Food Porn – Social Media is Now the New Focus Group for Brands

lruslys    May 29, 2017

The company I work for, FlashStock, exists today because brands are trying to connect with consumers and personalize their connection. This brand to consumer connection is driving the ever-growing demand for visual content across digital channels including social media. Reflecting upon the biology of the human brain and how its magnitude processes images 60,000 times faster than written text, it has been proven that major food brands such as McDonald’s, Nestle, and Blaze Pizza are turning to social media to promote their food on photo specific channels like Instagram and Facebook.

The aforementioned brands, as well as many other large-scale global brands, are using social media to┬átest and create new products that social media┬áprovides to a large community of consumers. These brands can test to the visual appeal of their products and the hype often surrounding these images has been referred to as “food porn”. Representing the necessity of food, for visual and sensual qualities in these images connects consumers as addicts for viewing it. This new concept of “food porn” is what excites and compels consumers to invest in the products being advertised. When the image represents the qualities desired by consumers and an individual’s network comments about it on social media, there is a higher likelihood that others will buy into its appeal.

Many global organizations also use social media to easily learn and listen to the reaction of consumers regardless if the audience is reacting positive or negative sentiment towards their products. In 2017 McDonald’s Canada rolled out its “All Day Breakfast” however, consumers took to social media to attack the to be released Skor McFlurry which goes against an allergy free safe haven that McDonald’s is said to be known for. While McDonald’s learned more about what the public perceives them to be, it wasn’t the launch a new product they were hoping for. One other benefit to using social media for product development and research is the ability to test marketing with minimal cost and be able to pivot quickly to make changes. These types of negative events can cost a company revenue, but when done successfully, can present opportunities for dramatic growth. Overall, companies that are leveraging social media for product development and research are being able to bring products to market for appeal and interest much faster. Therefore, companies are realizing higher business performance or return on investment (ROI).

Bringing new products to market takes a lot of effort. The traditional approaches of using Research and Development departments and focus groups are tried and tested, however, they are also “costly and time-consuming” to organize and develop. Social media helps streamline that process and gets right in front of the consumer, almost as quickly as the product is rolled out. The real-time access to consumers is great and can sometimes mean the difference between being first to market and playing catch-up.

With new products being launched, marketers are always keen to test their message to see how far they can reach the intended audience. The use of social media is a low-cost method for marketers to do their testing. If something doesn’t work they can easily pivot without the huge expense that print or other traditional media channels would require a reshoot or reprint. This helps drive ROI and lower costs.

Lessons for Others

Social Media continues to speed up the evolution of product development by connecting to large audiences in real time for marketers to be able to test their messages and to get real time intel from consumers.

Organization: FlashStock Inc.
Industry: Technology, SaaS, CaaS
Name of Organization Contact: Mike Domazet - VP Global Sales

Authored by: Linas Ruslys

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


References

http://business.financialpost.com/news/retail-marketing/nut-controversy-gets-in-way-of-mcdonalds-plans-for-all-day-breakfast-in-canada-on-feb-21

https://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/the-top-social-media-fails-2015.html

How to Use Social Media for New Product Development Research