How to connect at food and wine events
Food and wine festivals are just the type of recreational and educational events that affluent logic shoppers live for. So what better place to teach this lucrative demographic something about your brand. From nationally known events like the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen CO to local happenings like GrapeFest in Grapevine TX—affluent consumers are coming out in droves. And the events are a great way to connect with passion shoppers too who will take note of your brand being aligned with an upscale experience.
“Individuals that are epicureans are also very adventurous and they tend to have an independent mindset which is very important to us ” says Jay Kuhnie Jeep’s director-communications. (The brand sponsors the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Florida and the Russian River Grape to Glass event in California.)
Three things to think about when sponsoring a food and wine event:
Be Subtle. Remember that at food-focused events your brand will never be the star. Instead as consumers are enjoying learning about and sampling food and wine find subtle ways to weave your brand into the event and still make a connection. Jeep for example offers its vehicles as shuttles to the various wineries at food and wine events giving consumers the opportunity to sit in and experience the vehicle without taking away from the primary experience.
Think Post-event. Since there might not be a chance to have an extended interaction on site at these events look to post-event follow-up as another opportunity to connect with consumers. Chrysler a sponsor of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen uses on-site photo activation as an opportunity to collect data later when consumers go online to pick up the photo. “We then have the opportunity to ask them if they’d like more information about the brand if they’d like to be on our e-direct mail program or if they’d like to come in for a test-drive ” says Susan Thomson manager-Chrysler brand communications.
Make Time for Business. In addition to consumer marketing don’t forget about hospitality opportunities at food and wine events. The upscale vibe makes it the perfect setting to entertain customers away from the typical sports environments. Bank company BB&T the title sponsor of the Charleston Food + Wine Festival largely leverages its sponsorship for the hospitality opportunities.
“It’s an excellent source of entertainment ” says Frank Bullard BB&T’s coastal region president. “Someone who may not be interested in doing a dine-around for example might be interested in other aspects of the event. There’s a lot of variety and that makes it nice for client entertainment.”