Public relations for any company will always be an important endeavor. However, it can also be a very tricky one to get right, as there are many guidelines and laws that dictate what can and cannot be done in the advertisement of a product. Here are some common pitfalls that companies fall into when using public relations for their food products.
Advertising to Specific Demographics
Some products can be very profitable when marketed to particular social demographics. Children are a very easy target; they are usually naïve about advertising techniques and can be easily swayed by messages, especially if another child is shown enjoying the product. However, many ethical dilemma arise when advertising to children; many parents and adults in general may become incensed about your food product and the way that it is advertised if they see that it is advertised in a manipulative way.
If you are advertising to children, make sure that you are being completely truthful about your product and including disclaimers about it in your advertising! While it can be important to grab customers at a young age, it is also crucial that their parents view your organization as an ethical one that cares about the safety, health, and well-being of their children.
Truth in Social Media
Many companies are pushing their public relations work into the world of social media. Websites like Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, and Twitter have become legitimate venues for companies to sell their products, market themselves, and upkeep up their public image.
However, this type of public relations can get ugly pretty quick for organizations: content, especially written content, must be carefully managed, because any information that is misleading or not truthful can be eventually used against the company in a legal battle.
Because of this danger, other companies shy away from implementing social media in their public relations agenda. However, there are many ways to use social media to your benefit, especially in the world of food, without relying on words and statements to advertise and market. Any food company can easily take advantage of social media by posting pictures of food products, posting special offers and deals on products, or offering additional information on their products (such as linking to an external website for the company).
The correct way to avoid legal issues is to have a strong PR policy that includes guidelines on the use of social media by employees.
If you’re looking for new, innovative, and effective ways to incorporate social media into your public relations agenda, check the following site for a wide variety of useful tools: http://www.pr-squared.com/index.php/resources. The site, written by a PR expert, offers a wide variety of external links on social media and especially marketing on these sites. Resources like these will become especially important as social media diversifies.
Hiring Professional Representation
It can be tempting to conduct your own public relations operations, especially if you are operating a small business. Many times, a company just doesn’t have the profit margin or comfort level to believe that they can adequately cover the salary of a professional public relations company. However, this is counterintuitive thinking. As automotive pioneer Henry Ford said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”
Essentially, hiring a PR company will save you both a lot of time and grief in the long run; these companies have tried and true methods of attracting customers and continuing bringing them back to a particular product. Not only that, but a professional PR company will be much more knowledgeable about advertising and public relations laws than you – it’s part of their job to keep you out of legal trouble!
Having a PR company is especially important in the competitive world of food production, in which there are a huge number of competitors that can take away potential customers in a heartbeat. Search the web to find the perfect PR company to represent you, but ensure that they are experienced and represent a wide range of products that are well-known and successful.
A quality professional food PR company is shown here: http://www.wildcard.co.uk/sectors/food-and-drink. A company like Wildcard can handle your public relations for you so that you can focus on more pressing matters such as distribution and operations.
To summarize, everything that is said through public relations is heavily scrutinized and can land a food company in a lot of hot water. Legal complications for any company can arise due to who they are marketing to, the wording of their communications, and the validity of their advertising. Pitfalls in food PR can easily be avoided by being careful with advertising statements and hiring a professional PR company to handle your strategy for you.
By Richard Glover. Richard is an independent business consultant and digital marketing specialist.