How to work with F&B Clients?
To work with a business in Food and Beverage is to work with another agency. Restaurants, Bars, Breweries or Cafes are in their own right purveyors of specialized services who create products to cater to the unique ‘taste’ of a customer. You can help establish market and marketing leadership for your set of F&B clients if you play your cards right.
Before and during the engagement with the client it is useful to do an introspective exercise which involves asking oneself certain questions about their business:
What is the quality of their product?
Is this place genuinely somewhere you could imagine enjoying yourself? The first dogma of brand-building, ‘You must believe in the product’ stands truer than ever for F&B clients. Taste the food if you must, as long as you are able to convince yourself of their conviction to palate-pleasing.
Does your mental wavelength match theirs?
More often than not, good F&B places are run/set-up by folks who are passionate and hardworking culinary, not marketers. This makes it imperative that they understand your strategy for their homegrown brand in their own parlance. What’s more important than drawing out the perfect ATLs and BTLs for such clients is the need to draw out the vision they have for the brand and then deciding if it makes sense to you in the long run. One need to decide if ‘I want to become the locality’s biggest restaurant’ is more exciting than ‘I want to capture and retain Brewed Beer skeptics’ — often, that making the decision is you.
Where are they in their product lifecycle?
Not every brand is evergreen and that is the bitter truth of the market, the universe, life and just about everything else, which isn’t a lot of other things. If possible, learn about the growth story of the brand, where it comes from and where do you think it stands currently in its lifecycle. This is going to help you decipher the creative potential you can pump into the brand.
Location. Location. Location.
If you stick with your market long enough, you’ll find your ever-elusive marketing intuition taking on a life of its own and you’ll have yourself thinking two steps ahead of the restauranteur you’re working with. This new-found intuitive power will allow you to accurately judge the potential of a new location or genuinely ascribe location to tracing footfalls.
Your content can often transform an auxiliary form of marketing to good PR. Your own credibility as an agency can ride on the organic traction an F&B client receives, as long as your content helps boost it too. Think of good PR as a sort of level-up you can take if you know how to jump towards it.