3 Food and Drink Brands Winning at Content and Copy (With Tips For You)
The British food and drink industry is growing like crazy. Off the top of my head, I can list dozens of independent brands in everything from gourmet popcorn to dairy-free ice cream, all of which have come to life in the past 2-3 years.
In fact, the explosion of snack food brands in the UK has been so enormous, that there are now almost as many subscription services to complement them. There are superfood boxes, vegan boxes and even Spartan Race branded boxes.
I say this like it's a bad thing, but it's not. Having worked with many of the brands featured in these boxes, I'd say that it's an exciting time to be a British food (snack, drink, etc.) entrepreneur. The problem, though, is obvious: how do you stand out from the competition when social media completely levels the playing field?
In this post, I'm looking at three of my favourite British (one would proudly call themselves Scottish) food and drink brands, to see how they're using copywriting and content to build and sustain their identities. All three have mastered the process of turning browsers into real-world customers, then into followers.
I'll be looking primarily at:
- Homepage/website copywriting
- Product copywriting
- Blog post headlines
- Social media
1. Pip & Nut: All-Natural Nut Butters
Pip & Nut in 10 words (or fewer): All-natural nut butters (inc. almond, cashew, peanut). Founded 2015.
Why they're winning: A great product, backed up by a playful brand and tone-of-voice that's consistent across all platforms.
What's in a name?
Plenty of brands are named after their founders, including Pippa Murray's Pip & Nut. Where these guys were fortunate, in my opinion, is that 'Pip' is such a pleasing word to say. That might sound silly at first, but it sticks in your mind, Pip does. And it's intriguing. Without any knowledge of the company's founder, you wonder where the name came from, and that starts you on your journey.
A strong name like this puts Pip & Nut ahead of the competition before they'e even left the blocks. Try and name two other all-natural nut butter brands. They do exist, I assure you, but they don't come to mind as readily as Pip & Nut, do they?
What does it mean for you?
You might not be blessed with a perfectly suitable name like Pip, but what it means is that your brand name isn't just a name, it's your first line of advertising.
You do you: Originality matters
People gravitate towards originality, in TV shows and movies, in people and in the brands they choose. We like to be involved with brands who do their own thing, because it makes us feel like we're doing something new, too. Above is a screenshot of the Pip & Nut homepage, where they're doing a call-out for brand ambassadors — only Pip & Nut don't say brand ambassadors, they say 'Squirrel ambassadors.'
It's playful without being confusing, and it demonstrates the kind of confidence which is like a magnet for new customers. They continue the puns with a little call-to-action which, in case you can't read it says, 'Click here to find out all the nutty gritty'.
This is just a slider on the homepage, but that kind of originality and playfulness — which is in perfect alignment with the entire Pip & Nut brand — can be found throughout the site and Pip & Nut's social media channels.
What does it mean for you?
Having well-written and accurate copy is great (and essential), but if you really want to stand out, then your copywriting should be viewed as an extension of your brand's personality. Your copywriting speaks for you, so make sure it's saying what you want it to say.
Own the details
The copy on your product pages can be challenging, since what's written here has a few jobs to do. It needs to:
- Be attractive enough to make a visitor want to buy
- Accurately describe the product (and why it's different to the competition's)
- Include any fine print about health claims or allergies
- Be written in your own original tone-of-voice
It's at this point that a lot of brands (usually ones where the founders are writing the copy themselves) experience a brain fart, losing the ability to think and present creatively what's so attractive about their products. What they end up with, normally, is some combination of horribly overused phrases like, 'Why not try...' and 'Ideal paired with...' and descriptions so dry they hurt.
Take a look at the product page below for Pip & Nut's Almond Butter.
Things to look out for on this product page:
'Spoil your store cupboard...' — It's that playful tone we saw on the homepage, carried through into the product page. Subtle, but a great example of how consistency is so important.
Target market awareness — It's easy to miss the mark with your copy if you a.) Pitch yourself as something you're not, or b.) Misjudge the kind of people who are into your brand. Pip & Nut do a great job of matching their tone-of-voice with the kind of people who are likely to gravitate towards them: health-conscious, active, bright people who probably don't care to read a whole lot of nonsense.
The little details — (The good kind of fat) and (easy!) next to where they talk about eating within three months. Every little thing you can do to give your reader that little bit extra, without overloading them, helps to make you more memorable.
(Above) Pip & Nut's social media feeds are a perfect three-point blend of self-promotion, follower interaction and brand partnership/shared content marketing. If social media is a party, then Pip & Nut are the ones mixing drinks, complimenting people on their outfits, and handing out business cards.
2. Brewdog: Scottish Craft Beer
Brewdog in 10 words (or fewer): Scottish craft beer revolution for punks with soul.
