Coverage of the new President has dominated news cycles. In January he set a single month record measured by mediaQuant receiving $817 million in coverage. It has felt a bit all consuming. It also means that journalists and consumers may have little time for your message.
In September 2001, the news was understandably consumed by the attacks on 9/11. As a young PR pro, I was pitching chefs to morning shows for cooking demos to celebrate Mushroom Month. While we considered pulling the plug, what I found was that there was a need to start including comforting and non-controversial topics like food. In today’s environment, even food cannot escape the political discourse. Immigration and trade are crucial issues for food producers, manufacturers and restaurants. Crafting the right angle will help you cut through the noise and get noticed.
People Seeking Comfort: Searching Google Trends there are noticeable spikes in recent months for comfort food searches. While it is that time of year, it doesn’t account for the full jump. Whether people want to be comforted or celebrate, food is a welcome distraction or addition.
Interest in Immigrants: Immigrants and food are intertwined in America’s history. I have seen an uptick in writing and sharing of immigrant stories, from bodega owners, chefs, farmers and even manufacturers. It adds an interesting angle to food writers that allow them to tap into the immigrant zeitgeist.
Be Bold: Dannon offered a Pledge on GMOs, Perdue ended routine use of all antibiotics, and KIND is seeding an organization to improve public health. Boldness and disruption are media and consumer magnets. Make a stand and make some news.
Be Engaging: Many people feel a sense of helplessness where their voice isn’t heard. Give people a voice with your brand. Crowd sourcing is a great way to do this. Be more active on social by not just posting, but seeking out relevant posts, commenting, and engaging. Let consumers know you are listening, and hear them.
It isn’t an easy environment, but understanding what is happening and tailoring your approach to fit narratives rather than fighting them will be more attractive to journalists and connect more strongly with consumers.