It’s Foodie Friday, so let’s think about food and business. Actually, you’ve probably thought quite a bit about food already today. I make that statement and am supported by research. You see, way back in 2007, Brian Wansink and Jeffery Sobal of Cornell University asked 139 participants about the number of food-related decisions they thought they made every day. The average answer, off the top of the subjects’ heads, was 14. However, when the participants were asked to break down a typical day and to think about how many ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘how much’, ‘where’ and ‘who with’ decisions they made for a typical meal, snack and drink, it showed the participants made an average of 226 food decisions a day, 59 of which related to what kind of food to eat.
I doubt any of you reading the screed today are in a business that’s thought about 226 times a day by your customers. If you are, please share how you managed to get that level of engagement and passion. But if you’re like most of us, the challenge is to increase whatever the number of times a day we’re considered by consumers. If you’re a food brand, apparently you have a head start on the rest of us. But what is it about food that prompts this level of thinking?
The obvious reply is that food is necessary for our survival. We get hungry, but as the study shows, we don’t really make mindless decisions about food despite our hunger (although I’m not sure why most of us aren’t more aware of how many food decisions we do make each day). How to drive hunger for your brand? It’s through many of the ways we talk about here – being responsive, building loyalty, being transparent, focusing on the customer’s problems and your solution, and, most importantly, listening.
I suppose we could try to piggyback on the 226 by running food-related ads even if we’re not a food brand. Trying your brand at this time of year to family and food is fairly commonplace. I think, however, that we’re better served in the long-term by fostering the brand hunger through the means I mention above, each of which we’ve discussed many times here (and we’ll continue to do so). Great dishes excite and delight the diner – so do great brands. Does yours?