There’s an interesting thing that happens at food shows. Somewhere along the way, amidst all the walking, all the tasting, all the literature and all the new products, it becomes about the personalities.
These days a brand is, in many cases, as much about the person as it is about the product. We saw it over and over again during Monday’s exhibition.
From Tyler Florence, who was launching his new West Coast Kitchen Essential products, to Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, author of â€˜Preggatinis”, to Chef Patricia Forbes, who was helping Roland introduce its new line of Bombay Authentic Indian sauces, it was about people meeting people.
In other words, it wasn’t always the typical celebrities. There was simply a lot of brand building going on. And some of the best is based on personality and an actual person.
These people were building their brand by meeting with fellow foodies, establishing communication.
In fact, Robert Wheatley of Wheatley &Timmons Public Relations, who gave a presentation on brand building, put it this way: â€˜Brands that matter fall out of relationships. The goal of business is to make your customers happy. They aren’t your targets. They are your relationships.â€™ He advised that companies “disrupt conventions” by finding new ways to build those avenues of trust.
Art Smith was building his brandâ€”even though he has a reputation from years as Oprah’s chef, he’s now passionate about culinary education for children and ready to tell the world.
Gena Knox, author of â€˜Gourmet Made Simpleâ€™ and creator of a line of grilling planks, papers, skewers and salts, was building rapport by identifying with the home cook.
And Jean and Dan Erlich, founders of Rock Ã¢â‚¬Ëœn Roll Gourmet, certainly showed their personality as they promoted their new productâ€”a hot wing chip with the dip built right in with a little blue cheese drizzle on top.
All of these personalities have expertise in food, and they are sharing it through their businesses. They all seem to have a handle on Social Media as well, and are using it for networking and building brand awareness.
It’s all part of the enjoyment of a food show to see the new ideas on displayâ€”and to meet the personalities behind them. To learn how they made it to market. To examine more closely how their particular combination of luck, entreprenuership, and determination got them into business.
It’s a good argument for why trade shows continue, even while businesses are cutting traffic and using more social media. It’s simply good to get out and among those who care.
So, keep the new products coming. Attach those personalities and make us care. Make sure the innovation—and the people who bring it to life—never stops.