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    Using Branded Recipes to Market Your Product Online

    Fosters deeper engagement between brand and consumers

    By Benjamin Christie

    If you’re seeking a marketing tool to help your food product resonate with consumers, to really make it tempting, there are few methods better than creating a branded recipe.

    Household cooks love finding new recipes, and history and research show that they are loyal to brands that have successfully incorporated their products into beloved recipes. In fact, most grocery buyers subconsciously link brands to favorite recipes. Think Rice Krispies Treats. Think Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies. Think Chex Party Mix. These brands have become so entwined with these recipes that one shudders to think about making them with another manufacturer’s product.

    Even if your product doesn’t achieve the branding zenith of these examples, a well-crafted recipe will highlight the benefits of your ingredient, even to the exclusion of your competitors’. From bread crumbs to mac and cheese, from strawberry preserves to almonds, the end result of creating a successful recipe that’s prepared even once will be to make choosing your product a no-brainer the next time mom or the home chef goes to the supermarket.

    Marketing your branded recipe is easier than you might think. Start by creating a recipe section on your brand’s website, where all recipes can be found by consumers in a central location. You can share individual recipes by social media and e-mailed newsletters. It’s key to ensure each recipe has its own URL. For maximum impact, your recipe should be accompanied by a good quality photograph. As a chef, I know that most people make meal decisions with their eyes.

    Taken a step further, your branded recipe can become part of your print advertising campaign, and can appear side by side with a coupon. It can go on the product packaging, and even in-store displays and shelf-talkers to reach a wider audience. If the recipe is sufficiently interesting, it can be sent to newspaper food editors as part of your public relations effort. And it can be put on video, for an interactive addition to your website, or a clip on your company’s Youtube channel.

    But how to come up with that perfect recipe? If your company doesn’t have, or can’t afford to hire, a test kitchen, there are creative ways of generating recipes. Sponsor a contest for consumers, judge their entries, and run with the winner. Or partner with a cooking school to experiment, then reward the institution with a small grant. This might also be a good publicity opportunity. And perhaps you can create a booklet of recipes to include with your product, then use social media to determine the most popular one.

    Another possibility is to capitalize on the celebrity chef craze and enlist a known personality to create a “signature” recipe using your product. Consumers love television cooking shows, and will find highly desirable any recipe with their favorite host or celebrity chef’s imprimateur.

    However you decide to create that winning recipe, just do it. As you discover a new level of engagement between your brand and consumers, you’ll be glad you did.

    Here are some additional tips for getting your brand in front of consumers online through the use of branded recipes:

    • Make sure the recipes are published in HTML, preferably HTML 5 to ensure they are displayed on mobile devices properly. Avoid Flash websites as they index poorly with search engines.
    • Recipes need to be on their own URL e.g., /brandname.com/recipes/recipe-name
    • Use specific HTML mark-up to help search engines index your content properly. Recipes using schema formatting helps tell search engines to treat the page content as a recipe. We suggest http://schema.org/Recipe which Google recognizes as the standard for publishing a recipe online.
    • If you can’t implement HTML mark-up then at least use the recipe micro format.
    • Invest in good photography. It’s worth scheduling a professional photographer and food stylist for a few hours to ensure your recipe looks appealing and tasty.
    • Be sure to link the main ingredient of the recipe (your branded product) to the product page on your website, so people can find out more about the product, where they can buy it, etc.
    • Make sure you include all recipes in a separate recipe sitemap.xml on your server and make sure you reference these in your robots.txt file.
    • Submit your recipes to major recipe search engines such as RecipeBridge. This will greatly enhance visibility.

    Benjamin Christie, a former television chef, is founder and managing director of Gourmet Ads, a global food advertising network. Working with over 300 food-related websites, including recipe search engines, Gourmet Ads uses a variety of techniques to help food manufacturers and grocers get their brands in front of household grocery shoppers and meal planners. For more information, visit http://www.gourmetads.com.


    By Benjamin Christie
    • About Benjamin Christie

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