A group of approximately 50 public relations professionals gathered at a recent Minnesota PRSA event hosted by Exponent PR in downtown Minneapolis to hear a panel of experts speak about their experiences with food marketing and communications.
The diverse panel featured four experts from different areas of the food industry:
- Kieran Folliard, Founder 2 GINGERS Whiskey and Food Building
- Pete Stoddart, Media Director, Corporate Affairs, Cargill
- Lauren Pradham, Director and General Manager of Grow North
- Bertrand Weber, Director of Minneapolis Public School Culinary and Wellness Services
The discussion opened with the panelists emphasizing the importance of transparency in food marketing. Today, it is all about honesty and authenticity. The more a company communicates the truth about their products, the more the public will trust and respect them.
The panelists also stressed how critical it is for organizations to choose the right spokesperson. A spokesperson should be a storyteller. At Grow North, Pradham works with many small businesses and entrepreneurs. Most of these businesses are only made up of one or two people, and they may not be the best storytellers. If that is the case, then they should try to find a better public face for their business to more effectively communicate with the public and spread their message.
On the flip side, at Cargill, Stoddart needs to find the right spokesperson among all of the employees in the huge corporation. While it is easy to go to the CEO for the role of the spokesperson, a specific subject matter expert may be more appropriate. At Cargill, they will often turn to scientists to spread their message. These scientists work for Cargill all over the world and can help to educate the public and demystifying the ingredients in food.
As the Minnesota PRSA “The Food Revolution: Transparency and its Effects on Marketing and Communications” event came to a close, the panelists further stressed how critical transparency is to an organization of any size. Speaking truths and having courage can lead to successful marketing in the food industry.