Why they're winning: An unwavering commitment to the craft, backed up by copywriting that's pure poetry.
Brewdog's copywriting is poetry. I say with absolute confidence that what's on their bottles is some of the most beautifully-written copy I've ever seen. Look at this for a second:
The Brewdog philosophy of living with purpose, of committing to whatever it is that makes your blood run hot and fast, is set out with confidence in almost every single word that's written by them. Their copywriting is poetic, but not a word is ever wasted. Brewdog might be the only brand who have ever made me salivate with their copywriting.
Take the Journey: Passion Breeds Results
As long as you've made it clear what you're selling — in this case it's beer — then the best kind of product copywriting is the kind which creates an experience before you even get your hands on the thing being sold. Brewdog beer costs more than standard beer, and one of the main reasons people buy it is for the experience.
There's nothing much to look at with a bottle of beer (although their labels are cool), and you can't smell it until you've bought it, which means the only tool left at Brewdog's disposal to get you interested is the copywriting. If you're looking for examples of advertising copy like the kind you've seen in Mad Men, then this about as close as it gets.
What does it mean for you?
You can use your copy to tell potential customers what your product is all about, but if you're really smart, you can also use it to create an experience. Take some advice from Brewdog, and if you'd as good as die for what you're making, then make sure that shows in your copywriting.
Go All-In, or be a Runner-Up
There's a very simple lesson to be learned from the way Brewdog present themselves with their copy and content: go all-in, or someone else will. At Brewdog, they talk louder than and with more guts than their competitors, and that's part of the reason why they're on top (it doesn't hurt that their beers are also the best).
Plenty of craft beer brands talk about leading a revolution, but it's Brewdog who bark the loudest. And guess what? They have access to all the same words as everyone else. They just use them better.
Commit to Your Content
Not every small business has the time or the resources to pour into creating a their own magazine, but a commitment to producing solid content that's made with the interests of your customers and followers in mind, can be a great way to cement loyalty and drive engagement on social media. It doesn't work for everyone, and I've heard about brands who've dropped their newsletter altogether because it just wasn't providing enough return.
But if you can get it right and people respond well, then you're onto a winner, because what you have in a newsletter or a blog, is a captive audience. These people are already converted (or at least partially), which makes them way easier to sell to. Use your owned content as a way to both inform and market, and make it work for you.
3. Ella's Kitchen: Organic Baby Food
Ella's Kitchen in 10 words (or fewer): Organic baby food and cookbooks + no nonsense.
Why they're winning: They know their audience inside-out and create trust with a 'we're parents, too' tone.
Most of the big organic baby food brands know how important it is to lead with 'all-natural' and 'nothing artificial' so when it comes to standing out in a market like this, a lot depends on how you can connect with your audience. When Ella's Kitchen sets out to sell baby food, they don't have the convince the babies, they have to convince the parents. That much is obvious, so why use a child-like font? Why use words like scrummy and easy-peas-y?
It's all about trust. The guys at Ella's Kitchen want parents to know that if baby could read, she'd be just as happy with what's on the packaging as mum and dad are.
Yummy, scrummy, okie-dokie, everything about Ella's Kitchen screams wholesome (but not too loudly). It all looks incredibly simple, and in a way, it is, but what Ella's Kitchen needs to achieve with their copywriting is something massive: they've got to convince parents that what they're selling is good to put into their baby's mouths. They've got to do that, and they've got to be memorable. Pitching the copy as though it were aimed at kids, is one powerful way of showing a commitment to those core values of purity and honesty.
The Commitment Runs Deep
Click through to the Ella's Kitchen jobs section, and you'll find that the tone intended to help sell baby food to parents, is continued. It's a fantastic way of attracting the right kind of people, right from the start, and it shows that there's a commitment to doing the right thing which runs right the way through.
At Ella's Kitchen, the copywriting looks simple, but it's really very sophisticated. Many baby food brands use bright colors, but they look and feel clinical. With Ella's Kitchen, there's that feeling of 'From our family, to yours' which makes it so much more likely that parents would choose their recipes over another's.
What does it mean for you?
Copywriting is a complex process, and sometimes it's the most unexpected or unlikely option which works best for your audience. Get to know who you're selling to, and talk to them in a way which puts them at ease.
Simple, sweet and honest, just like Pip & Nut speak to an audience they know, Ella's Kitchen do a great job of pitching their products in just the right way, so that parents are willing to feed their kids with what's in these pouches.
A final note on Ella's Kitchen: They often use the + sign in place of and, which I think is a lovely touch, one which they carry over into their social media messages.
Do you have a favorite brand who are killing it with copy and content? Drop a comment below, or @ me on Twitter.