Julius Profiles: Dori Fern

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On this episode, we spoke to Dori Fern, the content marketing lead at Neustar Marketing Solutions, about her perspective on influencer marketing in the food industry. Not only is she a marketer, she’s an avid cook, who's done everything from developing recipes to creating marketing strategies for some of the top food brands in the world.

Takeaways from this episode include:

  • How influencers helped democratize food on social media
  • Influencers tell stories about food to engage their audience
  • What marketers miss when working with foodies

 

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About our guest:

Dori Fern (@DoriFern) leads the content marketing practice for Neustar Marketing Solution. She has previously led content marketing strategy efforts for brands like Kraft Foods and Barilla at MXM (now Accenture Interactive) and received a culinary arts diploma from the Institute of Culinary Education in 2011. Dori is a New York native who currently lives in Brooklyn. She loves teaching young adults (and culinarily-insecure older adults) how to cook.

Key episode insights:

How influencers helped democratize food on social media

The word foodie means something different to everyone. Though anyone with a smartphone and a full plate of food can post a picture, Dori suggests that there is a difference between someone who is “going for the super sky high ice cream cone” and people “who have more of that interest to actually cook and are looking for the inspiration of recipe ideas.”

Differences aside, that foodies of all kinds can coexist on social media is a testament to how influencers have helped changed the face of food. “The nimble nature of social means we see much greater representation and much greater diversity of all sorts in the food world.”

Influencers help lead this charge, bringing new foods and ideas to a globally engaged platform.

Influencers tell stories about food to engage their audience

To sustainably and consistently engage foodies on social media, it takes more than just a pretty picture of a plate of food. Influencers nowadays tell stories about the food they're eating or making, to give their audience deeper, richer context.

“There are two people that come to mind as really having started what’s common among food bloggers and influencers of all sorts; using stories to show how recipes are made...Jennifer Perillo and Lucinda Scala Quinn

Dori cites these women as pioneers in a trend that’s taken food on social media by storm.

Dori points out that live-streaming is one of several new ways that food influencers can tell the stories of their recipes, bringing their audience even closer than ever before: “You can use the feedback you're getting from people in real time to influence what you're doing.”

And whether they’re writing blogs about the origin of a recipe, live-streaming their kitchen, or just engaging their audience with questions, influencers can bring people closer than ever before to new food experiences. “I don't think anybody's saying you have to do food content any one way, which is kind of what's cool about it. “

What marketers miss when thinking about foodies

Although food influencers are engaging their audiences like never before on social, there’s some things that marketers are still missing with branded food content. First and foremost, Dori argues, they have a tendency to pigeonhole food influencers.

“I think that one of the things that brands tend to miss when they go when they engage with influencers is the fact that most food influencers also have something else to talk about.”

They might be known for their cooking, but Dori suggests that many have alternative interests that their audience is engaged with as well. For example, a food influencer who loves to grill and smoke meats might also love to drive and repair trucks. There’s not just diversity in food content, but within the food influencers themselves.

All this amounts to Dori’s main recommendation: “Marketers need to expand their thinking about what's top of mind for people. And it doesn't just have to be people who declare a lifestyle around something.”

That means looking at influencers holistically, not just as vessels for advertisements. Embracing their diverse backgrounds, interests, and capabilities can help marketers reach their audience, while keeping them ahead of the curve.

“If you look beyond what looks like you, and this is probably a lesson that goes way beyond food, you're going to stay on top of what's going on.”

 

Subscribe to the Julius Profiles Podcast:

Apple Podcasts | RSS Feed | Google | Stitcher |

TuneIn | Spotify | Android

Subscribe to the Julius Profiles podcast for more interviews and stories with people like Dori, who lend their expertise as avid consumers of influencer content to help marketers level up their influence.

July 31, 2019
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