Foodservice marketing pros love to invent new terms, models and paradigms for concepts that, at their core, have been around for ages.
My recent favorite is “brand voice.” The term seems redundant — doesn’t a brand inherently have a voice (otherwise it wouldn’t be a brand!)?
I usually hear “voice” being used as how a company identifies its differences through words and pictures. If that’s the case, many food companies within any given category use similar “voices” (ugh). Swap out names and most bakery companies sound just like the next. Chicken companies “talk” pretty much the same. And frozen potato brands could exchange identities without most people noticing.
That’s not a criticism. It’s just a fact of life when you operate within a mature industry like food, furniture, clothing or gas and oil — especially when talking to B2B audiences
Actions build foodservice marketing
- Your “voice” needs an interpreter. Your message doesn’t reach operators consistently if your reps, brokers and distributors don’t understand what is supposed to be communicated. A PowerPoint about your branding campaigns at the annual sales meeting won’t cut it. You risk everything without consistent training and communication that includes real-life examples to these teams. Does your opinion of a restaurant rely heavily on how you like the wait staff? The same holds true for your brand — operators’ opinions of your brand are largely reflected by the persons they associate with it.
- Use your people! Every company I work with has fascinating people. Want a voice? Use them. Capturing how a broad spectrum of your team tells your brand story will display your company’s true personality and culture. This is doubly true for social media efforts.
- And literally use “voices.” Don’t just capture in written words the thoughts and ideas of all those people mentioned above. Capture their actual voices and use them in podcasts, animated audio or video (just not a bunch of written social media posts). Post small pieces of recorded phone calls or quick smartphone video interviews about a topic. Hearing is always better than seeing static text — whether in a presentation, social media environment or website.