Strategy & Planning

Café du Marché - Full Service Communications

 
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Tucked away down a cobbled mews in historic Smithfield in London, Le Café du Marché is an authentic and atmospheric French restaurant, run by the same family for over thirty years.

Le Café du Marché serves delicious classic French cuisine in the ground floor restaurant that has many loyal customers and has received praise from critics including Marina O'Laughlin. The restaurant has a unique and characterful private dining room on the first floor which is popular for corporate events as well as parties and wedding celebrations.

The owners of Le Café du Marché came to me looking for support with a full range of marketing and PR activity. Work commenced in December 2017 and continues with the aim of increasing bookings for the private dining room, securing restaurant reviews in the London and national media online and in print and improving communications with customers.

I am working closely with the owner and management team:

  • PR - restaurant reviews, chefs profiles, recipe placement and trade expertise and opinions.
  • Private event sales - improvements to marketing of the venue including writing and creating a new brochure; updating and adding to online listings including specialist wedding and events sites.
  • Planning and creating a communications calendar including blogs, social media and newsletters.
  • Writing blog content and creating an email newsletter.
  • Event management for an exclusive open day event for event organisers and wedding planners.

British Dal Festival - Curation and PR

 
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I am part of a small team to launch the first British Dal Festival in 2018. The festival will celebrate the magic of dal and similar pulse dishes from around the world through a week of events across the city of Bristol next month. The aim is to will highlight the cultural richness, flavour, and affordability of dal and in particular pulses grown in the UK, as well as their contribution to health, nutrition and environmental sustainability. 

I have been involved in the development, planning and PR for the Festival including:

  • Developing the Festival's objectives, story and brand.
  • Creating a website and social media profiles for British Dal Festival.
  • Inviting high profile chefs and food writers to share dal recipes and memories for the website.
  • Curating a programme of dal cookery demonstrations for the Festival's Grand Finale.
  • Developing and implementing a creative PR campaign to launch the festival to the national press, and working alongside a colleague who focussed in the Bristol media.
  • Securing coverage in national titles and local radio including a feature written by Diana Henry in Waitrose Weekend, a feature on pulses in The Observer and listings in Olive and Delicious magazines.

 

Connecting with chefs & writers - Hodmedod

When Hodmedod started business selling British-grown fava beans in 2012 I helped them to get off the ground by reaching out to our network of journalists, chefs and food writers and encouraging them to try the beans which led to some

Three years later they have a diverse range of products including quinoa grown in Essex, British baked beans, a full range of dried pulses and gluten free flours.  The small team was stretched and they needed some regular marketing support as well as to engage with more chefs, food writers and bloggers to tell them about the new products.

Through sending samples to a new wave of food writers and chefs like Sabrina Ghayour, Olia Hercules and Honey & Co, we have achieved some high profile coverage for Hodmedod on Twitter and Instagram and got Hodmedod beans and peas on the menus of some London restaurants.

2016 is the Year of the Pulse and I will be working closely with Hodmedod to raise the profile of British grown pulses through creating new blog content, recipes, and events for the press and food community.

 

Branding - Lawson's Delicatessen - Slate

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Lawson's Delicatessen was an award-winning deli on the Suffolk Coast which is now known as Slate. In January 2017 it was taken over by new owners father and daughter, Clare Jackson and John Ormerod who planned to rebrand the business to Slate, to open a new shop in Southwold and to start an ecommerce business.

I worked closely with the new owners before the the change of ownership and throughout the rebranding process. I advised them on communications about the change of ownership to their loyal customers, the local community, their suppliers and the small team of staff. This involved developing a new website, setting up an email newsletter, creating press releases for the consumer and trade press, re-establishing their presence on social media and facilitating a staff away day and workshop

I brought in specialist creative agency, WHAT Associates, to create a new brand identity and managed the development and implementation of the new brand.

I provided a full marketing service to the team including

  • Strategic and practical marketing advice.
  • PR to local and national media as well as the trade press.
  • Writing blogs, including a monthly Cheese of the Month feature
  • Developing and writing a monthly newsletter (including growing the database).
  • Social media implementation and analysis
  • Managing the website, creating an online shop and reporting on engagement.

Digital Marketing - Hepple Gin

Hepple Gin is a premium gin created by four friends: chef Valentine Warner, countryman Walter Riddell and spirits experts, Cairbry Hill and Nick Strangeway. Their ambition was to create the perfect Martini gin by developing a unique triple distilling technique that goes further than traditional gin-making.  The distillery is based on the Hepple estate on the Northumberland Moors and is rich in native botanicals including the largest juniper stands in England.

Hepple Gin

Hepple Gin has a small team and is thinly stretched and needed support with their digital marketing and communications. Working alongside their PR, Fiona Smith, I have developed and continue to implement  a digital communications plan that reflects their premium position in the craft gin market. The plan pulls together all their activities including launches in new bars or retailers, events and tastings and what's going on at the distillery from harvesting botanicals to developing new cocktails - it then identifies how these are communicated through PR, social media, the blog and email newsletter.

