The Brand Recipe Box:

Since its launch seven years ago, Pinterest has revolutionized the ways we share baking and recipe inspiration. The app keenly harnessed peoples’ desire for pretty pictures and the sensorial nature of food photography became a driver of the platform. Taking a cue from Pinterest, content creators such as Buzzfeed’s Tasty optimized the “how to” video for social, depicting mouthwatering kitchen creations as so quick and easy to assemble that you can’t not want to at least give them a try just once.

If you look at recipe books I owned pre-Pinterest, you will find post-it tabs of tried and true recipes to use again, along with copies of handwritten recipes from family and friends and others I’ve stumbled across along the way – like Green Bean Casserole with French’s Crispy Fried Onions, my dad’s famous chicken paprikash with Breakstone sour cream, or Aunt Norie’s brownies with Honey Maid graham crackers. Those beloved dishes serve as family heirlooms and memories that can be recreated at any time. All that’s needed are the ingredients, including that one specific, branded ingredient the recipe hinges on—the fried onions, the sour cream, the graham crackers. Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies are probably the most famous of these branded recipes. Back in the day, these recipes were creative ways of making brands indispensable household staples. Shoppers could just grab the chocolate chip package off the shelf and pick up the rest of the items listed on the back of the bag.

Today, food brands are sharing recipes via social media and partnering with bloggers, whose opinions and suggestions are highly valued by their followers. Bloggers like Michelle Lettrich of Brown Eyed Baker share trade secrets, preferred tools and keep indexes of their favorite ingredients (hello, Ghiradelli!) that build trust and confidence with their audiences. Food brands know this and leverage their relationships with bloggers via sponsored content in the form of pin-worthy and sharable recipe development.

How can food brands inspire non-food brands to create content that connects this deeply with consumers? Embracing social media is critical to the strategy.

Don’t be shy – Jump into the conversation

Potential consumers and customers are visiting your websites and social media channels for a reason. They enjoy your brand and want to stay up-to-date on the latest products, news and your company culture – so let them! And keep the channels open to organic conversation. For example, Kraft’s website is a one-stop-shop for recipes, tips, ideas, products and even coupons. They aren’t holding back with their social media channels either. Over half a million followers browse their Pinterest page and they have 1.6 million Facebook followers. Engaging in both English and Spanish supports the brand’s growth strategies, encouraging a global audience to actively participate.

Find your brand’s soulmate in the blogosphere

Look for bloggers who are a natural fit for your category. Before Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, was a fixture on the Food Network, she was tempting taste buds with buttery farmhouse recipes on her blog and a Land O’Lakes sponsorship was key to growing her reach. When selecting a blogger, make sure that their values and culture line up with your brand standards so that they can authentically advocate your products with real-world stories, tips and advice.

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