Go digital – or danger getting misplaced

Catherine Sayer

As you read this you may be thinking, "Digital is not new". You are quite right. For some companies, digital is de rigueur. After all, read this column online. But that doesn't apply to everyone.

From Food South Australia CEO Catherine Sayer.

Covid-19 closed the borders, put the planes on the ground and put our passports on hold. So if a company really wanted to talk to customers – including customers directly across the national border – they could only do so virtually.

Learning from this experience was strong and somewhat unsettling. The fact of the matter is, many food and beverage companies are not working strategically digital at all, let alone doing well.

This isn't just about smaller businesses still learning the ropes and taking their first steps into retail channels. I think it's more about the overall rapid rate of growth in what can be done in this area, lack of time to read up on the opportunities, and then lack of time to be strategic.

At Food South Australia we regularly receive requests for video and images. It is a challenge to be able to take advantage of these opportunities when the target company simply does not have suitable digital assets available. What then happens is the opportunity continues and the potential new sale is lost.

My point here is that random snaps and 30 second clips of products coming off the line might once have been enough to liven up a consumer-facing Facebook page or Instagram post, but these days that just ignores the value of one strategic approach and the enormous range of options that digital can deliver.

We're seeing a global shift towards branding via digital presentations, which Covid-19 will accelerate (and potentially exacerbate). Facebook has been trying to give preference to video content in their news feed for a while, and given the limitations and uncertainties of travel, one can only expect a company that can effectively present itself through digital channels will the lives of these buyers, too and customers across national and international borders is even easier.

Last year Food South Australia piloted a program to help food and beverage companies develop a range of resources for use on a variety of digital platforms, including websites, social media and trade shows. The program is structured in such a way that the most important messages relating to the brand and the origins of the company are identified and translated into video formats between 30 seconds and three to five minutes. I was fortunate enough to attend the on-site filming and content creation and digital strategy workshop that were part of that program. It was a great opportunity for me to see and learn firsthand experts in video production and marketing strategy development.

We are right there on this learning curve at Food SA. In just a few weeks, we'll be hosting the SA Food-Beverage-Tech Trade Show in Adelaide on March 2nd and 3rd. It feels like the first time in a long time that we will have buyers for a physical event after all of the postponements and cancellations over the past year.

After taking part in our pilot program, our team is looking at this trade fair with digital eyes. I know that I will never hit record on my phone again without thinking about how many different ways the resulting images and footage can be used to support and promote our activities, and we think I will Even though we know we will. As we see many key decision makers at the show, digital will be our friend for this event in a new way so we can also connect with the many industry professionals and decision makers who are still on are on the wrong side of different geographic boundaries.

So we're creating a showcase video of the food and beverage products at the event and a virtual tour of exhibitors participating in our South Australia Food and Beverage Export Hub program. We will use snippets and all the footage on our social platforms, share it with the visitors of the fair, send it to our international buyer network and provide the participating exhibitors with content that they can also use in their networks.

From these two days on, we would like to offer exhibitors, visitors and our industry added value on a local, national and international level. I'm excited about the possibilities this little digital sample strategy will offer. It's a new way of looking at almost everything we do. It's still early 2021 so I encourage everyone to make a decision to take a good, long (and strategic) look at digital this year, before the opportunities it opens up pass.

However, if you can get to Adelaide, join us to see what South Australia has to offer with over 50 exhibitors. Click here to register.

About Catherine Sayer

Catherine has headed Food South Australia since its inception in 2010 and is passionate about leading the development of the industry's governing body with a focus on industry growth and advocacy. She is also a member and chairman of a number of boards.


About Essen South Australia

Food South Australia is the state's umbrella organization for the food and beverage industry committed to supporting and sustaining the industry in the state by helping businesses of all sizes develop their markets, capabilities and industry connections. Food South Australia is independent, industry driven and membership focused.


Leave a comment