03 Oct 2019

Joanna Dodd (Managing Director, Rochester PR Group) shares her experience of helping food brands raise their profile in the UK

We hear from food brands of all shapes and sizes say that they are struggling to get the attention of buyers, figure out which route to market is best, or reach their rate of sale targets. And in the current climate of rising prices and reduced spending power here in the UK, establishing a strong brand profile that has consumers filling their shopping baskets with your brand time and time again has never been so important.

Joanna Dodd, Managing Director of Rochester PR Group, has helped food and drink brands including the likes of Nando’s, Lavazza and Guylian to build their brand profiles in the UK. These days Joanna and the team at Rochester PR focus on market entry clients ie international brands entering the UK market, but “the core of successful PR campaigns remain the same for all food and drink brands, regardless of product or country of origin”, says Joanna.

She reveals the questions Rochester PR commonly hears from food and drink brands and shares some insight into the agency’s approach:

When should we activate PR?

“You are only ‘new’ once in the eyes of the media, so this needs to be carefully considered eg when you can communicate a call to action to buy? This doesn’t have to mean waiting for a supermarket listing as proving web sales and insights such as best sellers can be very valuable when pitching to buyers. As can a growing, engaged social media following.”

Where should we start?

“Our answer to this is to always start by analysing where you are and how that matches up with your business objectives so that our recommendations are totally bespoke for your business. If you sound very similar to UK competitors we would start with messaging. If you have a minimal or below par online presence we would start by creating new website copy and kicking off UK social media accounts. If you need media profile quickly we would draft a press release and start talking to the media on your behalf.”

What marketing mix will work best for us?

“Agreeing the marketing mix is a conversation we have with clients in line with their objectives, budget and assets/content. PR can be a lot more cost effective than traditional advertising and marketing routes, and we offer a much broader range of services than ‘just media relations’. We have done local flyering campaigns for a restaurant, pitched to buyers alongside clients, represented clients at events, set up meetings between clients and key contacts.”

Is social media activity enough on its own?

“Very rarely. Whilst we have all heard of products or campaigns that have gone viral online, this very seldom happens without significant investment eg Oreo’s ‘dunk in the dark’ tweet during the Super Bowl. In the campaigns we run for clients, social media is a component of the campaign, but not the entire campaign.”

How can a PR campaign support our pitch to distributors/buyers?

“Media articles and endorsements from journalists, social media growth and comments from fans, and a communications plan can all be very compelling components of your pitch deck.”

We have a small budget, what can you do?

“Work closely with you to get creative with the assets you have!”

“Successful PR campaigns for food and drink brands require up to date knowledge of trends and media consumption habits to deliver meaningful connections that drive results. We ensure that we are always ahead of the curve on these, which is one of the factors that has kept Guylian Belgian Chocolates a loyal client for over 20 years now.”

Rochester PR will be hosting two roundtable sessions a day at Food Matters Live 2019:

11.15am each day: ‘Why a great PR campaign pays dividends for international food and drink brands launching into the competitive UK market’ is ideal for international food brands. More info

1.15pm each day: ‘Getting your brand noticed in the UK’ will be insightful for all food businesses seeking to raise their profile. More info

For more information and to book your place, please contact Anders Larsen.

Please provide us with the session names and times you would like to attend when booking.

T: +44 (0)20 3848 9462
E: anders.larsen@foodmatterslive.com