What foodservice product marketers can learn from emojis

Leave it my Millennial son to help explain the significance of emojis to foodservice product marketing.

“Emojis are just a contemporary form of hieroglyphs,” Nick said.  “Emojis and hieroglyphs tell a story or express an emotion in a concise way.  We’re going back to prehistoric days when pictures — not words — were used to communicate” he chuckled.

The epiphany from his comment as it relates to foodservice product marketing was this…

Nothing has changed since the dawn of man.  We humans are influenced most by stories.
And emojis are just a new-old way of communicating a story as efficiently as possible.

OK, I’m not suggesting you create an emoji for your banana pudding product.

But like emojis are the reborn concept of hieroglyphs, maybe you need to dust off your product’s back story that will connect with operators.  It’s worked before…

  • The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association championed a scrap cut of beef (destined to be ground meat) into the flatiron steak. A simple (some would say fictional) story was told that the “new” relatively tender, tasty steak resembles the shape of an old flatiron.  The steak is now a mainstay on many menus.
  • Ray Kroc turned a busy, but uninspiring California burger joint, into McDonald’s by constantly telling the story about how eating a hamburger, fries and milkshake at the Golden Arches was essentially the new American family tradition. Just like going to church — the other building you can find in every town.
  • Doritos, the Dole Pineapple Whip frozen dessert and other products trace their history back to Disneyland… so there’s a good chance these products might work elsewhere.
  • The Snickers candy bar was named after the Mars family’s favorite horse. That’s just a fun fact.
  • The semi-sweet chocolate used in Toll House cookies was originally used by mistake. Until people said they preferred the taste.
  • The iconic man pictured on the Quaker Oats package has an actual name.  I won’t spoil it… find a Quaker Oats person and ask him or her.
  • There are 720 drops in a two-ounce Tabasco bottle of hot sauce.

I’ve heard sales reps use these stories over the years to start conversations with customers.  None of the stories themselves will make a sale… but will immediately create a human connection that a list of a dozen features and benefits will never do.

So, what’s your product story?  Does it warrant an apple emoji (look it up if you don’t know the meaning)?

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