Isn’t it every marketer’s dream to be promoting food? I mean, there’s your content right there. But it’s not always that easy. For one, the market is crowded. And they’re all doing the same thing, using photos of their reasonably photogenic food offering.

So what can you do to stand out from the crowd to build an audience, and keep them coming back for more, time and time again?

I’ve compiled some of my favourite food brands that are doing out-of-the-box content marketing. Because sometimes #foodporn ain’t going to cut it.

Kiss The Berry’s incredible events

Brisbane’s cult acai berry brand has teamed up with related service providers to provide a series of fitness and other events for its customers. Events like ‘Hook, Jab, Cross, Berry Box!’ promise to provide functional strength and cardio exercises with boxing skills and drills, with the ticket price for the class being 100% redeemable for an acai berry bowl of your choice, post workout.

Kiss the Berry knows that its customers are health-conscious and physically active (no research required as most of their customers show up in their yoga tights), so providing access to events that fit their interests makes sense in a number of ways.

For one, events are an opportunity to collect valuable data (ie. email addresses). On top of that, they can be a great opportunity in the customer journey for the loyalty loop to create a moment of inspiration*. What I’m talking about here is when a loyal customer brings a potential customer along to an event, strengthening their relationship with the brand and introducing a friend to the brand at the same time. It’s another relevant touch point that helps to make the relationship between the brand and customer a bit stronger.

And while the ‘Make your own fruit earrings’ aren’t right up my alley, there will be a day when I’m motivated enough to get along to one of their yoga classes with a mate – if not just for an excuse to indulge in an acai berry bowl straight afterwards.

*For more information on the customer journey and specifically the loyalty loop/moment of inspiration part of the journey, check out this article here.

Key takeaway: Just because you’re a food company doesn’t mean you can’t engage customers outside your food offering. Events and partnering with relevant service providers are an awesome way to add value for your audience.

Nodo’s seasonal donuts

Girl holding up donut

Nodo Donuts have nailed their fine-looking food offering, and then gone a step further. Their delicious donuts that are made with no dough have been a hit with Brisbane’s healthy foodies, offering up flavours like raspberry white chocolate, vegan orange and dark chocolate, and my personal favourite: strawberry, chocolate and hazelnut *drools*.

But what they do best is bring out unique flavours in line with timely events to stay relevant and keep their customers coming back for more. What better way to inspire a visit then to make them available for a limited time only. And that’s exactly what they do.

Take their hot cross bun donuts for Easter, or the gingerbread donuts for Christmas, or their peanut butter pretzel donuts for Father’s Day – they’ve thought of everything. As if it wasn’t enough that they nail the experience every time and quality control is clearly top notch, they’ve kept customers curious and encouraged them to come back for more. The marketing around the unique flavours creates content, and the result is increased visitation and sales.

Key takeaway: Changing up your product offering helps to increase curiosity and keep customers coming back for more.

Youfoodz brand experience

From the outset, Youfoodz could seem like any other prepackaged food company. And other than its product promise of ‘fresh not frozen’, it may just be. How then has it become one of the fastest growing companies in its industry, and a major industry disruptor? It is all in the brand, baby.

From the first interaction you have with this brand right through to the packaging on the meals, everything is on point. It’s the visual brand, it’s the tone of voice (which you should read about here), and their absolute dedication to the customer experience – all of these touchpoints that turn customers into serious fans.

And the result of having people who are seriously in love with your brand is that they start selling your product for you. It inspires organic reach through word of mouth and user generated content, and it’s absolute gold for marketers. A win from many angles.

Key takeaway: Make sure your brand is consistently beautiful and inspiring, and back it up with a killer customer experience.

Steak School by Stanbroke

Tomahawk steak

Instead of jamming their brand message down the throats of potential customers (which they knew would be ignored), Queensland beef producer Stanbroke opted for a more subtle, more targeted approach. Their beef education platform Steak School is filled with recipes and articles about cooking with beef – everything from how to dry age beef at home (meat lovers will know what we’re talking about) to what to do with beef navel, working with knives and anything in between. It’s a place where Australia’s barbecue and beef loving community come to learn, which has automatically put Stanbroke in a place of authority and trustworthiness.

Steak School has grown rapidly for the brand over the past 12 months, and has created a community of beef lovers on its associated Facebook page. It’s also ranking in the top five globally for common terms such as ‘should you freeze beef’ and ‘what is wagyu beef’ – reinforcing the brand’s authority in the market.

Key takeaway: Engage your audience in a way that adds value to them, not just you.

Otto Ristorante’s paddock-to-plate showcase

Brisbane’s favourite fine-dining Italian restaurant with a view, Otto, popped up in 2016 promising a similar experience to its Sydney counterpart. And while Brisbanites aren’t usually quick to warm to Sydney-born establishments, we were happy to overlook this detail due to the spectacular setting Otto chose with its uninterrupted views of the city’s Story Bridge.

Otto has of course lived up to its name and more with its Brisbane restaurant, but more than that, it has built a following and reputation for itself around fresh, locally sourced food, which it promotes through its Instagram account. Stunning imagery of its dishes with intricate details of its origins has attracted an Instagram audience over over 15,000, a serious feat considering the age of the establishment against its competitors in the market.

Head Chef at Otto Brisbane Will Cowper has also got on board with showcasing the produce, acting as an influencer and spokesperson for the restaurant. On his account he opts for raw imagery of his produce – images of epically marbled beef, fresh fish ready for filleting, and freshly made pasta are all there.

It shifts the message of the restaurant being just another Italian establishment in Brisbane to being a wholesome food experience.

Key takeaway: Featuring your people and their talents can take an already great marketing presence and push it to a different, more human level.