It’s another Marketing Monday and we’re here to talk about a theme we’ve noticed during recent conversations: just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should be doing it! You’ll hear about the epiphany our recent guest, Lesley Riley of Mama’s Biscuits, had: in order to grow, she needed to let some things go. Realizing that it wasn’t her dream to own a manufacturing plant freed Lesley up to diversify her involvement in the business.
We talk about why it is impossible to know what is behind another small business’s decisions before discussing some Canva do’s and don’ts, and why you should get a custom brand kit created or join our Social Media Made Easy Group if you’re going to continue to use Canva to create content. Next, we dive into TikTok trends and emphasize why you shouldn’t jump onto the bandwagon if they’re not relevant to your brand. We close this episode by highlighting that food marketing is mostly about appetite appeal, and the most important thing you can do is to solve for your brand message. We hope you join us for a quick, practical Marketing Monday episode today!
Key Points Mentioned in this Episode:
A recent theme: just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should!
The epiphany Lesley Riley had: in order to grow she had to let some things go.
How realizing it wasn’t her dream to own a manufacturing plant freed Lesley up to diversify her involvement in the business.
Why it is impossible to know what is behind another small business’s decisions.
Why it is so important to make choices that are right for you.
Canva; what you should and shouldn’t use it for.
Why you should get a custom brand kit created or join the Social Media Made Easy Group if you’re going to continue to use Canva to create content.
Why text-heavy, jumping color blocks don’t work: creating appetite appeal in food marketing.
Why you shouldn’t jump on TikTok trends if they’re not relevant to your brand.
An example of an account that has lost their brand messaging by adopting trends.
Why food marketing is primarily about creating appetite appeal.
Why the most important thing is to solve for your brand message.
How the social media marketing workbook helps you to solve for your brand message.
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Click Here for Full Transcript:
[0:00:00] Georgiana Dearing: I know you can make videos because TikTok makes it easy but rather than jumping on the bandwagon of lip-sync and pointing dances, I suggest spending some time figuring out what your brand really should be doing.
[0:00:13.4] Georgiana Dearing: Welcome to The Virginia Foodie Podcast, where we lift the lid on the craft food industry and tell the stories behind that good food, good people and good brands that you know and love. If you’ve ever come across a yummy food brand and wondered, “How do they do that? How did they turn that recipe into a successful business?” Then we’ve got some stories for you.
[0:00:43.7] Georgiana Dearing: Hello foodies, it’s another marketing Monday and this week, I want to take a moment and share some thoughts with you about a theme I’m seeing in my conversation with craft food brands lately.
The theme I notice is the idea that just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should be doing it. For example, in my recent interview with Lesley Riley, the founder and CEO of Mama’s Biscuits, she talked about a lightbulb moment for her when she realized that in order to grow, she had to let some things go.
After pushing her team of cooks to make a million biscuits last spring in support of a new retail channel, the decision to move production to a co-packer became crystal clear for her. Yes, the biscuits are her recipe but growing in the direction of keeping all the manufacturing, all in-house also means that she would need to own the manufacturing process and eventually, the plant and all the equipment and the janitorial staff and the machine operators and the crew chiefs and the shift managers and the HR department that goes with it, the list goes on and on for Craft Food Brand.
Once she realized, owning a manufacturing plant wasn’t her life’s dream, it was easy to make the business decision that would support continued growth and after extensive research, she found a co-packer that suits her needs and she keep short runs and specialty items with her small crew of bakers and makers.
[0:02:22.3] The other thing she realized last year is that she wanted to own the photography process for her brand and that’s okay too. She took a moment and thought about what she wanted to keep control of for her brand and then started outsourcing the parts that didn’t fit with her personal brand as I would call it.
Lesley’s personal brand is not about creating a big manufacturing legacy but is about creating a memorable food experience and learning to take better photos excited her. It sparks other aspects of her creativity and it allows her to retain some ownership of how her brand is perceived and it keeps cost down too.
That’s why in the example of her photography, choosing to take her own photographs is something that she should be doing, at least for now. Sometime in the future, she may ask herself that question again, “Just because I can take all the photographs, doesn’t mean I should take all the photos.”
It’s very typical for small business owners to look at other companies and think, “That’s what success looks like, that’s what I need to be doing.” But looking from the outside in, you just don’t know what is behind their decisions. You don’t know if that owner is happy on their path or if they feel like they’re buried under the weight of a monster they created.
