Better Together: When Outside Collaboration Makes Sense
By Andrea Luttrell, RDN, LDN – Corporate Dietitian, Big Y – Your Family Market
Regardless of how big your retail dietitian team is or which department you report to, there will come a time when the tools and resources available within your organization may be limited, and outside support can be what your program needs to truly succeed. Here are examples of partners that exist and how they can help you level up your nutrition offerings – especially if your company is already collaborating with these outside organizations.
Oftentimes, retailers will work with creative agencies to develop effective marketing based on your organization’s voice. They may be responsible for content and video development; script writing; media buying; recipe development; photography and more. By developing relationships with your company’s agency, you can lean on them when artistic support is needed. Don’t be afraid to request that any nutrition-related articles they produce receive your final approval before going into production. The customer should not be able to differentiate content being written by outside copywriters versus your dietitian team – so be sure to communicate what your voice and practices are. For example, you may share that positive food messaging, food safety prompts in recipes or highlighting certain programs like National Family Meals Month is most important to your team. By staying well connected and communicating effectively, everyone wins.
Digital Media & Marketing Agency
SEO, anyone? If you’re not familiar with things like Search Engine Optimization, working with a digital agency can help ensure your content development is done with purpose so more people can find and read the valuable content you work hard to develop. Whether it’s helping you come up with article titles that will draw more views or helping with key word optimization, these partners are vital to getting your nutrition messaging seen. Additionally, if working with platforms you may not be comfortable with, such as Pinterest or TikTok, these agencies can share best practices for reaching the right shopper at the right time with the right message.
Many dietitian programs rely on brand funding, and most nutrition professionals have not been trained to do this type of selling, managing of assets and billing – nor do they have the time and energy to manage such responsibilities. Instead, connect with shopper marketing teams your retailer may be working with to sell other marketing programs. Since they are already reaching out to brands, they can be trained to offer additional nutrition marketing opportunities to your retailer’s vendor pool and get increased participation while allowing you to have final say when it comes to the products your RDs promote.
Video Production Studio
Does your retailer have a full production team of videographers, photographers, video editors AND a filming kitchen? If you’re lucky enough to have all of these, working with an outside video production studio is probably not needed! If you have limited or no access to these types of services, a partnership can turn your creative ideas into reality. Whether you’re hoping to produce more recipe videos; record podcasts or take filming into your own hands, working with a production studio can become a valuable partnership when it comes to producing timely and professional-looking content to supplement your program’s services.
Attribute & Tagging Solutions
While many of us wish we had the time to walk the aisles with every single shopper who needs assistance, typically it’s just not possible. By offering robust attribute programs, these partners can flag products based on what your priorities are. For example, you may want to pick your top ranked attributes depending on the populations you serve and highlight anything from Dietitian Pick and Whole Grain foods to Low Sodium and Sustainably Sourced options. Being able to have search functionality on your e-commerce platforms and printable shopping lists based on consumer needs are additional advantages when it comes to working with an attribute & tagging solutions company.
Recipe Analyst Partners
Since 2018, food retailers with more than 20 locations have been required to provide posted calorie information and have complete nutrition facts data available for customers to review for many prepared food options. While some organizations look to their dietitians for recipe analysis and implementation, it’s important to realize limitations in dietitian training to accurately calculate this information – as well as the amount of workload this can add to daily job duties. By working with partners who are trained in recipe analysis and regulatory affairs, you can be sure your customers are receiving the most accurate and transparent information available while keeping your focus on other important tasks.