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Digest DIGITAL BLONDE


Perfecting the art of storytelling


Digital marketing expert Digital Ginge calls on caterers to build marketing activity around a story to engage parents and emotionally engage children


How often does someone tell you about a fantastic product they’ve used or brilliant service they received? When someone has had an exciting or interesting experience, they are keen to share their story with others. Word of mouth is still the best and the most cost-effective marketing that is available.


My daughter often talks about her school meals with real delight and proudly shows off her sticker for eating all her vegetables. She tells me who she sat with, what they talked about or how she helped a younger child. For me choosing a school meal isn’t about the food on her plate. It’s the whole story that goes behind it – her trying something new, socialising with friends, getting energy for the afternoon lessons and making memories that she will talk fondly of in years to come.


HOW OFTEN DO YOU SHARE THESE STORIES IN YOUR MARKETING? In September, the Digital Blonde team worked with Artizian Catering to create a scientific experiment as part of Artizian’s FOODOLOGY concept. We wanted to explore which emotions different dishes triggered and whether these emotions caused people to share their experience. Part of this experiment involved an amazing fairytale themed evening of food tasting, which was then replicated online with a series of food images.


This research highlighted that people are more likely to share if they experience


an emotion of happiness or delight and if they have a stronger emotion.


BUT HOW DO YOU INCREASE THE STRENGTH OF EMOTION? Part of the research compared people’s emotions online when they saw only a picture compared to seeing a picture and a description. The strength of emotion increased when a description was added, so people felt stronger when there was a story behind it rather than just an image. Remember, the stronger the emotion, the more likely people are to share. To engage people with your offering you need to think about ways in which you can tell them a story and increase emotion. When planning your marketing activity think of it in terms of storytelling. People don’t like being sold to or talked at. You want


parents to be engaged enough to purchase a school meal for their child or for a secondary school student to choose your school meals service over the high street.


WHAT STORIES CAN YOU SHARE? • If you are running theme days, think about more than the food on the plate. For example, what are you doing to bring an educational element into the theme? Did you involve anyone external from the local community? Have you used a different supplier for the special menu? Write about the atmosphere at lunchtime and bring in quotes from children to bring it to life.


• Parents love to hear your food sourcing stories. When I see the local fruit and vegetable company from just a few miles down the road delivering at the school gate it fills me with confidence about the quality of food my daughter is eating.


• Allergens is a hot topic at the moment and this is another opportunity for you to share stories of all the great things you are doing. This is a subject that will really capture the emotion of parents who are perhaps anxious about their child having a school meal. Giving examples of situations where you have helped a family will increase emotion more than simply saying you cater for pupils with medical diets.


These are just a few ideas, but one of the best ways to think of more is to get a small team together and brainstorm. Simply talking about what you see in the dining hall on a daily basis will help find those stories that capture emotion.


If you have any questions about storytelling please send me a tweet to @digitalginge or email nicola@digitalblondemarketing.com


92 November 2014 www.educateringmagazine.co.uk


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