Attracting media attention for food products can be challenging without an effective strategy. Everyone wants a slice of the media pie and editors receive hundreds of cold calls, e-mails and mailings each day, making it difficult for even a great new product or well-crafted pitch to stand out. One of our most successful tactics to break through the clutter is to host chef tasting dinners for local food influencers.
Our tasting events have been held in major markets where we partner with an acclaimed restaurant and chef. We then work with the chef to create a menu highlighting our client’s product from cocktails to dessert.
Local newspaper food writers, bloggers and magazine editors are invited to attend the complimentary reception and dinner. I mean, who doesn’t want a free dinner at a trendy hot spot?
This year, on behalf of the National Honey Board, we held chef tasting events at Province Restaurant in Chicago and Perbacco Ristorante + Bar in San Francisco. The evenings began with a cocktail reception, appetizers and extensive honey tasting led by Bruce Wolk from the Honey Board. Guests were encouraged to sample, ask questions and give their impressions of several honey varietals. After the reception, the attendees were treated to a delicious dinner with nature’s sweetener taking center stage.
In Chicago and San Francisco, engagement with honey was fantastic! Many editors arrived with cameras, notepads and an eagerness to learn. As you can see from their personal descriptions (foodgal, foodhoe, single guy chef), the product-focused event gave them a whole new perspective on the use of honey in food and beauty.
Strategically speaking, there are many benefits to tasting dinners. Local food writers get hands-on experience with the featured product. This is not a conference or hard sell either; media show up on their own time with a positive attitude. Also, the dinners are very cost-effective. In one 3-4 hour evening, we can reach the equivalent audience of a week’s worth of deskside meetings. Plus, we can build important regional relationships, create a new understanding of product uses and answer questions or dispel common myths associated with the product.
The 2009 chef events were a huge success. As the common cliché goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so enjoy the photos below.
Labels: brady, chef tasting events, chicago honey, honey, National Honey Board, perbacco, perbacco honey, province, province honey, S&B, san francisco honey, stephan, Stephan & Brady, Stephan and Brady