Interested in f&b public relations? Find out the things you might not know.
Last week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity sit down with Callie Bruhn for an informational interview and discuss public relations in the food and beverage industry. Callie, a senior account executive at Edelman, has experience working with food, wine and lifestyle clients. Although she currently works primarily in the tech industry, her stories and memories provided me with the insight I needed to pursue my career in food and beverage public relations.
She shared five things you can expect from the industry and public relations as a whole.
1. The product cycles are slow.
The wine industry is slow, which is just the nature of it. If you think about it, the actual process of making the product is much different than other industries. If you’re working for a small winery with few products, they’re going to have those current products for much longer than a larger company. You are going to be promoting the same wine for a long time. It’s not as if a new type of pinot is going to be released next week.
2. Creativity is a must.
It’s important in the food and wine industry to be super creative. You must be able to refresh your thinking on a regular basis. The technology industry has a natural news cycle and you’re given a lot of information. Whereas, with food and beverage, you really have to push yourself to make great stores and figure out what you should promote. Is it a great recipe? Is it a great chef? Are there interesting wine makers? Is the wine itself interesting? Instead of pitching your product and seeing what happens, you have to almost work backwards. You have to find the opportunities that already exist and figure out how you can fit the product into them.
3. It’s all so related.
You can’t beat the perks. You’ll have the opportunity to experience a lot of great food and drink a lot of great wine. However, with public relations, they’re all just products. Whether you’re working in food, tech or healthcare, you’ll use the same skills. You will do the same types of things and ultimately, you’ll really tell similar stories. Be open to whatever falls in front of you because it’s all so related. The ability to write well and have good grammar is applicable everywhere. That’s what’s important.
4. Double, triple, quadruple check.
After making a mortifying error, Callie expressed the importance of mistakes and the things you will learn from them. “It was eye-opening in terms of being really diligent; always double, triple, quadruple checking. It put a bit of the fear of God in me,” she said. You don’t necessarily realize how important things are to people until you make a mistake. You will learn more from your mistakes than from your successes.
5. Take what you can get.
Cast a wide net and put yourself out there as much as you can to see if anything sticks. Wherever you land, despite how bad things are or how exhausted you may seem, it will all work out in the end. Callie mentioned that we’re in a culture now where everyone seems to be having a life crisis when they’re 25 years old. It’s unnecessary. Getting used to the 9-5 life cycle is a huge adjustment, so take things in strides. It’s important to realize that every opportunity you get is important and will help you, regardless. Even if you can’t find a job right away and are working at Starbucks for six months, you will learn a ton from working there. If you’re nice and smile, everything will work out.
Callie provided me with the precise information I was looking for. It is my hope that her expertise will guide you as much as it has guided me.