Branded Food Trucks
Experiential marketing is an excellent way to connect personally with your customers and leave them with a positive impression of your brand. Whether you’re launching a new product, opening a new store location, or just trying to boost brand awareness, a branded food truck can accelerate you towards your goal.
A lot goes into a food truck advertising campaign, though, so we created this quick guide to help you out. Understanding these basics will help you better plan and execute a successful campaign.
WHAT IS FOOD TRUCK ADVERTISING?
Food truck advertising is a form of experiential marketing that provides your customers with an active experience to get up close and personal with your brand. It serves as a mobile billboard that allows your audience to interact with your brand in a uniquely engaging way.
HOW DOES FOOD TRUCK ADVERTISING WORK?
Food truck advertising provides you with a mobile billboard to showcase your brand and products — therefore growing your exposure. By pairing your campaign with food and drink, you can engage with your customers personally and leave a memorable, positive impression on them.
To create a meaningful food truck advertising campaign, you have to consider a few things:
- Your audience
- Your brand
- Your goals
First, you must know your audience. Understand their passions, any hobbies/interests they share, cultural movements they support, etc.
Then, think about your brand. What does it stand for? Consider your mission statement, your values, your product, etc.
Next, look for intersections between these two worlds. These intersections will help you begin creating concepts for an experiential marketing campaign that connects with your target audience.
You’ll also want to determine your goals for the campaign. Are you trying to raise awareness for a new store location you’re opening? Or are you looking to create buzz around a new product you’re launching?
Once you have these in mind, you can begin to plan your campaign.
4 KEY STEPS
TO LAUNCH YOUR CAMPAIGN
1. NAIL THE DETAILS
Now, it’s time to figure out the date, time, and location of your experiential marketing campaign — as well as the number of people you expect to serve.
2. PICK THE CUISINE
Next, you’ll pick what kinds of food you want to give out at your truck. Creating a custom menu lets you cultivate a unique experience for your customers and leave them thinking more highly of your brand.
Picking the exact types of food and drink partially comes back to knowing your audience, but you should also factor in location and time of year.
For example, don’t serve ice cream in the middle of winter. Likewise, hot chocolate might not be the best choice in July.
To complement your food/drink, consider branding the packaging such as branded cups, food items, and napkins. Doing so can further increase your brand recognition.
3. CUSTOMIZE YOUR FOOD TRUCK EXPERIENCE
The sky’s the limit when it comes to customization. Aside from wrapping your truck with custom branded graphics, adding fabrications to food trucks is a simple way to set the experience apart from the pack.
For example, hanging a steel LED decal of your logo on the side of the truck or adding a giant shoe for a shoe giveaway is sure to create an Instagram moment.
4. GO LIVE
Finally, it’s time to go live. Your food truck travels to the location you planned, and you get to serve hundreds or even thousands of happy customers.
WHY DOES FOOD TRUCK ADVERTISING WORK SO WELL?
1. Personalized Engagement.
Food truck advertising lets you create real-life, one-to-one engagement with customers. You can interact directly with your customers and leave a personal, lasting impression on each one.
Not to mention, people love food. Giving people food — whether it’s free or paid — will leave them thinking positively about your brand.
2. Increased Visibility.
Putting a food truck out into a busy area will get thousands of eyeballs on your brand. Whether people visit your truck or not, they’re bound to at least talk about it to other people.
2. Introduce Customers to Your Product and Brand.
Having a branded food truck on the street makes it possible to introduce your brand and products to new customers who might otherwise not see your store or visit your website.
WHEN TO USE A BRANDED FOOD TRUCK?
Here are some ways you can use a branded food truck to your advantage:
- New product launches. You could do product giveaways, hire brand ambassadors, and set up photo booths to propel your product launch into the spotlight.
- Store openings. Bring a branded truck to your new storefront’s grand opening to draw attention to and create a buzz around the new location.
- Conferences/Expos. Bringing a branded truck to a conference or expo relevant to your target audience can be powerful for brand awareness. Serve food for every meal throughout the day to keep customers coming back to your truck, and hand out a free sample of your product if you can.
- Cultural movements/Cultural events. Capitalize on cultural movements or events if your brand is relevant. For example, an apparel brand might give out free underwear on National Underwear day.
- Holiday Season. Take advantage of New York’s foot traffic during the holidays and get in the spirit with hot chocolate and holiday giveaways.
- General Brand Awareness/ Engagement. Do a lot of your customers shop online? Re-up the brand awareness by taking to the streets in a branded food truck to drive traffic to your physical stores. Another way could be to make and brand a food or drink item, such as coffee, and bring it to customers in a food truck throughout the year.
TIPS & INSIGHTS FOR FOOD TRUCK BRANDING
1. Make Your Brand Stand Out
Focus on one key message while making your brand stand out.
Ensure every customization choice — from the truck wraps to the product packaging — authentically represents your brand.
2. The Cost of Food Truck Branding
Food truck branding is a cost-effective marketing strategy. A base budget to expect is around 15-20k for wrapping a truck, food truck staff, and a full day of brand activation. Keep in mind that extra customizations and a longer campaign time can increase costs.
3. Pick the Right Location
When it comes to location, you have to go where your customers go. Look for especially busy areas, common points of interest, events (such as festivals), and more.
Again, consider your specific audience when looking for a location. Know where they like to hang out.
4. Selling vs. Giving Away
Selling merchandise can earn you more revenue, but it might require you to get an additional vendor license.
Most brands opt for giveaways as it can increase their exposure and brand engagement. Customers are likely to create a buzz about free items coming from your brand.
5. Handing in graphics
Expect to hand in graphics such as promotional material and truck wraps at least two weeks before the activation.
6. Time to Wrap
Wrapping your food truck takes at least a day, depending on complexity. Factor the wrapping time into your campaign timeline.
7. Brand Ambassadors
Consider hiring brand ambassadors to join your branded food truck promotion, in order to bring more foot traffic and raise face to face engagement with your marketing activation.
8. Street Activities
Go beyond the truck and use the street real estate to increase engagement with activities such as prize wheels, product signings, and showrooms.
LET THE PROFESSIONALS HELP
Whether you’ve run food truck advertising campaigns in the past or this is your first time, partnering with a company that can handle all the hard stuff can ensure a successful campaign — with minimal stress on your part. Pick someone that you can hand your campaign off to, and they’ll make it happen.
NYFTA provides you a turn-key experiential marketing service to help raise your brand’s awareness. We’ll handle the boring details. You sit back and enjoy the results of a fantastic food truck advertising campaign. Let’s start planning your campaign today.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes, certain specialty vehicles can serve alcohol at your event, but the event needs to meet certain legal requirements (i.e. take place on private property). You’re more than welcome to discuss the logistics and details of this further with a member of the NYFTA team!
Our vendors work so hard to ensure that your event is spectacular in any way. Any tips and gratuity will be greatly appreciated.
You can try to book a food truck at any point, but we recommend 4 to 6 weeks from the day of the event.
The number of people a truck can serve depends on the menu offerings, but on average, it can serve 100-150 people per hour when cooking and other preparation is involved. If you have a large number of guests in a short time window, we can have trucks pre-package meals to expedite the process significantly and serve a great number of people.