by Sophia Martin
Food Matters Live is an event held every year in the ExCel Centre; it is an event that brings together the food and drink industry, retailers, food service providers, government and those working in nutrition, enabling people from cross-sectors to collaborate and gain an insight in to other areas of the industry.
Here at Hansell we have a lot of clients in the food and drinks industry and therefore our team attended the event across two days, in the hope of developing our knowledge of the industry, getting an insight in to new businesses and up and coming products and learn a thing or two from the interesting seminars given. Continue reading to see what we learned:
Harnessing the power of social media: responding to consumers and exploring ‘moment marketing’.
So what is Dark Social? It’s basically what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ of social media. Every time you copy and paste a link and share it with a second party, be it Whatsapp or email or just an online forum – it’s every time a URL is copied and shared with a second party user. This data can be tracked using a unique URL code that can collect the data based on who is sharing, receiving and engaging with their content and can be used by marketers in order to tailor their advertising strategies towards that specific person.
Globally, sharing activity through dark social is three times larger than the sharing activity on Facebook, dark social accounting for 69% of all sharing, compared to 23% through Facebook. It also represents the majority of sharing in 19 content categories, such as travel, personal finance, technology and automotive, which gives you an idea of just how powerful this tool is.
In fact stats show that the Universal Music Group improved the performance of their programmatic media campaigns by 300%. There are other instances of companies such as Sky using this data to recognize the activity of their consumers and to better understand how they are engaging with their content, all of which shows that a massive amount of sharing goes on ‘behind the scene’ in the dark social.
It appears that this really is a hugely powerful marketing tool and when used correctly can really help marketers to understand and engage effectively with their consumers. But the question is, is this ethical? Is it ok that not even our private messages are really ‘private’ anymore? It seems to be the world we are living in now where this ‘big brother is always watching’ culture has really taken hold.
At the end of the seminar lots of the questions followed regarding the invasion of privacy that dark social seems to provide. We were reassured by the speaker that all the customer data collected is protected and can’t be passed on to third parties, and that it cannot pick up any information about who you are or where you live ect, however it’s still is a scary thought for a lot of people!
As the Dark Social marketing tool grows and becomes wider used and better understood restrictions will be reinforced, with there being talk of stricter guidelines being brought in from 2017. What ever you thoughts are on the Dark Social, there’s no denying that the impact it could have on marketing is a game changer.
Future Proofing: Packaging for Millennials
This seminar was based around Millennials and how their strong influence is shaping package design in the food and drink industry. Millennials are a key demographic category aged between 18 and 33 and by 2020 will be the largest demographic group. Due to this statistic is really important that branding agencies have the knowledge to accurately focus their branding and package design towards this demographic when required.
As a generation that have been brought up in the digital age they have a significant impact on the food and drink industry, and have the ability to change the way brands engage and communicate with consumers. During this seminar there were two key speakers from The Bigger Picture and Future Focus. They both talked us through the basic factors to consider when tailoring food packaging towards Millennials and which areas to focus on to engage such a large audience.
Millennials are quite contradictory; on one hand they have developed this ‘yolo’ culture; they like to be free, adventurous and impulsive. But on the other had they are forward thinking, conscious of growing up and the next stage of their lives. They understand how the digital world works and are very tech savvy; yet also crave simplicity and face-to-face interaction. There is a balance that needs to be had in order to appeal to all of these different factors.
I fall into this category myself it was interesting to hear about the different factors that are considered when targeting someone like me, it really highlighted how diverse and open minded we are as a generation.
One of the most insightful parts of the seminar was a video, which presented three people from the Millennial demographic, each person was asked to present a piece of packaging that they particularity liked and explain why it appealed to them. The first person presented a bottle of Malibu. The bottle was nicely concealed within a cardboard wrap around that had a draw string at the top which enabled the consumer to carry the bottle like a bag, the bottle also came with a coconut shaped cup that could be reused, it also came with a step-by-step recipe guide featuring illustrations on the side of the packaging. The second person presented Azeras ‘Coffee on the go’, it’s packaged nicely and comes with a disposable take away cup and lid, as well as sachets of the instant coffee. The third person presented a packet of Mini Cheddars, this packaging is simple and memorable. The bright orange pack has been part of their branding for years making it recognisable, especially for the Millennial generation who have grown up with brands such as these in their school packed lunches.
It was a very effective way of demonstrating how diverse this demographic is and how lots of different factors have to be considered when tailoring packaging towards them.
The first person liked the Malibu’s packaging because it was beautifully packaged
and had function. The second person liked the Azeras ‘Coffee on the go’ packaging because it sold an experience as well as a product and the third person liked the Mini Cheddar’s packaging because it brought feelings of nostalgia and reminded him of his childhood.
Surveys concluded that packaging that is environmentally friendly is an important factor to 50% of Millennials, however 23% did not think that this was an important factor. Having beautifully branded packaging was important to 33% of Millennials, however a higher percentage of 41% did not consider this an important factor, and minimally designed packaging was an important factor to 47% of Millennials, yet 28% did not think this was an important aspect of packaging!
I think we can conclude that Millennials are a generation that are expecting more and more from the brands and packaging that they purchase – in an ever changing and evolving world it is important that brands have the tools to understand the Millennial audience in order to adapt and keep up with their demands.
The key factors I have taken away from this seminar:
- Communicate your brand values through your packaging
- Remain authentic and focus on how you can provide an experience
- Ensure that your brand values align with the experience that you offer
- Don’t forget the basics – functionality/storage and transport
- Work with your consumers to create great design that appeals to them - be it minimal and simplistic or beautiful and aesthetic.
The Feed Sensorium
The Feed Sensorium was a scientific interactive exhibition that took the visitor through a series of experiments and demonstrations. As you are guided through the attraction the visitor is lead to question the way that food products and experiences are currently designed, how our brain perceives food and brands, and how we can guide our choices and perceptions towards the healthier option.
The various experiments included a study by Janice Wang, which tested the correlation between sound and taste and how listening to pleasant and unpleasant music can cause the same liquid solution to taste different. An experiment based around eating utensils, and demonstrates that cutlery plays a vital role in flavour perception, and an experiment in which we were invited to manipulate one page of a traditional cookbook by drawing or writing our own thoughts and ideas about the ingredients and recipes over the top of the original work. This gave the participant the opportunity to freely imagine an alternative reality; the pages will be put together and published to form an alternative cookbook full of the manipulated pages.
One of the most interesting experiments was called Type Tasting led by designer Sarah Hyndman, which explored the taste of fonts and how a typeface is perceived by the observer.
The Type Tasting Lab is made up of a collection of interactive experiments, such as the ‘Font Census’ which presents the participant with a typeface and ask a series of questions about how the font makes the observe feel, and what personality traits they think the font has.
‘A Font Selfies’ experiment, which generates what font you would be based of a series of, questions in which you select the font you think represents your personality – at the end of the experiment you are given the font that best suits you and what this says about your character, and ‘Setting the Mood’ experiment which shows the participant 4 or 5 typefaces and asks the participant to rate them from the calmest, most energising, most positive and most negative.
As a designer we understand that a typeface is an important part of branding and has the ability to reflect certain characteristics, whether it’s a serif font such as Garamond that represents knowledge and responsibility or a sans serif such as Times Roman that portrays a more welcoming and practical approach. It’s interesting to see the extensive role that a typeface plays in branding and to better understand the effect a typeface has on the consumer.