The food & beverage space is a big part of BCH’s focus to help brands add more life to living. In doing so, we keep our eyes on industry trends and a recent Morning Consult report* has several findings to keep on your radar:
- Double-digit food inflation puts a spotlight on the category… and pressures choices, from where to shop to what to eat and drink.
- Savings dominate shoppers’ decisions… leading them to trade down, cut back or eliminate purchases entirely.
- Alcohol moderation trends are becoming a lifestyle. Cost and health concerns are cementing this behavior.
- Restaurants are on the chopping block. As consumers look to save, restaurants are the first to go.
Consumers are concerned about inflation in general, but especially food and restaurant inflation. After all… we gotta eat! So what behaviors are evident as a result of these fears? As you might expect: Eat out less. Go to bars less. Purchase less alcohol. These are especially true among the key millennial demographic. Everyone covets their dollars.
It used to be that a key marketing tactic was to leverage “FOMO” (fear of missing out) to get new customers wanting to try something different. That trend is not as prevalent today as this behavior has deteriorated over the last few years.
Another key casualty today is brand reputation. Yes, consumers know the cost of goods is increasing, but they still put most of the blame on corporate price gouging. Brand and corporate reputations are exposed and at risk in today’s environment.
For beverage products, it’s a perfect storm. An ongoing trend to drink better combined with the trend to cut back on alcohol consumption due to pricing and health. Some have even jumped on the bandwagon to quit drinking or consume non-alcoholic brands.
We are truly in a market share battle since there is not significant market growth. And, all these trends are predicted to continue beyond 2023. So, what is the F&B marketer to do? Here are four strategies:
Be sure your brand offers a genuine benefit that is relevant to your audience’s lifestyle and need state, and that is also believable. Consumers see right through boastful promises. For example, this is not the time to feature your brand being consumed in extravagant scenarios. Drowning in the “lap of luxury” is not how you want your brand characterized.
As obvious as it may seem, too may brands don’t offer true differentiation. This doesn’t just mean defining a feature of your product (less calories, for example). Instead, find out how your brand will make your audience feel, and tap into that. What does your audience stress about? Position your brand as a solution to that feeling.
Now is the perfect time to share how your brand is helping with the problems of the times. Is it sustainability? Community violence? Mental health? Or simply good business management. What is your brand doing to give back and be a good corporate citizen? But tell that story with absolute transparency. Rock-solid truth. Be authentic about your motives.
There has always been a lot of noise around the idea of “brand personality.” Some practice it well, while some don’t really understand what it is or how to effectively utilize it. Brand personality can be a powerful tool. Especially in an environment like today’s where it is a market share battle. It has never been more important to choose the right brand personality, and maximize this in your marketing communications. An effective use of brand personality gives consumers a way to relate to your brand. If they relate to your brand they will have a greater propensity to choose your brand. People make choices on emotion first, then rationalize that decision later with facts and information. Create a personality that is emotive.
Talk to BCH Agency today about how we can help foster your brand’s authenticity, differentiation, transparency and personality to grow your bottom line.
*Source: Morning Consult 2023