“We need PR” is a common phrase we hear from potential clients, but not all types of public relations are the same – wine PR and food PR are very different. There are intricacies specific to each industry, even within a category such as food and beverage. The devil is always in the details. It’s important to have a team that knows the little details of an industry for effective and efficient programming.
The 4 Things You Need To Know About Food PR & Wine PR
No matter if it’s food or wine, the value of getting product in the hands of media is equally important, but the process is different for each.
Food PR: With a food product mailing, the key consideration is what condition the food will arrive in. Is the product shelf stable? What is the expiration date? How does heat effect the product? Should it be shipped with ice packs? Once those questions are answered, you can put the product in a box and send off to media.
Wine PR: Similar to food, heat is a consideration for wine. Moreover, beyond the condition in which the product arrives, for wine, you must consider how the product will arrive. Due to legal restrictions, wine cannot simply be sent off in the mail. A license to ship wine is required. Additionally, the recipient must also be available to receive the package, due to a required a 21+ signature, upon delivery.
Almost every profession has a handful of media outlets focused exclusively on the business and people of that industry. Food and Wine PR teams often interact with their respective trade outlets, but each in unique ways.
Food PR: For food PR teams, trade media is most important around the introduction of new products, new brands and brand extensions – what’s new drives significant coverage, as it helps retailers and distributors know what’s going on in each category before and at the buying period to get products that will have extra promotion on shelf in time to drive foot traffic in stores.
Wine PR: New product announcements are also a trade opportunity in wine PR, but often requires more nuance and steps. Wineries can’t legally sell their wines directly to restaurants and retail stores. The so-called three-tier system requires wineries to work directly with distributors, who, in turn, sell their wines to restaurants and retail stores. Media coverage in wine trade publications keeps distributors in-the-know, interested and focused on the brand. As a result, wine PR programs often include a focus on trade media to support the distributors and share general brand news and trends, in addition to new product announcements.
Scores + Awards
Food PR: Scores and awards play a very small part in food PR outreach. A select few conferences or competitions may provide awards such as “best new product” in different food categories, but we rarely focus primarily on these awards in food public relations programs. Why? Given the scarcity of opportunity and the plethora of options, the ROI is generally low, and more importantly, retailers don’t often use food awards in their promotion.
Wine PR: Scores and reviews from top wine publication can be the entire focus of PR programs for a wine brand, since shelf talkers with the wine score drives so much purchase at retail. Each wine scoring publication has its own specific processes for submitting wines for reviews. Plus building relationships with particular reviewers can be of upmost importance to a wine brand, to help break through the myriad of options in each wine category. Wine scores are crucial for the distributors and sales teams, who work to sell the wines.
Journalists at local newspapers, regional magazines and neighborhood outline outlets can also have a significant influence in their markets. However, food PR and wine PR connect with these writers differently.
Food PR: Food editors at regional outlets typically focus on local restaurants and recipes. To get attention from these writers, food brands often need to connect the brand to the local market in order to garner interest.
Wine PR: A number of regional outlets have dedicated or contributing wine writers who cover wines from around the world. Regional wine writers are more apt to decide what to cover based on the availability of a wine, regardless of where it’s from, in the local market. The local connection to production isn’t required to write about wines in regional media.
It’s not exactly a food fight, but the nuances that drive the day-to-day work in each category are different enough to be apples and oranges.
Even with all these differences one thing remains true across all industries, PR needs a good story to break through. At Double Forte, we have robust food teams and wine teams that work diligently to develop stories for their client’s brands, using experience to cruise through the intricacies of an industry. And we then put story-telling skill to work with the nuances at work in each category for the best results that help our clients move their businesses forward.