How storytelling will change our relationship with foods

Are you one of those people who are captured by the stories behind the foods that we purchase or eat at the restaurant?

I am one of them and the storytelling that is behind a product is one of the things that I like the most and that makes me want to buy a specific product. I am the perfect customer, let’s say that!

It is indeed well-known that storytelling is a key aspect of a brand’s marketing strategy as it can influence purchasing decisions.

Storytelling was the Number 1 trend for 2020 according to Innova Market Insight. They have observed that 56% of consumers stated that the stories of the brands did influence their purchasing decisions.

But how can a company use storytelling to boost their sales and strengthen their relationship with their consumers?

First of all, it is important to identify the target that the brand wants to communicate with as it has been observed that different age cohorts might be interested in different aspects related to foods, some generations, for example, are particularly food waste-conscious. Consumers are very much interested in what is:

  • the narrative behind particular ingredients
  • a brand’s founder story
  • stories about the processes that are behind a product

The use of storytelling to tell about sustainability efforts from a brand are also particularly at heart for millennials, according to Nielsen’s sustainability report from 2015, 66% of millennials would pay more for sustainable products. People want to connect with those stories and brands can take the chance and show the transparency related to their production steps. Brands that are motivated in showing transparency in the supply chain are always a plus – stories about a transparent process, indications related to where the ingredients come from as well as a clear ingredients list might boost trust in the end consumer hence increase sales.

Take the example from US organic supermarket chain Whole Foods. They are focusing on aspects such as healthy eating, organic farming, and fair trade. They use media such as their blog to suggest healthy seasonal recipes and information related to organic farming. This works efficiently towards building an image or a brand that is conscious about environmental issues.

Another successful example is the Italian brand Barilla that is quite popular for its bakery products and in particular for pasta. Barilla knows very well that the consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what lies behind the food they eat and are quite responsive to nutritional guidelines. This is the reason why Barilla has adapted many of its original recipes to better align with the believes and values of their customers. They have reformulated many products already and use the motto ‘Good for you, good for the planet‘.

In conclusion, consumers want to find in the product’s story something that speaks to them, let’s talk about this like an emotional give and take, whether if the product is coming from their country or if the brand has been founded by a woman (this is something that would persuade me to buy a product) or if the story of the company and the people behind it resonates with the customer’s story and values too.

Brands could use several media to carry their messages, from social media to blogging to podcasting to packaging strategies.

And how about you, dear reader, what are the stories behind the food products that you love?

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