Should retailers promote brand backstories?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine.
For the Millennial, the local mom-and-pop or farmers market experience offers a connection, while large food manufacturers and retailers seem detached, cold and calculating.
For manufacturers of even the biggest brands, sharing the story behind the products offers the transparency, intimacy and respect today’s consumers crave. Although a lot of the heavy lifting here is the responsibility of manufacturers, retailers need to roll up their sleeves and do their part as well:
- Signage goes a long way: Attaching even a small sign on a freezer door or cooler case — like Whole Foods does to highlight local items — can really pique a consumer’s interest. These signs can include everything from fun facts provided by the manufacturer to “Did You Know?” trivia (e.g., “Did you know? Mrs. Smith started by selling her homemade fruit filled pies at her local YMCA. After her passing, her grandson, Robert, used her recipes to bring his grandma’s delicious pies into every home in America!”).
- Staging products with a local theme: Whether in-store or in a circular, retailers could group family-owned and locally produced products together. Today’s shoppers are also interested in the ethical origins and social impact of their food, and they want to support companies whose values align with their own.
- Interactive demos: In addition to using signage and displays, information about charitable initiatives, sustainable sourcing or fair trade guidelines can be communicated in live interactive demonstrations. As your demo cook prepares a meal, he or she can casually chat about the origins of a product and include some attractive “brag points.”
- Digital speak: Incorporating QR codes into product packaging and at point of purchase could send smartphone users to social media channels specifically devoted to documenting the lives and faces of the men and women behind the products.
Sharing stories can humanize names such as Marie Callender and Mrs. Smith. Yes, both are real women who took their passion for baking to new heights. You are also offering respect by sharing that history with shoppers who want to know everything about the food they eat.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are consumers as open to hearing the backstories of established food brands as they are to upstarts? Should food retailers play a larger role in sharing the history and evolution of brands? Are any already doing it well?