, I wasn’t about to shut any doors. I talked to Laurel for almost an hour about how much I loved crowdfunding, and how much I wanted to help food and beverage people. She let me prattle on about fundafeast and how I wanted to help startups and make a difference in people’s lives, and during our conversation, I realized that she did as well! Everyone at Elevate My Brand has been so very supportive and helpful. Heck, they asked me to guest blog for them! No money has exchanged hands, it is just two companies, who respect one another and believe in what the other company is doing, working together.
At the end of the day, you simply need to believe in your brand. That sincerity when you speak of your product, when you post about your product, when you produce your product, will shine through as clear as a sunny day. People will know how much you believe in it, and they in turn will believe in you.
If you have a food or drink brand and you want some brand recognition, reach out to me, Cheryl Clements at fundafeast. I’ll be happy to let folks know that you’re out there!