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Food & Wine Taking it Real
By: Janet Kalandranis
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It’s Friday, aka the perfect day to talk Food & Wine. With a little branding mixed in, of course. Food & Wine is very visual, so any tactic that allows the brand to showcase the taste, the presentation, and the assortment of treats is a benefit to the brand. The product can sell itself, but it must be shown in order to gain new followers. Social media is a very obvious answer in this case — the place to showcase multiple images and bring followers along with the brand. And at this time of year, when Food & Wine hosts its ultimate edible party in Aspen, it decided to turn to Tumblr. The ability to get images in front of followers was the main goal, but the brand decided to turn the initiative on its head a bit. It wanted to gain new followers with those beautiful food shots so it went mainstream. And the result is destined to be a success.

When you have plates of gorgeous food and glasses of incredible drinks, the subject matter is quite intriguing. But in order for Food & Wine to move past who follows them today, the brand stepped outside of its usual strategy. Instead of using images shot by their own resources or audiences, Food & Wine wanted new eyes. So this time around what anyone sees on the brand’s Tumblr page will be images taken by three photographers NOT known for their food photography but instead known for their following. The idea here is that the brand is using these influential photographers to reach new eyes and gain new followers for Food & Wine. So these photographers do what they do best, shoot images, and post to their personal Tumblr pages as well as Food & Wine’s. That’s an engagement plan at its best.

What can a brand learn from Food & Wine? Once brands have determined a way to share and create really great visual content the task becomes reaching new followers. There are many ways to do this, which include the promotion of content, partnering with other brands to gain access to each other’s followers, and, of course, using those who already have a loyal following. A blogger, photographer, brand, etc. that already has a strong connection with a large group of followers is going to be a great option for many brands. There’s already trust between readers and the talent, so why not invite them to showcase a new brand. Although this sounds simple and seems like an instant win there are certain rules that brands must follow to make sure they see success.

There’s a reason consumers follow certain sites, brands, and bloggers. Much of this has to do with relevant and authentic content. So at any point in time if these lifestyle bloggers seem to be promoting Food & Wine in a pushy style, followers will turn the other way. Food & Wine wants its photographers to share on their personal pages first and then on the corporate page second. Why? Because that’s what they would normally do and it lets their followers ease into being a part of the Food & Wine group. It’s a little push, not a big jump, and that’s what engagement is all about. Providing the steps to follow along, but never forcing the idea so it tastes bad. Food should taste good and look good, and that’s what Food & Wine is planning to convey.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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