When Hepple launched in autumn 2015 they had a website and blog; Twitter and Facebook accounts; and started to collect email addresses for a newsletter. However, as the team is so thinly stretched the blog or Journal was rarely updated, the database had under 50 subscribers and social media was erratic. By creating a plan of regular new web content which we then push out through various channels we have increased audience reach and engagement.

Hepple wasn't on Instagram which seemed a crucial way to engage with high-end restaurants and bars, as well as their customers, which are Hepple's target market. Now Hepple is really active on Instagram and we're seeing excellent engagement. On Twitter we have more than doubled the number of followers in a matter of months and are much more consistently present there.

I switched Hepple's newsletter platform from something that was rudimentary and a paid for service to Mailchimp (which is free for under 2000 subscribers). I created a branded template and now send regular monthly newsletters which push people to the website to read the full story and engage more with the brand. 

We've also grown the mailing list by making it easier for people to sign up to the newsletter through the website and formed a couple of partnerships with a publisher and an event company to run competitions to reach new audiences.

On a monthly basis I provide detailed reports on web site analytics, social media and newsletter engagement.

There is still work to be done to improve the Hepple website and we will start to implement various improvements there.

Brand development - New Bean to Bar Chocolate

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What I love most about my work is meeting people who are passionate about making food or drink, who have had a personal experience that has led them on a journey to explore and learn to do something new; and who plan to take the brave step of turning their hobby into a business.

So was excited to help someone who was so driven by the real benefits of bean-to-bar chocolate, beyond just the taste, that she embarked on a journey to learn how to make it, source sustainable and ethical cocoa beans and invest in quality equipment to roast, winnow and temper.

Tosier is a new chocolate maker needed support to develop her brand story and work out how to position her new business in the growing UK bean to bar chocolate market. Through an informal workshop with lots of chat in all directions, all fuelled by some delicious chocolate, I helped her to hone her story and USP (unique selling proposition).

We also discussed business fundamentals such as getting her Food Hygiene Rating certificate to packaging solutions that would be manageable and affordable - using stickers and stamps on generic packaging rather than investing in bespoke packaging at this early stage of the business. After the workshop I provided her with a practical marketing strategy and a detailed plan and list of requirements and considerations that she would need to put in place before launch.

Through research (including eating lots of chocolate) I recommended how she positions her product in the market, considering pack sizes, pricing and distribution channels. I refined the brand values and story and honed the key marketing messages to work across different channels from the packaging to website and social media. I created a simple web page (www.tosier.co.uk) to launch the business and I guided her through getting set up on Instagram and Twitter and how to build an audience through relevant content.

Tosier will launch at a series of food shows at the end of October. I hope that my advice and guidance has given her the additional support and confidence needed to get the business off the ground.

www.tosier.co.uk 

 

Developing a strategy & plan - Spoon Cereals

Spoon Cereals is an ambitious start-up granola brand with backing from Dragon's Den investors Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones. The founders, Annie Morris and Jonny Shimmin, asked me to help them distill their many marketing and communications ideas and develop an actionable plan to work to over the next 12 months.

I led several workshops with the founders to draw out all their ideas and agree how to position Spoon as a lifestyle brand - clean, healthy, fresh, confident and focussed on quality. I made recommendations on how to develop the Spoon story about Annie and Jonny’s passion, their business journey and ambitions and create a tone of voice.

I reviewed their branding, packaging, event strategy, social media activity and connections with influencers. We carried out detailed research into the UK breakfast market and competitive granola brands to identify where Spoon should fit in the marketplace and how they should position their messaging to make their product stand out and raise awareness of their brand outside their London heartland.

When I started working with Spoon in September 2015 the products were only available in a number of independent retailers in London including Daylesford and Harvey Nichols but a launch in Ocado and 120 Sainsbury's stores was in the pipeline for November. With these major launches Spoon needed to work out how to punch above their weight in the crowded breakfast cereal market.

As a result of my involvement Spoon have a detailed marketing strategy to share with their funders and buyers and a detailed communications plan their small team can work to on a daily basis.

I hope that in 2016 there will have the opportunity to work with Spoon Cereals again as their business grows.

Getting off the ground - Hodmedods

Hodmedod sources British grown pulses and quinoa and sells directly to the public and toindependent retailers.

When Nick Saltmarsh and Josiah Meldrum founded the business in 2012 we led a marketing workshop to help identify their key messages and audience before creating some introductory info for food writers, journalists and chefs. We used our large network of contacts to generate interest in the Hodmedods story and products resulting in Hodmedods building a long term relationship with River Cottage, press coverage in The Guardian and reference in Jane Baxter & Henry Dimbleby’s Leon Fast Veg book published in 2013.

By 2014 Hodmedods had achieved a great reputation amongst the public and the food world and we regrouped to review the current marketing strategy with a half day workshop and detailed marketing strategy for the team to follow as they continue to strengthen the brand, launch new products and tap into new audiences.