food networkHungry for spaghetti? How about digital marketing success? Either way, we have you covered. The Food Network empire is a laudable ideal in creative online marketing, and their effective strategies can be emulated across all industries.

The brand – consisting of the network, website and magazine – has successfully mastered the digital realm by way of lifestyle optimization and social media savvy. Whether you’re marketing shoes or insurance, the Food Network has something to teach you. Below we outline the top 5 takeaways from their marketing strategy:

Be transparent: Let consumers know exactly what they’re getting. Food Network TV series provide the perfect example: Looking for a quick dinner idea? 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray. Craving Italian? Giada’s your girl. As for the butter lovers? There’s Paula’s Home Cooking. They’ve branded each aspect of the network – both on and offline – so that consumers know what to expect. Other brands can learn from this open book approach – sometimes it’s better to leave the sales twist out and just be real.

Capitalize on trends: Between seasonal produce and flavors of the week, the food industry does have more opportunities for focusing on timely marketing than others. Yet holidays are fair game for all – anyone can insert themselves into trending topics with a little creativity. The key is to stay on top of the bigger trends (i.e. The Harlem Shake, news stories) as well as understand which niche holidays or events your target audience would be interested in. After all, every day is a holiday – even if it’s just something like National Animal Cracker Day!

Make it easy: The more advanced technology becomes, the easier users expect the digital experience to be. The Food Network website has a “social” page in which they preview all of their social channels (shown below). Streamlining resources provides value for the user – and also demonstrates the importance of keeping in tune with visual trends.  So instead of just listing your social buttons, try experimenting with a unique design or layout.

fn social

Listen & Learn: We all know those people who listen to your ideas with appropriate hums and nods, but dead eyes. Food Network is not one of them. They not only heard consumers desire for a healthier focus, but took action and made it happen.  Along with integrating more wholesome meal ideas into the network lineup and magazine pages, they gave “Healthy Eating” its own home, even starting a blog for it. The moral of the story? Actions speak louder than words – if you really want to impress consumers, you have to do more than tweet: “Thanks, we’ll think about it!”

Keep consistent: So much of branding is recognition – will those consumers who don’t need a couch this year remember your furniture brand next year? Food Network isn’t selling items as much as lifestyle support, yet they’ve nailed that red circle logo. They keep their voice conversational yet educational across all networks – kind of like your older sister who just graduated from culinary school. Give your brand a personality and stick to it.

Plus, the unofficial rule #6: everyone loves food. If you can figure out a way to include cupcakes in a brand campaign, go for it!

While the well-known Food Network brand is successful in digital marketing, there are always improvements to be made as online capabilities continue to advance. In particular, the blending of search and social is the way of the future.

Have any questions about digital marketing solutions? Contact ZOG Digital today!

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