Starbucks last week released a pink, purple and blue Unicorn Frappucino designed expressly to appeal to the Instagram crowd, members of whom are frequently more concerned with how a beverage photographs than how it tastes. And the ‘grammers came through for the coffee giant, posting 100,000 hashtagged images of the drink within days of its introduction.
Scrolling through those photographs, though, is likely to cause brain freeze: Each picture looks exactly like the next. That’s one of the problems that a team of local entrepreneurs hope to tackle tonight at a food-themed Dig South event.
“People like to be connected to the person behind the photo,” says freelance chef Sarah Adams, who teamed up with Plateful Solutions and Simple Booth to create the Upload Shindig, a networking event designed to merge food and tech in mutually beneficial ways. “Sometimes I think people want to know you’re a real person.”
And according to Adams, one of the best ways to accomplish that (even if she sometimes feels awkward about doing it) is going the selfie route: When a person’s face is part of an image, it immediately erases all questions about whether the photograph is original or reposted. So at Upload Shindig, guests will be invited to pose with Adams’ dishes in a digital photo booth created by Simple Booth.
Each selfie will be stamped with branding graphics linking back to the event, but the promotional opportunities for Adams extend beyond two dimensions. Plateful Solutions, which is based in Charleston, specializes in digital marketing for food companies.
In this case, that means the selfies that attendees take with shrimp dumplings will arrive in their e-mail inboxes with recipes and videos showcasing Adams’ role in the event. Adams describes the confluence of strategies as “a digital trail of breadcrumbs to drive guests to my platform while giving the consumer something of value in return.”
All too often, Adams says, chefs and food event planners fail to properly capitalize on the opportunity to cultivate an audience by creating memories that outlast a meal.
“How can we suck people into an adventure?” she asks.
At Upload Shindig, the answer is a “three-tiered eating journey,” featuring dishes inspired by Adams’ recent travels in Southeast Asia. At least one of them may involve chicken feet.
“We’ve made the experience very playful and interactive, which will hopefully strike a deeper chord then your normal food event,” Adams says.
Tickets to Upload Shindig are priced at $50. For more information, or to register, visit https://digsouthinnovationconferenc2017.sched.com/tickets. Or follow along at home, via http://sarahpadams.com, starting at 9 a.m., or http://www.instagram.com/sarah.p.adams, once the event is underway.