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The Business of Food

by Jennifer Barney

 

How to make friends with food industry leaders
2-min read

I remember being at a juncture in my startup where I felt stuck, and if I could just get an answer to this one thing, I would know what to do from there, for the next little while at least.
 
Getting unstuck often requires specific expertise. A podcast isn’t going to solve it. Where to find those experts and getting through to them is the challenge. 
 
Even if you have the funds to hire an advisor or consultant to guide you, it’s still so important to build a community of industry champions. People that believe in you and what you’re doing who have a wide network can help connect you to what you need. 
 
It does take effort to build those relationships but most of us veterans in the industry are super open and accessible. Here are some tips on how to build and nurture your industry champion community:
  • Follow them on social media
  • “Like” their content
    • You wouldn’t believe how much people notice who is reading and liking
  • Send a personal note not asking for anything
    • Don’t be annoying, but if something specific they contributed was helpful to you, reach out and say thank you and expound on how it helped 
  • Keep them informed through an email newsletter 
    • Claire at Teffola does a wonderful job of this. Her emails are short, informative and upbeat, and I feel caught up on her brand
  • Send samples! 
    • Ahhh, I know it’s expensive but this is how you become memorable 
  • Seek out the less-famous
    • Even though Mark Ramadan said to keep in touch there just might not be enough of him to go around
 
What other communities should I be building?
 
Your avid consumer, of course. This is the core audience you direct all messaging toward and who will spread the word the loudest about your brand. This is your tribe. Make them feel special.
 
Also build a community of peer and customer stakeholders. Other brands who share your same avid consumer are peers who you can count on for support. Customers that are pivotal to your brand’s success, such as retail buyers, are important relationships to cultivate. Buyers love to be included in new news about your brand before it’s set in stone so that they can offer input and feel connected to your success. 

All my best,
Jennifer
Whatever you think of Michael Pollan, he got this right:

"A critical lesson for farmers from this crisis is to diversify to whatever extent they can, even if that costs some efficiency. This applies to what farms grow and whom they sell to — and to the entire food chain. For a farmer, it’s more complicated to have 10 crops instead of one: She may need a different kind of machinery to pull carrots than to combine the wheat. There is a price to diversity, but it creates a cushion that can be very important in times of crisis." Michael Pollan - Washington Post

Thank you Donna Berry for writing about Transparelocalicious and Michael Pollan's take on farmers and the supply chain.
I'd love to hear from you - get in touch at jennifer@3rdandbroadway.com
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