Grow Your Kitchen Series: 5 Tips To Creating Your Brand Story
Photo Credit: Unspun
The food business market is naturally competitive. A post-covid boom of new openings has made for a crowded marketplace from sit-down fine dining to bespoke catering services. Humans are emotional creatures who spend based on feelings. Developing your brand story is a way to create connections by eliciting engagement with your customer base.
In addition, not everything will fit on your menu or label (although you can certainly link a QR code to a page on your website!). Your brand story is where consumers go to decide if they can trust you and whether you share the same intentions.
The power now squarely lies with the customer and their journey on a path to purchase. The average consumer is more speculative than ever about where they will spend their dollar. Buying is socially driven and trust-based, with an emphasis on value. Likewise, part of conveying the latter is by drawing people into your food business story. Value and transparency will convert to loyal customers invested in your growth and success.
Your brand story is not your mission statement; it is a place to describe your unique brand journey and value system. Here, customers will determine whether you have shared values and brand loyalty will be made. In addition, it is a place where your story may resonate with the potential customer drawing them into your journey.
Your brand story also serves as an internal north start for your team. It provides an anchor to why you exist, giving purpose and motivation to drive your team forward.
In this article, we’ll describe how to build your purpose statement and how using this statement will inform your brand storytelling. We will also walk you through four ways to tell your brand story effectively.
Defining Your Purpose
Defining The Purpose of Your Food Business
Defining your brand’s purpose is an essential starting point for creating your brand story. While everyone’s story will be different, and the way you tell your story can take on different forms, your unique brand story should be anchored in your company’s purpose. Check out Grow Your Kitchen Series: Defining Your Purpose for more on how to build a concise purpose statement that will be the anchor to your brand story. Check out our article on defining your brand’s purpose here.
Connecting To Your Audience With Authenticity
Successful marketing of your brand story should avoid pandering and stay authentic. Real and raw stories that don’t flinch away from talking about your hard path to create your dream will resonate with your audience. In addition, your purpose should inspire your audience to become part of a community and culture that you are making through your company’s mission.
Failure can be a deeply effective part of brand storytelling. It shows that you swing big and are willing to take risks in something you believe in. Failure shows integrity because you stood by your product even when things left. The losses also show that you’ve taken learning opportunities to optimize your business and will take chances in the future to evolve with new knowledge.
Creating Brand Advocates
A compelling and inspiring brand story will create people who want to retell your story to others. This kind of organic marketing touchpoint is priceless. Likewise, an ecosystem of social, loyal followers is worth its weight in marketing gold.
Customers with no stake in your company who are invested in your journey enough to testify to its authenticity by word of mouth or social media can drive high-quality referrals and the social phenomena where a “crowd attracts a crowd.” Peer testimonials are one of the most substantial ways customers create value in your business.
How To Tell Your Brand Story For Your Food Business
The hallmarks of a compelling brand story are humility, authenticity, and inspirational reader resonance. In addition, your brand story should relate to the journey that took you from idea to launch. Below we dissect The Hero’s Journey, one of the best ways that you can articulate your brand story while working your purpose and values into the narrative.
The Hero’s Journey
The Hero’s Journey is an age-old format for creating a dynamic story. It is one way to craft your brand story. Our hero sets off on a journey replete with pitfalls and challenges and, through a series of accomplishments, ends up in (food business) glory, celebrated by consumers everywhere.
However, in the case of a food brand story, the hero is usually your customer who has been transformed for the better after meeting your product. As the brand, you are the trusty sidekick guiding the hero to transformation.
1. Create your character.
Determine who your audience is and paint a picture that will resonate with that audience. Some people find it helpful to define their hobbies, habits, likes and dislikes to form a better picture of who you are telling your brand story to.
2. Identify the problem.
What is the hero struggling with? What roadblock is prohibiting them from transformation? In the food world, this could be anything from a lack of healthy food for children or the absence of authentic cuisine in your neighborhood.
3. Describe a solution.
Explain how you came along as the hero’s sidekick to solve this problem. Describe your food brand’s solution product or service.
4. Celebrate the success.
Describe how your solution has led to a successful result. Relate a customer’s review or anecdote—site awards and achievements.
5. Summarize the transformation.
Recap the journey and the pain points that have been solved. You can do this in one to two concise sentences in the same way the last chapter of a book reminds you of where you have been and where you are going.
6. Take your client into the future.
Express gratitude to your reader for coming on your journey and invite them to see what awaits. Describe your future goals and identify pain points that you are in the process of relieving. An evolving company is an exciting one to follow. Above all, take your client towards your future vision within your brand story.
Never underestimate the power of a good brand story. Stories of all kinds grab our attention and can transport us into the founder’s world. We form connections between the stories and ourselves as we identify common values, struggles, and successes. Finally, your unique brand story creates a powerful opportunity to build deeper relations with your audience and invite them to be part of your mission and growth.
Grow Your Kitchen Series: Using Instagram to Build Your Food Business
How To Use Instagram To Boost Your Food Business
In this edition of the Growing Your Food Business Series, we’ll look at how to grow your food business with Instagram.
