Nutrition Marketing That Wins Through Partnerships

Teaming up with a well known lifestyle brand that endorses your food brand gives you an immediate leg up on the competition.

I credit CrossFit (the high intensity workout methodology for those living under rocks) with being the impetus for changing me from a dad bod, nutrition aimless, appropriately aging guy — in other words, I could have dropped dead at any minute.

So when my sport aligns itself with a food brand, guess how I’ll feel about that brand — you got it, pretty damn hungry for that brand. And that’s what CrossFit has done. According to Food Dive author Patti Zarling, “Exercise giant CrossFit has teamed with meat company Strauss Food to market a selection of grass-fed beef and free-range chicken. These will be first be sold via subscription box, but the products will eventually retail in more than 3,000 grocery stores across the U.S.”

And this isn’t the first partnership of this type between a food brand and a fitness/nutrition brand, as Ms. Zarling goes on, “In January, Hormel Foods’ Applegate announced a partnership with Whole 30, a trendy elimination diet. Seventeen of Applegate’s meat products now feature a Whole30 seal of approval — meaning the products don’t include grains, legumes or sweeteners.”

With your food brand constantly looking for ways to grow market share and consumers 100% confused over which brands to buy, why is this alignment strategy a good one?

  • You instantly pick up a ton of new arm’s-length consumers. For instance, CrossFit has more than 7,000 Affiliates (gyms) in North America alone. Let’s say each of those gyms has an average of just 100 members — that’s 700,000 new people that will know about the Strauss partnership — because in a close-knit community like ours, word travels fast.
  • You look so much better to your retailers — because all those new customers of yours could become customers of theirs — especially if you tell them to “visit these stores to find our new products.”
  • You gain instant authenticity, respect and a shiny expert’s glow — you think Whole30 devotees or CrossFit maniacs are going to grill (sorry) these meat producers once they get a sniff (sorry) of these alliances? Not really much of a chance.

Okay, you’re sold. What kind of partnerships should you look for?

  • Your prospective partners need to align with your brand. Health goes with health, fun goes with fun, etc. Get together with a small team and brainstorm some good potential partnerships — first define your brand, then find partner brands that match.
  • Search for partners that are a similar size — don’t go for a Goliath if you’re still a David. Match up in terms of attitude and latitude.
  • Find someone you like and respect — you’re going to be in business with these people. Be sure to thoroughly vet the personalities involved and find someone with whom you click.

There you go. Get yourself a partnership or two and instantly partner up with a bunch more consumers.

Be digestible. And thanks.

Eric Kiker: Speaker

Author of The Digestible Brand: The Secret Sauce for Marketing Nutrition to the Confused Consumer

Agency Principal/LRXD

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