Ingredients for success: Five tips to build food & drink brands and maintain their reputation

  • Insights
  • Consumer
Lucy Melling Related reads

What does it take to build brands and reputation in the food and drink sector? That’s not the simple question it once used to be.

It is something that was brought into sharp focus at Food Matters Live, in a vast exhibition space where hundreds of brands, products and services compete to attract the attention of business partners, customers, influencers and the media.

What people eat and drink, whether they are starving or gorging, how it’s produced and the affect it has on us and the environment is the global obsession of the 21st Century. In the last year, 400 million food and drink stories hit the headlines, 87% per cent of which appeared within the social media space.

The sheer depth and breadth of the sector, coupled with the deeply personal nature of the subject, present both challenges and opportunities for communications. It requires specialist know-how of the broad sector and niche categories and a deep understanding of your audiences, combined with creative flair and technical savvy, to cut through the often conflicting noise and consumer confusion, and instantly connect. 

Increasingly, we are playing in a sweet spot where content is king but without purpose it’s merely a puppet. To influence your audience, protect your reputation and to drive sales, you have to be equally as interested in those we wish to influence as in selling your own story.

At MSLGROUP we’ve learned a lot from years of experience with the likes of Coca-Cola, Danone, Sainsbury’s, Nestlé, Nature’s Way and SABMiller and through our relationship with the Food and Drink Federation.  Speaking at the FDF’s seminar at Food Matters Live, we tabled five critical success factors for successfully communicating in the food and drink sector today.

Top five tips to build food & drink brands:

  • Understand the power of a great idea: Powerful ideas instantly connect. The starting point is always great insight – the not so obvious but essential truth
  • Design contagious and powerful content: Consider the audience, their behaviours, your available channels and the stories they find interesting. As a brand how best do you tap into this?
  • Tell your story at the right time: The online world offers endless and unrestrictive opportunity to reach your customers. However, freedom of access shouldn't lead to overload.  Less really can be more and there's an optimal moment for everyone. Think about who you're targeting, when they'd appreciate hearing from you and when they're most likely to respond.
  • Bring your story to life through people: People are your best asset. From the factory floor, through to subject matter experts, the Board and external advocates. Harness their expertise and experience to tell your brand story
  • Prepare for issues to avert crises: Rumours can quickly turn into digital wildfires and full blown crises. Anticipate likely issues and plan your response, so they don’t escalate

Getting this right, will help you to be interesting and interested, two critical factors for your brand to remain relevant and influential in a digital age.

For further information, please contact Lucy Melling or Mallika Basu.


Lucy Melling

Deputy Managing Director, Consumer Practice

Lucy is a brand communications specialist, with over 20 years industry experience spanning everything from food and drink to fashion, cars, travel and leisure, homes and interiors. She has worked for clients, both UK and world-wide, including: Diageo, Rio Tinto, British Airways, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kimberly-Clark and Tesco.

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