Instagram is a powerful platform for food businesses because cuisine is a visual language. Therefore, prospective customers want more than a written description (although those are important to create a complete picture of everything you can’t see on a plate!). Your goal should be to match your qualifications with their expectations through what you represent through your content.
The Brooklyn Breakfast Shop, Thicket South Austin Food Truck Park
Why Concentrate on Instagram For Your Food Business
Let’s explore why Instagram is a platform worth concentrating your food business marketing efforts on.
Instagram has over a billion users, which allows you to connect beyond your local audience to include potential collaborators and media. In addition, potential new customer engagement is over 84 times more likely on Instagram than on platforms like Twitter for restaurants because the former offers a visual medium.
In addition, 80% of Instagram users follow a business making it a great way to engage your customer base in real-time.
Millennials and Instagram are driving food business conversion.
We live in a full-speed society where making a last-minute dinner choice often means a quick scroll through Instagram. Statistics show that Millenials, who represent 1.4 trillion dollars in disposable income, are 99% more likely to choose a restaurant off of social media than online reviews compared to Baby Boomers and Gen X consumers.
Your Instagram page will quickly allow consumers to conclude about:
Whether you are offering the experience, they are looking for.
If your cuisine meets their expectations.
You will give them the best value.
What kind of quality do you offer.
Subtle ingredients in your Instagram profile will elevate your presence over the competition and create value for your brand. Psychology plays a significant role in a consumer’s subconscious decision to take on your unique value proposition. Below we break down how little details represent big clues to the customer experience you offer.
Tips For Building A Food Business Instagram
These are the top five ways to build an Instagram for your food business.
Invest In Food Photography
Set Your Instagram Bio Up For Success
Make Your Text Concise, Maximize Its Impact
Timing Is Everything On Instagram
Use the Highlights Section Effectively
Let’s dive into each way your can maximize your food business real estate on Instagram below.
1. Invest In Food Photography
Learn How To Optimize Instagram For Your Food Business
Visual data is processed 60,000 times more rapidly than text by the human brain. The human finger also scrolls at lightning speed when hungry! So investing early in photographing your whole menu and future new menus will give you a bank of images to schedule.
The quality of your food business photography matters. There is nothing wrong with using a high smartphone to create a bank of images, but make sure they represent the quality and value of your brand.
Take the time to set up your dishes on proper plates, even if you are a takeaway- no dish is giving its “best side” in a box.
Use good lighting. Natural light will let your cuisine shine, while dull inside light won’t do its flavors justice.
Work in groups of three. Setting complimentary dishes together will give you the most bang for your Instagram post buck. If someone only looks at one picture on your account to make a decision, let them see the best of the best.
Use a bold, simple backdrop. Let your hero shine. Eliminate busy countertops and too many props.
Incorporate some movement! Instagram is currently favoring reels in 2022. Even a short clip of you tossing on the spices or accenting the dish with herbs will impact the algorithm and your customer.
2. Set Your Instagram Bio Up For Success
Consumers are geared toward convenience. Give them what they need, so they don’t leave your page to google the answer. Providing details in your bio may sound basic, but don’t forget the basics:
How To Order; include your phone number or link to delivery.
Address; includea hyperlink to a map.
What you serve; mention the type of cuisine and a few bold adjectives to set you apart. In addition, this is the place to indicate if you cater to specific dietary restrictions.
Your mission; what experience are you serving up?
Hashtags; use both consistent high ranking keywords and also bespoke hashtags with your restaurants name it them.
3. Make Your Text Concise, Maximize Its Impact
While the visual will be your main start, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of the text accompanying them. The words that accompany a post will hold your customer’s attention for a split second; make them count!
Use good grammar and spelling. The quality of your text will speak to the quality of your brand.
Keep it concise. One to three sentences should be a max length. Each one should serve as a point to inform, entertain, or be a call to action.
Call to action. Every single post should have a call to action. Examples are; “follow us,” “comment below if you agree,” “share this post to enter our content,” and “Come visit us Friday night for our promotion.
Use a company hashtag. Using a bespoke and catchy hashtag is a creative way to create organic engagement and track your customer’s references to you.
4. Timing Is Everything On Instagram
Food business owners often wear many hats. A startup business owner knows better than any that one of them will have to be social media at the beginning. This can result in doing the social media chores at midnight, but the algorithm gods will tell you that posting while your customer sleeps isn’t helpful.
Post when your customer is hungry. The best time to post is when people are hungry and looking at their phones. These times are usually between 9 AM and 12 PM and 1 PM and 8 PM.
Check your accounts algorithm to confirm that you had the most engagement at these times.
Use a content calendar to automate your posts.
Before launching a promotion, bank posts that will tease the lead-up, go hard while it’s running, and remind people before it ends.
5. Use the Highlights Section Effectively
Those little bubbles below your Instagram Bio can serve a great purpose if they are maximized.
Menu. Every food business page that offers any kind of experience should use a highlight reel bubble for its written menu.
How To Order. Are you a sit restaurant? Do you offer delivery? Do customers need to order ahead? This is the spot to place a few infographics.
