Lessons from the naughty cheese smuggler


Cheese. Photo used under license © Shutterstock / Y Photo Studio

Not so long ago a Japanese friend stayed a couple of nights with us.

He’d developed an insatiable love for cheese, beer and chocolate when he ran a three-year scientific research project in Sheffield, so I reckon he jumped at the chance to return for a conference.

And we were only slightly surprised when he put a couple of hundred quids-worth of cheddars, bries, Shropshire blues and stinky bishops in our fridge overnight.

Next morning we helped wrap the cheese in damp newspaper and food bags before it filled his suitcase. And off he trotted to the airport.

The luggage was maybe somewhat ripe when they landed in Japan, but our chum and his dairy delights made it successfully back home – no questions asked.

Did he need the cheese? Not really.

But he really wanted it. Think about that for a moment. Could a craving for the food and drink you love motivate you not just to buy it but smuggle it halfway across the world?

Because thinking about food you enjoy –  perhaps it’s bacon and eggs, a plate of ripe and juicy tomatoes with mozzarella, freshly baked bread, a Saturday night curry or a cool pistachio gelato – gets the senses firing. You can imagine those smells and tastes vividly.

Do your clients and customers imagine and anticipate the joy of buying your widgets, or how they’ll feel when your business solves their pain, as vividly as they think about food? If they do, you’re onto a winner.

Inject some imagination and sensory overload into your communications and marketing. Back it up with evidence, conviction and testimonials of course – but don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Through Keep Your Fork Ltd, I did some work with Sentinel Brewery, which launched a year ago in an old carpet warehouse in Sheffield. We helped Sentinel’s director and master brewer, Alex Barlow, to secure brilliant positive media coverage, in local, regional and national newspapers, magazines, on radio and television.

And Alex’s description of a “Theatre of Beer” – serving “artisan beers fresh from the brewery tank, a few metres from the bar” gets my taste-buds going.

Sentinel also serves lip-smackingly gorgeous food; they offer plenty of non-alcoholic drinks too.

If you call in, then ask Alex about the effect of all the positive press coverage he’s had. Because I know for certain that coverage in the business press generated corporate bookings: I was in the building when a chap popped in to book an event, brandishing an article he’d seen.

That’s on top of all the people who liked what they read, heard and saw about Sentinel in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV – and have become regular customers.

So when new breweries seem to be popping up daily, how did we manage to get journalists so excited about Sentinel?

Simple: sensory overload. We refined our pitches to the journalists to capture their attention and interest – but to really push their appetite. If they had an overwhelming desire to try Sentinel’s food and drink, we knew they’d come along (and when they visited, they loved it – Alex has created a unique food and drink offer) and cover it.

And if you want to get the media coverage your business deserves, then do just that. Make sure your pitches to journalists grab them and don’t let go.

It’s not about what excites you though – what will make a cynical journalist, who gets hundreds of pitches a day, excited enough about you that they’d smuggle your product across the world?

Then you’ve got it.

By the way – if you need any help with securing media coverage – or training in how to do a brilliant and effective interview, then get in touch, here or through Keep Your Fork.

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