The importance of thought leadership in food pr

October 05, 2020



For a food and beverage business to be taken seriously within the wider industry, by the key players and business influencers of the world, a thought leadership strategy to position the brand needs to be clear, focused and resilient.



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What is thought-leadership within the food and drink industry?


Within PR and marketing, thought leadership is usually offered by someone within senior leadership positions of a business. By its nature, the activity requires that person’s knowledge and experience gathered through their time in the industry. They will offer guidance, insight, and challenging viewpoints on a specific topic. 


Examples of relevant thought leadership topics at the moment within the food and drink sector include, ‘What does the future of indoor dining look like?’, ‘How can restaurants, bars and pubs adhere to Covid-19 regulations while keeping their business going?’ and ‘How can food and drink businesses engage with consumers in this new Covid-19 world?’



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Other examples of common thought leadership topics which have, and will continue to stand the test of time beyond Covid-19, include ‘How to become a sustainably-led restaurant’, ‘Why is it important to invest in training a front of house team’, ‘How can the industry work to become gender equal?’, and ‘What will be the next food and drink trend?’. 


The individual you choose to be the person delivering these pieces of thought leadership can be in your senior team; your CEO or Marketing Director, or the senior folks closer to the day-to-day action such as your Head Chef or Head Bartender. 




How and where should you practise thought leadership?


Starting with your owned channels, LinkedIn, a platform created for business and career development is perfect for executing a thought leadership campaign. Here you will easily be able to target your activity to reach the right audience. 


Content can be posted in the form of drafted articles, quotes or videos. When sharing word-based content make sure there is a visual element too, something to catch the eye and draw readers in. This can be visual representations of the context, even a quote from the article made into an image file or a headshot to put a face to the name behind the words. 


Thought leadership of course, goes beyond the world of LinkedIn. Pre Covid-19, physical industry events were extremely popular for this and now, virtual events, conferences and webinars have become the norm. Researching what virtual events publishing houses and industry bodies are hosting is a great way to start your research on which ones may be most relevant for your thought leadership spokesperson to partake in.   






Understanding the trade and consumer media landscape is also crucial when looking to expand your thought leadership outreach. Within the food and drink industry, the likes of The Caterer and Big Hospitality are no brainers. 


However, just because you may be talking business doesn’t mean you need to exclude what might be considered traditional consumer titles. Broadsheets such as The Telegraph and The Times, magazines such as The Week and The Economist and online titles such as Business Insider and even the BBC offer fantastic opportunities for hospitality businesses and brands to partake in. 


In our work conducted with wine storage specialists, Octavian, we share the team’s top tips on safeguarding fine wine investments with key members of the media, highlighting their expertise within the wine storage sector. For our restaurant clients such as Chelsea’s No. Fifty Cheyne, we arranged chef and bartender interviews, positioning them as figures of authority within the industry. 


Find out more about our work in the food and drink and restaurant sectors.



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Influencers and thought leadership


More and more, influencers are getting involved in thought leadership and working alongside brands to deliver these pieces of content. Not only are influencers directly engaging with consumers on a daily basis but they also have a strong overview of what the leading and up-and-coming brands are actioning within the industry. 


This means that they are in a prime position to offer in-depth and unique sector insight into topics relevant to thought leadership. Engaging with these influencers and working with them on developing your brand’s understanding of the market and consumer developments is a new and bright way to plan ahead. 



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Sometimes it's just about your brand, and sometimes not at all


Finally, while it may be tempting to promote your brand at every given opportunity, thought leadership is not just about that. It’s a more subtle play. 


Rather than using the platform to advertise your latest product, demonstrating the aforementioned guidance, insight, and challenging viewpoints presents the business with an opportunity to elevate the brand’s reputation in a way that pushing a new product can never achieve.