Food Photography. Save your customer from having to scroll your entire Instagram if they are in a hurry. Offer them the best of your food photography here to convert their hunger to your sale.
Reviews. Repost your customer’s kind reviews here. If they’ve mentioned you in a post or story, save it and repost in this highlight reel.
Instagram is a golden platform for your food businesses to generate leads, create authority in your culinary niche, create brand awareness and drive sales. Invest early into this visual experience and you can count on organic growth.
Grow Your Kitchen Series: Jumpstart Your Food Business
During this series on Save A Plate Inc, we will look inside the JumpStart Your Food Business course, which is a comprehensive approach to start, grow, and scale your food business.
The JumpStart Your Food Business course provides a curriculum you can tackle at home on your own timeline, which will demystify the process to launch your journey as a food entrepreneur.
Why Build Your Dream With JumpStart Your Food Business
SAPi believes that every food entrepreneur deserves a seat at the table, and a lack of resources or time should not stop a dream from becoming a reality.
The food and beverage business can feel financially intimidating, and resources to develop a sound business model can be costly. In addition, lack of resources and confidence to take the leap can exclude some of our most valuable contributors to the food ecosystem. Now first time business owners, young entrepreneurs, and those switching professions will all have a seat at the table.
This course is written by SAPi’s founder and food visionary, Dr. Brandon Gantt. It provides all the pieces you need to create a food business plan coupled with your unique vision and value proposition with a sound strategy to make it a sustainable reality.
Likewise, his experience with previous endeavors that required copious amounts of research and bootstrapping business plans together, Gantt decided that the way to grow our food community was to make resources to start your own food business accessible to everybody. This course to grow your kitchen is for the people that know a food hustle is often grown late at night while working multiple jobs to make a real dream happen.
How Does It Work
The JumpStart Your Food Business curriculum is built for people who:
Want to find all the guidance in one place.
Need a flexible learning plan.
Want real-world examples of concept success.
Are ready to make their food hustle into a thriving business model.
The curriculum is broken into 20 self-guided units that can be done at your own pace. The JumpStart Your Food Business course will take you from idea to opening day without leaving any stone unturned. In doing so, you’ll go into your new endeavor confident that your business has a solid foundation. In addition, your brand will have a solid identity and voice.
The JumpStart Your Food Business course includes modules to:
Take your idea into action.
Learn strategies for market research from consumer to competitor.
Develop your unique selling proposition.
Develop your product.
Create a legal framework and financial foundation.
Build your brand.
Create a marketing strategy.
SAPi connects people in a diverse locally minded ecosystem that encourages and supports food providers in building and growing their visions. Your success is our success. So let’s meet at the table and make your food business dreams into reality.
Finding Your Why Is One Of The Most Important Steps Of Your Food Business Journey
In this installment of SAPi’s Grow Your Kitchen Series, we’ll be digging deep to answer one of the most critical questions a new food entrepreneur should ask themselves: why? Why do you wake up every day to hustle for your dream? Why should you keep going? Why should your customers invest in your brand?
Renown author and speaker Simon Sinek, renowned author and public speaker said:
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do.”
There is a place where your “why” and consumer demand will cross over, and this is the sweet spot to success.
Finding Your Why Is The First Step To Creating Your Dream
A “why statement” is your purpose, who you are, what your stand for, and how you want to contribute to the better good. If your “why statement” is powerful enough, it will inspire and move people to share your message.
Finding Your Why To Communicate To Consumers
You may not realize it, but as consumers, we are buying someone else’s “why” every day. Does their “why” align with our values, hopes, and goals? Your why should translate to your product, mission, and vision. An authentic “why” will resonate with your customer base and create loyal customers who trust in your brand.
Finding Your Why To Keep Growing Your Kitchen
Before you even consider your future customer, you need to answer the “why” for yourself. At the end of the longest days, when you feel like giving up, you’ll need this anchor statement to remind you who you are and where you are going. A strong why statement is imperative to your personal and business success and longevity.
Here are five solid reasons you should invest time and thought into crafting a strong “why statement”.
1. It will define your purpose.
Understanding your own true purpose in life should be a priority whether it is part of a business dream or otherwise. Humans fundamentally do better with a personal sense of purpose, a true north that will always be there to guide them. Purpose offers stability and direction.
2. A “why statement” will help you to maintain focus.
When you define your “why” with good clarity, this becomes a place to go back to when chaos sets in. Your “why” will remind you of your bigger goals when small setbacks happen.
3. It will help guide you in making hard decisions.
A well-crafted “why statement” will help you from making rash decisions or “quick fixes” in the heat of the moment. It is also a place to revisit when you feel yourself compromising your core values.
4. It will act as an accountability partner.
To grow your kitchen, you’ll need a strategic timeline to consult when you find yourself off track. When you find yourself drifting off course, your “why statement” will remind you that you have work to do and goals to meet.
5. It will keep you resilient.
Perhaps most importantly, a business owner must possess otherworldly resilience. Thomas Edison once said:
“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”
So much of succeeding is failing first. A “why statement” will remind you of your original mission and the big dreams that require determination and resilience to keep moving.