Making food PR work in the competitive German market
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
Katrin Becht is PR specialist and our expert for food & beverage PR in B2C and B2B. With more than 15 years experience in that specific area, Katrin knows best how to tackle the competitive German media landscape - also in difficult times.
In PR, finding the right USPs, building a memorable brand and telling stories in an authentic way are the most important factors for success. The media and also influencers want to know more than just a simple product usage, they want to know about the people who made it, the stories around it and the experience customers will have with it.
In this interview, Katrin shares her best PR advise for the German market.
Katrin, what are - in your opinion - the most difficult challenges for food & beverage brands that want to be successful in the German market?
“I see two major challenges for any food & beverage brand entering the German market, or growing in it.
The first is to create a product – with the intensive field of competition around – that is truly unique and outstanding. May it not be due to the ingredients, then at least the storytelling and people behind the brand should create an image of “this is who I would like to buy from”. Because a feeling of trust towards the brand and manufacturer is key for many consumers, and therefore for retail as well. Food is still a "people´s business".
Another major aspect is not only getting into retail in the first place, but also stay in the shelf. Getting the first listings is already complicated, but getting enough shelf rotation is key to actually be purchased again and again by the buyers. And this is of course the baseline for longterm success. Therefore brands need to make sure that as soon as they are being sold in retail, their marketing to end consumers is working as well. Getting this timing right and making enough effort here can sometimes be challenging, especially if a brand is new to this market and still has to learn a lot about the buyers and target groups.”
What do you consider the most promising marketing strategies and/or tools for food & beverage brands in the German market? Is it PR?
“Due to my background, of course I focus on communications and believe that it still is highly important for long term success, to tell your story right and over and over again. People need to remember you for one single thing (in the best of ways), and that story is often very difficult to shape, especially in the beginning. For new brands, I consider PR, Influencer Marketing and Social Media as the three top tools to effectively create a lot of awareness among the target group. You can chose what you publish, when and to whom and the story of your company can be told in many different ways that have the best fit to the current situation.
In my opinion, they are also some of the most cost effective tools because they are easy to measure and control. Of course though, especially in PR and when working with influencers, good knowledge of the language and relevant contacts are crucial, so a local partner might be an easy door-opener compared to creating the whole network from scratch, if a company wants to enter the German market from abroad. But also for local brands it is crucial to have a good media network when you start PR work, because else, a lot of effort is lost in the hundreds of e-mails each journalists receives every day."
Last but not least, what makes an appealing PR story for a food & beverage brand?
"Generally speaking, it is very important to be as unique as possible! Tell your stories honestly and authentically, engage with your customers and try to be more than just food. Because that is what people get really interested in, no matter if we are talking about consumers or journalists.
In other words, this means that a story about a new product launch can be nice and interesting, but the chances of any publication are much higher, if information on the innovative production process, new ingredients, important partners or any kind of more emotional content can be integrated, which gives the product some kind of a higher purpose."