The food industry is dominated by brands that can excite customers’ taste buds, from McDonald’s and Burger King to Subway and Taco Bell. However, with the growing number of food businesses with an estimated CAGR growth of 10.76% from 2022 to 2029, serving tantalizing food alone won’t keep you in the game. Besides the growing competition and consumers’ craving for exceptional customer services, you also have to deal with the crisis in the food business. Harnessing the power of public relations to create memorable experiences for your customers, forge strong connections, and deftly navigate any crisis that comes your way can help you do just that. Check out our list of the best PR ideas for the food business with examples of how successful brands have used them to drive quality results. 

1. Build Hype with an Experiential Marketing Strategy

PR Ideas
Photo Credit: Mikael Blomkvist

Experiential marketing, also called engagement marketing, is a strategy that aims to build lasting connections with consumers by forging practical and immersive experiences. This strategy allows you to deliver how consumers would love to experience their favorite meals, snacks, etc. 

Imagine participating in preparing your favorite meal, living in a doughnut-themed city, or getting a personalized chocolate bar. These are all possible PR campaign activities that can help you build hype for a new product or relaunch your restaurant. Taco Bell’s Hotel “The Bell” launch is an example of experiential marketing at its best. The PR campaign combined the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and the brand’s impressive fanbase to create buzz and give customers an exclusive experience. The hotel has a Taco Bell-themed setup, like sauce packet-shaped pillows, and salons with taco-themed manicures and pedicures. The campaign sparked media buzz and quickly built hype for the hotel’s launch. Unsurprisingly, all rooms sold out within 30 minutes of opening for bookings!

2. Engage New Audiences with Influencer Partnership

PR Ideas
Photo Credit: Anna Shvets | Pexels

Have you bought a drink or visited a restaurant because your favorite celebrity mentioned it in a video? If you answered yes, you have experienced the power of influencer marketing first-hand. Although cooking great meals and delivering unique experiences is impressive, it drives little results without a massive distribution medium. Leveraging influencer partnerships can turbocharge your reach, effortlessly breaking down barriers and getting your message out there.

Unlike advertising to an unknown audience, partnering with an influencer gives you an automatic vote of confidence. People are more likely to engage, visit your food business, and trust you when their favorite celebrity endorses or associates with it. For example, in September 2020, McDonald’s partnered with Travis Scott to create a memorable meal as part of a PR campaign. The partnership succeeded, leading to 5% YOY growth in McDonald’s Q3 sales. It also created buzz on social media, thanks to the contribution of the rapper’s artwork, merchandise, and social media content.

3. Build a Connection with Social Activism

Adopting a social activism strategy that aligns with your brand’s core values and audience challenges helps to build a connection. Furthermore, research has shown that 34% of consumers say standing for a cause that affects them boosts a brand’s credibility. It shows the consumers that you identify as part of their community and are committed to improving it. Social activism events like fundraisers, tours, and many more can also serve as a channel to build awareness for new products or your brand. 

You can also adopt collaboration to reach a wider audience like Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream brand. The brand partnered with Tesla Motors, a clean energy vehicle producer, to launch a climate change tour called “Save Our Swirled.” The partnership had many activities, including ice cream delivery made with Tesla-branded vehicles to customers in California. This method is successful as it allows you to humanize your brand, deliver on your promises, and show that you are reliable. 

4. Combine Technology with Food to Deliver a Unique Experience

PR Ideas
Photo Credit: Kindel Media

The technology industry has grown exponentially lately, with AR/VR and AI taking center stage. This growth also opens unique opportunities for the food industry to create memorable experiences. AR dishes, virtual culinary journeys, virtual menus, and dining have been part of a campaign aimed at giving consumers more than a tasty meal. The Le Petit Chef 3D Animated Culinary Journey is an excellent example of how technology and food can combine as a PR strategy. 

Furthermore, the culinary journey hosted in Thailand by Park Hyatt featured a tiny virtual chef that traveled the world at a table in front of guests. The dining experience showed the chef muttering to himself as he traveled from France to China and back, creating a menu from the dishes he found along the way. This method gives the consumers an entertaining experience allowing them to explore new locations, menus, and cultures while enjoying their meals.

Hire a Professional PR Agency to Create Effective Campaigns

In today’s fast-paced environment, creating an effective PR campaign depends on the connection it builds with your audience. One of the best ways to strengthen this connection is by creating a food experience that triggers an emotional reaction. However, if your campaign doesn’t capture your target customer’s attention and fails to show you care or offer them something to talk about, you will most likely get poor results. Strategies that adopt experiential marketing, technology, and social activism will help you build this connection, and you can customize the approach to your brand’s unique needs. Book your personalized consultation today, and let us help you make your mark in the food industry!