by Jamie Allebach

What makes for the “perfect storm” in the food business? How about when the industry is squeezed so tight it becomes more and more difficult to make a profit, and consumers are no longer loyal to your brand?

Transformation is happening in the food industry. Intense margin pressure, erosion of brand equity, declining demand, and manufacturing and transportation costs are rapidly changing the landscape for food companies.

Consumers are transforming and changing, as well—what they buy, where they shop and how they eat. Economic conditions, stagnant or declining income, the cost of living, and food costs have radically changed consumer meal rituals. These factors result in eating out less, purchasing more private label and store brands, doing more with less, and sacrificing some of the convenient and indulgent products that they love.

Is broadcast television back on the rise? Maybe not indefinitely, but at least until the end of February when we all bid farewell to this year’s Winter Olympic Games.

According to an article published by MediaWeek on February 16, 2010, telecasts for this year’s Olympics on NBC have averaged 28.6 million viewers in prime time. To give you a rough idea of what this means, American Idol, one of the highest rated shows on broadcast television will pull approximately 28.8 million viewers during a season finale. Nielson has indicated that this year’s opening was the best since the Lillehammer Games in 1994. We all remember that year now don’t we? I’ll give you a hint…Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

Advertisers for this year’s Olympic Games are not only seeing an increase in viewership, but are also seeing a spike in consumer on-line search queries. According to MediaWeek, Google has indicated that brands featured during the opening ceremonies have had significant search spikes. In today’s advertising world, this is the ideal situation for any brand. Advertisers want their traditional broadcast buy to spark interest, and in return, drive consumers to the website for education. For this reason, quality and creativity are equally as important for both your commercial and your website. You must keep the consumer engaged on all aspects.

By Jamie Allebach

As if things aren’t tough enough in our current economy, the government is tightening the noose around the necks of food and beverage companies and restaurants with yet more scrutiny and REGULATION.

What does this mean to you? Here are a few highlights: If you are making any type of “claims” in your advertising, packaging, or menus be prepared to have the government rear it’s ugly head on your doorstep.

It’s no longer going to be acceptable to have an accurate Nutrition Facts Panel on the backside of food products. Now, you will be penalized if you state or even imply “better for you” claims on your product packaging or advertising. For instance, if you claim NO TRANSFAT, but don’t point out the fact (more than simply stating it on the Nutrition Facts Panel) that there is SATURATED FAT in your product, you will be in violation of new regulations.

Crate & Barrel 11/30/09
Subject Line: Today only. Save 15% and Free Online Shipping.

I have to admit that when I see a subject line as exciting as this one, my heart skips a beat. I’ll immediately pull up my perfectly formatted Excel Christmas list to figure out just who in my family needs a new Wusthof 10-piece knife set this year. Once the purchase has been made and all promo codes have successfully been entered, I say a quick “thank you Crate and Barrel for this extraordinary gift of savings you have delivered to my inbox.”

Retailers are becoming smarter each year as this on-line world is evolving. This 2009 Holiday Season I have received more retail e-mails than ever before. Just to name a few, Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy, The Gap, The Children’s Place, Gymboree, Target, Crate and Barrel, Bath and Body Works, Eddie Bauer, Nordstrom, and Proflowers. A simple call to action like “save now,” has the ability to capture the attention of every consumer with Internet access.

By Kevin Schluth

When it comes to launching a new food product, today more than ever, getting people to try your new product is the first, and most important step, in a new product launch.

Even the most popular products in the world were complete mysteries at one point. While there are many different ways to launch a new product, all new product success starts with trial. There is no ‘word of mouth’ marketing if you can’t get people to try your product in the first place.

In a world of tweeting, blogging, smartphones and all other forms of instant messaging technology, there is something to be said about a good old-fashioned Free Standing Insert…or FSI. A tangible and visually appealing piece of paper that tells consumers: ‘give us a try and we’ll take a couple bucks off.’

By Kelly Gartner

This article recently appeared in Allebach Communications Quarterly Newsletter, Alle Carte. If you're interested in receiving Alle Carte drop us a line. We're happy to include you in our e-mailing.

It’s true. People will always need to eat. But, what they eat is another story. Here are just a few of Allebach Communication’s tips on how to make your brand stand out in 2010 and provide consumers with a reason to buy.

1) Value. Value. Value. Did we mention value? Consumers are going to continue to look for value when purchasing items. If you’re a food brand this means providing the value they are looking for. Quick, low cost meals, such as Hatfield Quality Meats Family Classics meals, a brand Allebach helped develop and created the campaign for, is a good example. Each package contains 4 portions and is sold for $9.99.

By Jamie Allebach

If you’re not personally on Facebook or using it to market your brand—you’re either living in a cave or suffering from some type of technophobia. Facebook now has 350 million users and is a hotbed for marketing (Quick fact: if Facebook were a country, it’s population would rank it as the 4th largest in the world).

For the rest of you, by now you’ve most likely mastered the basics of Facebook and set up Facebook fan pages for your brand or business. It's now time to take your Facebook marketing to the next level. Here are some practical tips:

by Nancy Landis, Account Coordinator

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Perception is a powerful thing. It can drive our thoughts and our actions. For many of us, it is truth. It is what we believe to be true, based on our interpretation of what we experienced.

In an article written by Tom Asacker, he states that in order to influence customer perceptions and behavior, we often work like crazy to persuade people with all of our facts – data, specs, studies, etc., when instead we “should be working to understand and appeal to people’s truth, because perception conditions their sensibilities and subsequent actions.”

By Jamie Allebach

The advertising world of where brands can simply push their message “out” is all but gone. Today, brands must get “out” of traditional thinking and “in” to where consumers are spending time.

The philosophy behind traditional media is that it goes out to persuade people to buy your brand. It’s “Outbound” advertising and it’s intrusive by nature, and it typically interrupts what people are doing. The new mindset of advertising is much more “Inbound” focused. Getting your brand into the space where people are inviting you to engage with them. It’s permission-based and in many instances, you become part of what they are doing.

by Bennett Andelman, Allebach Communications

Since the advent of social media and it being crowned the "flavor of the month" by marketers across the globe, a great debate has consumed our industry: Do digital marketers/agencies now run the show? Have traditional brand agencies "jumped the shark"?

Depending on whom you ask and what you read, the answer seems to change frequently -- with a majority of people still having reservations and making claims that digital marketing is just a tool in the shed - not the shed itself.

What do you think? Does offline or online really matter to an oblivious consumer who's only interested in the brand and message - regardless of how it is being delivered?

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