[0:03:40.5] Another business owner might be overwhelmed by photography, you really don’t know, so you need to make choices that are the right fit for you. This name of “Can do it” versus “Should do it” shows up a lot in marketing. For example, I love Canva. It’s a great tool for small brands and used effectively, it’s a great way to expand your creative content without continuously going to the well of freelancers or design agencies.
Now, design is my background and in theory, I should be worried about losing business to an app but in truth, a smart creative team recognize that leveraging this platform will only empower their clients while helping keep cost down and that’s a good thing.
What I don’t like about Canva is that it shows you a lot of examples that you could use for print projects and social media graphics. I’ve got to tell you, my social streams are cluttered with what I call the Canva effect. Lots of animated text, lots of jumping graphics and not a lot of truly branded content.
Just because Canva says you can do it, doesn’t mean your brand should do it. If you’re currently using Canva to make a lot of text heavy social graphics, you should have a sit down with your trusted brand manager and your designer and talk about the best way to use the tools. Absolutely, you should get a custom brand kit created if you’re going to continue to use Canva to create content or you can join our Social Media Made Easy group and learn the right way to build content for your brand.
Yep, that’s a plug but it really is the most economical way to learn from us how to grow an audience that serves your business. Go to vafoodie.com and click on “grow your brand” to sign up.
[0:05:28.6] At the end of the day, food marketing is about creating appetite appeal and text heavy, jumping color blocks are not the way to make your fans drool over your brand. We’ve been asked a lot about TikTok this year and if you’ve heard the news that Instagram is moving to a video sharing and shopping platform, then you’re probably in the same tizzy that most food brands are about, “What are you going to do for content now?”
I know you can make quick videos because TikTok makes it easy but rather than jumping on the bandwagon of lip-sync and pointing dances, I suggest spending some time figuring out what your brand really should be doing. I know it feels like these clips are everywhere because they are everywhere. It’s a trend right now but you don’t need to start making them especially if you aren’t comfortable with expressing your brand that way.
I can tell you from personal experience about one account I followed that has completely taken on the TikTok-y video approach to social media and I have to say I’ve absolutely lost any brand messaging in my Instagram feed from them. This is an account that I used to look forward to viewing because of their beautiful photography and steady approachable voice. All of that has completely dried up in the onslaught of funny voiceover videos.
They’re still creating that beautiful engaging content for their static post but I never see it anymore. I literally had to track them down to see if they are still taking those beautiful shots and they are. They haven’t stopped but I never see it unless I go hunting for it and your customers aren’t going to do that. If you pick up on this trend, you may be losing the opportunity to actually get your brand message in front of them.
[0:07:17.1] I question whether the people engaging with that kind of goofy behind the scenes TikTok-y content are the people that are going to spend money with a brand. I’d be curious if that company I spoke of could cross reference some of their accounts or maybe run a promo in that stream versus a promo on their traditional content and see who’s really spending the money.
It feels like a flash in the pan to me. You know, food marketing first and foremost, what is your job? It’s creating appetite appeal, so your content should draw customers in and make them want to taste your products, so yes, video is here to stay. I’m not advocating that you ignore it because you are going to need a plan.
What I’m doing is encouraging you to take a step back and analyze your brand and it’s messaging and the goals for your business and then build a video content strategy that lifts your brand up instead of dropping it into a stream of same but different memes and trends. Right now, it may feel like you need to rush to catch up but don’t rush.
Do this one thing first, solve for your brand message and then it will be easy to know, what is the right choice for your branded content. Your static content is still out there and it’s still being served. You may see that your numbers are down in a bit but there are ways to bolster your engagement by making every element of each post work for you and absolutely, you need good visual content.
Good photography goes a long way in food marketing. If you need help organizing your brand platform, we’re here for you. I know I plugged this earlier in the podcast but the first section of our social marketing workbook addresses your brand message and the intention of your marketing content. It all applies to video, to language and to still images.
[0:09:13.1] If you are interested, the group meets every third Monday of the month in a live session. An added bonus are the guided work sessions to come afterward, it’s like study hall for your marketing. We all reserve a few hours a month to focus on the month ahead, so you should check it out but if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. I’m happy to help.
You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org and with that, this marketing Monday is a wrap. Talk to you next time my foodie friends.
[0:09:42.8] Georgiana Dearing: Thanks for listening and if you want to learn more about how to grow your own food brand, then click on “grow my brand” at vafoodie.com. If you’re a lover of local food, then be sure to follow us. We are @vafoodie on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Join the conversation and tell us about your adventures with good food, good people and good brands.