Foodservice brands who continue to show up during times of supply chain constraint and economic fluctuation stay top of mind for operators, so when things do restabilize, operators naturally turn to those who were there.
While the tendency can be to halt marketing efforts to move all hands on deck to support supply chain solutions, things WILL restabilize and – when they do – your brands don’t want to play catchup to those who are silently sharpening their knives. That said, we’re acutely aware of the risks in potentially empty promises and the punitive backlash that can result if our foodservice brands are unable to meet expectations. Thus, achieving the right balance is key.
When we say foodservice brands who were there, what do we mean?
They were attuned and helpful to the operator. They were a pillar of strength and stability, showing an empathetic understanding of operator strife so that the operator felt understood, felt like they had a true partner. Buying is largely an emotional decision-making process, so when marketing in volatile times, foodservice brands need to play a different role.
- Avoid promoting products that may not be physically available; instead, build on brand awareness and affinity, softening the ground for operator stickiness or – in the case of those who aren’t yet customers – an inkling to convert once things are stabilized. Give them a clear and memorable reason your brands can intersect with their needs.
- Rather than pushing product to empty your warehouses faster, consider transparent communications around product innovations and plans in the works that specifically address more pertinent operator concerns. Building a sense of urgency might help maximize inventory now, but it can also instill a feeling of panic and hurriedness in the operator, which will be a negative experience not soon forgotten.
- Spend time now collecting meaningful operator insights and laying new groundwork for your brand identity, core messaging, marketing plans, and campaign approaches – BEFORE the market sees massive influx in response to supply chain re-stabilization.
- Reconsider your brands’ roles in operators’ lives. Now more than ever, a values-based approach to your partnership will solidify the meaning of your brand for the long-term. Create a brand content strategy that answers to new needs, knowing that the industry disruption we’re facing now will create long-term change in the way operators partner with their service providers.
- Make sure your owned communication channels are shipshape and keep engaging with customers. Keep relevant updates on the regular, checking all communications to ensure calls-to-action can be met and that voice and tone are appropriate given the critical impact supply chain constraints have on operators.
- Better utilize outbound and inbound marketing strategies, communicating effectively where operators currently are, as they explore ways to work around supply chain issues, seek new service providers, and manage operational updates necessary to keep their business running.