Most of the communication planning requests we get are tied to promotion of a particular brand or product, which makes sense – that’s where the sales happen. This approach, however, tends to isolate each brand plan, not allowing the company to take advantage of bigger, more integrated opportunities. For clients whose foodservice business supports a family of brands, we recommend establishing marketing initiatives at both the Division and Brand level.
Division initiatives, or integrated marketing activities, are identified as foodservice business investments which fuel thought leadership and maintain industry presence. This could include tactics such as content marketing, paid search, media relations, email marketing, event sponsorships or speaking engagements. Think of this overarching approach as the umbrella over all individual brand initiatives. The brands will no doubt benefit from this investment – for example, an event sponsorship will showcase branded products, or a company e-newsletter will push product content – but it provides greater industry presence for the business vs. expecting the individual brands to fund big initiatives (that are often times bigger than one brand).
Brand initiatives, or “big bets,” are the marketing programs that will drive demand and sales volume on priority SKUs. Priority must be placed on these initiatives to meet business objectives and drive sales. By investing in the bigger divisional messaging opportunities above, it allows brands to focus solely on achieving the “job to be done,” usually tied to lead generation, case sales and sales volume. Oh, and they get some love from the divisional investment – appearing in content marketing efforts, at industry events, within the division PR program, etc.
By approaching foodservice portfolio marketing in this manner we’re able to identify bigger communication opportunities, prioritize investments to support business returns, and connect the dots between product marketing and integrated marketing efforts. When we think bigger, we bring a unified approach to a company’s marketing initiatives – not only are we focused on selling products, we’re creating category leadership. And that visibility goes a long way in establishing industry partnerships.