The Food Chain

When most people hear the term ‘food chain,’ they think about big fish eating smaller fish and so on. Not us. We think about how a can of beans might become a viral sensation. Or how to get a new product idea from the focus group to the shelf and ultimately, into a basket. Or a delivery order. Stuff like that. Because that’s the food chain to us.

Even with everything that’s changed in marketing since we opened our doors 35 years ago, a lot of agencies still focus on the campaign. The promotion. The social media. The words. The pictures. It’s always been a pretty myopic way to look at marketing. But now, it’s borderline irresponsible.

There have never been more moving parts. People. Levels. Disciplines. There have never been so many things involved that need to work together to achieve success. And while it seems daunting and complicated, it is. It just doesn’t have to be.

At Donovan, we have always been involved in the behind-the-scenes inner workings of marketing. We know most brand managers spend about 5-10% of their time on creative, the ‘fun stuff’ as they say. The rest, the meat and potatoes of getting their job done is spent on ensuring product quality. Delivery. Shelf space. Out of stocks. Slotting dollars (or whatever euphemism you want to use). And the list goes on. Ever wonder why someone marketing cheese in the midwest may be concerned about a drought in New Zealand? We don’t. Because we know.

Thing is these days, the food chain extends beyond getting it into a consumer’s basket and onto his table. Food has become validation. That I can cook. That I’m worldly. A taste tourist. I feed my kids. They love it. And look, I can prove it because it’s on Instagram!

So if your can of beans can’t help make a meal that makes it to Instagram, don’t look at the beans. Look at your agency. And ask them what they know about the food chain.

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