AUK | British food & drink brands need to take back control — here’s how.
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British food & drink brands need to take back control — here’s how.

The Brexit turmoil is taking its toll, that’s for sure. There’s no doubt that international trade hangs in the balance, but if British food and drink brands act fast, they can take back control.

Why? Because although Brand Britain overseas may be damaged, domestic love is still strong. Independent producers marketing their food and drink brands have a real opportunity to engage with the discerning consumer, looking for that little taste of local.

Your authenticity is the most vital ingredient in your brand story. Use it to your advantage by unlocking interest in your brand. It’s no coincidence that IPA Beers are taking market share so quickly, because people love ‘people brands’, and buy in to the artisan pastiche.

Getting going is quicker than you think

1. Empower yourself and get the sales rolling. Look to UK distribution outside of traditional mainstream channels. Online markets such as Discover Delicious, Farmdrop and Abel & Cole are all increasing their customer footprint, and their brands are making their mark on consumer sentiment. Read more about how we launched Discover Delicious here.

2. Make friends with like minded producers. Bundling similar products really works and it shouldn’t be left to the retailers. We’ve seen a number of brands like Hotel Chocolat, Laithwaites and Pong Cheese make some seriously shrewd partnerships by sharing data and opening up new target consumer groups for their non competing produce.

3. Build your direct to consumer brand. Distribution for ambient produce is so much easier to coordinate through Amazon and the like. Building and promoting an online shop is quick, even if you choose to only showcase one hero product. Volume is scalable, and directly linked to the media you spend on pushing it.

4. Build and engage with your customers through social. You can get in their hearts and minds through influencer advocacy campaigns and you can get sampling away through geo-targeted promotions. There’s never been a better time to choose your side. Think provenance, authenticity and sustainability – these are all principles that resonate with millennial and Gen Z (born between 1997-2015) target groups. They’re sidestepping the big boys by switching allegiance to indie brands.

5. If there’s time, make friends with a charity. We’re not talking about corporate greenwashing here, but we are talking about aligning your brand with good things. Be in it for the long term, and be in it for the right reasons. See Ugly Drinks, Pukka Herbs and Lush who all make real social strides by making a difference in people’s lives. It’s karmic and it does pay back.

So, if you are a brand with British connections, now is the time to get your marketing activity right – a renewed focus on what makes you authentic to your audience will pay dividends for years to come.