Hunger games: How to win customers with carrots

When Edouard and André Michelin came up with the idea for a hotel and restaurant guide to France, they had one thing in mind: selling more tyres. This was 1900, and there were fewer than 3,000 drivers in France. In creating the Michelin Guide, they pioneered the concept we now know as content marketing. If they wanted to shift more tyres, thought the brothers, they needed to get drivers onto the roads. And what’s going to get a Frenchman onto the road? The promise of a good meal.

Even over a century ago, without the might of a large marketing agency behind them, the Michelin brothers knew this: customers love food. Fast forward 118 years, throw a vast, tangled spaghetti of digital media into the mix, and the message is the same: feed them and they will come.

Analysis of over 100m Facebook posts in 2017 found that food received more engagements than any other topic. Of the top 25 posts of 2017, 5 of them were food based, including 8 wow-worthy pie hacks (7m shares/likes/reactions), surprising things you can make with two ingredients (6m), a set of recipes that ‘make vegetables fun’ (5m).

These sorts of numbers might feel unattainable for brands that have no natural connection to food, but we’re here to tell you that just about any business can use food in their content marketing. Heck, we’ve even done it for betting shops and property agents!

Cooking and eating can channel just about any element of a brand’s values: innovation, tradition, functionality, health, indulgence, luxury, passion, quality, integrity, teamwork, diversity, sustainability, value, simplicity, fun…

It’s not a huge leap, for example, for Jaguar Land Rover to customise a car with a full kitchen for Jamie Oliver (rotisserie, slow cooker, herb garden, ice cream maker, butter churner in the hubcap) when you consider that the brand is all about breaking new ground and going ‘above and beyond’. And after achieving 2.5m views across various channels, their move appears to have paid off.

Engagement figures like these are hard for any brand to ignore. They’re the reason Gwyneth Paltrow and a raft of celebrities have hopped into cookery books and the same reason cult publisher Vice launched their Munchies food channel. It’s also why Heathrow Airport asked us to establish their food credentials by way of a printed restaurant guide, and why we’re writing recipe blogs for nights in with Coca-Cola.

If you fancy tapping into this hungry audience yourself but think it’s too much of a leap for your brand, get in touch with 2Forks. We love good challenge.

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