Beyond the Recipe: Food Content Marketing that Hit the Mark

Cora Brady

There is no shortage of food content to be found online. It’s a content pillar of most popular lifestyle publishers and the focus for some of the top online content channels in the world. Just look at the popular quick-food video brand “Tasty” – with over 96 million followers on Facebook alone.

Food is a common connector that every demographic relates to in one way or another, and there are many variations on how a food or beverage brand can leverage content marketing to engage with their unique target audience.

When you think of food and beverage content marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is likely “recipe content”. Creating custom recipe content is a common and successful strategy for many brands; consumers are frequently looking for inspiration and new meal ideas. Developing online recipe content is a way to add value, be discovered, or even to help evolve the usage of your food brand.

Recipe content, however, is just one of many ways that food and beverage marketers can create successful content marketing campaigns for their brands. We’ve looked back at the past few years and wanted to showcase some of our favourite food and beverage content marketing campaigns, with a focus on those who go beyond recipe content.

Let’s take a look!

Stubb’s BBQ – Using New Technology to Deliver Content

Becoming a master of the grill requires quite a bit of knowhow and Stubb’s BBQ wants to help consumers get there. Stubb’s BBQ created the “handsfree BBQ manual” through a custom Alexa voice experience. Users seeking BBQ tips and ideas could engage with the Stubb’s brand through this new technology experience.

The campaign went beyond Alexa’s voice and weaved in actual snippets of audio recording from the original founder, C.B. Stubb, which brought the heritage of the brand to life. Of course, the campaign also makes it easy for the user to purchase online through the simple command “Alexa order more Stubb BBQ Sauce”.

BYU’s POV: Emerging voice technology, like Alexa and Google Home, is expected to be in 55% of US homes by 2022, however many brands are still navigating how to use this new technology in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive to consumers.

Brand-created voice campaigns need to fit naturally into the behaviours of their users and currently there isn’t a lot of data available on these behaviours and preferences. This campaign has Stubb’s dipping their toe into this space and it does so by adding value to the consumer through BBQ education and integrating their brand in a natural way through the persona of C.B. Stubb.

Cheetos – AI Technology to Drive User Generated Content

Known for its wacky brand personality and irreverent campaigns, Cheetos launched the Cheetos Vision app at SXSW in 2018. Cheetos Vision is an artificial intelligence-powered camera that turns everything you see into Cheetos. Users download the app, take a picture or video and the app turns the image into a Cheetos masterpiece that users can share with their friends directly or through social media using the brand hashtag #cheetosvision.

BYU’s POV: Is having consumers create social media content made up of your product the holy grail of user generated content? Maybe. Not every brand can make this happen, but for the iconic Cheetos brand, with its distinguishable orange color, this approach seems to work.

This app taps into the quirky nature of their intended target audience and gives their fans a way to show their brand love in a way that feels cool to them. It’s a great example of how with the right insight and technology, you can give your fans an easy way to create a lot of content on your brand’s behalf.

Ingredion – B2B Content Gets a Fresh Take

Even B2B food marketers can win at the content marketing game and Ingredion’s “You are how you eat campaign” is a great example.

Ingredion, a company focused on formulation and ingredients for the food industry, started with existing consumer behaviour research. This research shows that there are four universal groups of how people eat – crunchers, chewers, smooshers, and suckers.

Using this research, Ingredion dug further to showcase how people in each group experience and prefer food differently. This insight was brought to life through a B2B content series to drive lead generation through their website. The content series was targeted to potential clients based on their unique stage in the purchase cycle.

Video, webinars, whitepapers, and infographics were all created as part of the strategy and the brand reported a 20:1 ROI for the campaign.

BYU’s POV: We’re big fans of bringing new research, thinking, and ideas to our clients (hence our BYU Food for Thought content). The Ingredion campaign focused on a similar approach of using emerging research that would benefit their client base and draw in new clients.

Now, there’s nothing terribly ground breaking with that approach, but through this campaign Ingredion went beyond research papers or articles that you would typically see in their space. Video content, webinars, and flipbooks brought their research to life and made this campaign stand out. They combined this content with an impressive tech stack, including Eloqua, Adobe Experience Manager and Salesforce for CRM, to deliver advanced content automation.

Smart, well designed content partnered with sophisticated targeting ensured a solid ROI for this campaign.

Clif Bar – Showcasing Brand Values through Storytelling

Creating a content hub is an element of a content marketing strategy that we love. Establishing an owned online presence for your brand’s storytelling is a component that often gets overlooked.

Clif Bar’s content hub is a fantastic example of bringing brand values to life through interesting stories (and it’s not recipe related!). As you can see on the Clif Bar “Our Stories” content hub, the brand showcases their pillars of adventure, nutrition, and sustainability through a collection of articles, interviews, and video content.

This storytelling is then carried through to their social media channels. Through their Instagram account, they feature gorgeous adventure and nature photographs from their followers using the hashtag #FeedYourAdventure.

BYU’s POV: According to Nielsen, Millennials want to know more about how their food is produced. They want to see the story behind the scenes and they inspect labels to know more about social and environmental impact.

This Clif Bar campaign aligns with these millennial desires and delivers it in a way that creates rich stories related to its brand values. This is a long-term approach to content marketing (rather than a timely but ineffective holiday themed post, for example) and it really pays off in creating a deeper meaning to the brand that is important for this category of consumer.

Carmen Winery – Evolving a Brand’s Perception Through Video Content

Some food and beverage categories have tried and true marketing cues that work – we all know the ‘sip and smile’, for example. For decades in the wine category, there’s been a focus on print ads that show the bottle next to a poured wine shot, often with some cheese next to it for context.

In 2018, Carmen Winery (our client) looked to bring their story of combining tradition with innovation to create something truly inspiring. With a focus on the Toronto market, BYU Agency created a video content series that brought to life the story behind the reinvention of some of Toronto’s best neighbourhoods.

BYU’s POV: Admittedly we created this campaign, so it’s fair to say that we’re a little biased. Disclosures aside, this campaign allowed us to reintroduce a classic wine brand with a lot of history to the tastemakers of Toronto.

The events and content that we created told the story of reinvention in a manner that was engaging for Carmen’s audience and leveraging existing historians in this market added depth and credibility to the piece.

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