Memes to Meals: Reverse engineering social to bricks and mortar
Friday 9th February
What do you do after achieving social media domination? Open a restaurant of course! This is exactly what Jungle Creations CEO and Founder, Jamie Bolding did. He spoke to us to dish on his journey from memes to meals.
You may not have heard of Jungle Creations, but you have definitely encountered one of their videos on your Facebook or Instagram feed at least once in your social media lifetime. With popular channels including VT, Food Envy and Bosh, Jungle Creations has become the most viewed company on social media!
Led by Jamie Bolding, this media and marketing company is a content behemoth which owns and operates 12 social media brands. Primarily focusing on video content, each of the 12 channels highlight different topics ranging from fitness to food to parenting and even veganism. Collectively, their following numbers are north of 50 million and growing by one million every month.
Started three and a half years ago, Jungle Creations’ flagship brand VT has enjoyed meteoric growth in its Facebook following through the creation of fun and engaging content and videos on their site. Recognising an opportunity to grow other social media channels, Jungle Creations eventually branched out into food content with Twisted being one of four food channels that we know and love today. Twisted broke through the noise from other competing content creators by sharing recipes of food that are familiar, fun and accessible to the novice home cook, while putting its eponymous twist on those recipes. A year and a half since inception, Twisted now commands a healthy following of over 10m across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Since launching Twisted, Jamie and his team have seen success as they breezily rack up 300-400m views each month. Never ones to sit still, in 2017 the team also launched their delivery-only restaurant Twisted London, which brings you the closest you’ll ever get to eating what you see on your screen, when you want it, delivered to your doorstep via Deliveroo, UberEats and now Just Eat. For every recipe that is available to order, a fun one-minute recipe shows how their dishes are made, but also acts as nifty marketing content that will get viewers’ juices flowing. Viewers who watch the videos are able to click to order on the video link and the food will arrive within 30 minutes. The team hopes to roll out five more delivery-only restaurants in London and eventually spread globally.
Why they went from video content creators to savvy restaurateurs
The opportunity presented itself last year when a catering company located below the Jungle Creations office was going out of business. They offered Jamie the opportunity to take over the kitchen space and the rest you could almost say was history. The Twisted team had always envisioned bringing the brand offline by turning to real life experiences and their first foray into this was their cookbook. But because food is ultimately something to be tasted and consumed rather than simply watched, Twisted London was born, so that fans of the page could not only watch the mouth-watering videos but also click order and have that meal delivered hot to their door within 30 minutes.
Making the leap from media to F&B e-commerce
By defying the conventional trajectory of first developing the product before seeking an audience, Twisted built their audience before conceiving their product. They have successfully built a trusted brand with a following that enjoys their content, creating a highly engaged community. After having earned the trust of their community, Twisted have great potential to create products that they can share and sell to them.
This gives them an advantage over other restaurants in London as not many can boast a 10m Facebook following let alone communicate to an audience of that scale without employing expensive marketing tactics. By putting their community first and relying on their acumen, the possibilities of future products are endless for Twisted.
Building a solid team of experienced people is also crucial. With a founding team made up of Harry Bamber and Tom Jackson, who have grown the Facebook channel to what it is now, to bringing on an experienced restaurant manager, Engelbert Gamsriegler, who spearheaded the delivery restaurant, Twisted were able to make that seamless transition to F&B business.
Tips to small businesses – make original content for your audience
Decide on the individual voice and the Unique Selling Point of your brand and how you will communicate that across to your audiences. It’s really important to create original and unique content that isn’t seen elsewhere. It’s easy to fall into the practice of looking at what’s doing well elsewhere and copying that. Copying never works. If your content is not unique, original or true to the voice of your brand, it will be harder to build an engaged following online.
For Twisted, there is strength in knowing their audience well because they ultimately guide and dictate Twisted’s content direction. However the common themes that the Twisted team apply to their content are those that break barriers to cooking by being accessible, applicable, easy to follow and slightly mad. Adding a playful last touch is necessary to ensure their content stands out for being original in the highly competitive field of social media content and marketing.
YouTube vs Facebook and Instagram
Despite their multi-million strong following on Facebook and Instagram, Jamie and his team have not yet fully utilised YouTube because it is a completely different platform from Facebook and Instagram. Content is consumed on YouTube in a very different way to other channels. Unlike on Facebook and Instagram where content is served to you, on YouTube audiences actively seek out content they want to consume. Plus Youtube content tends to be longer form so videos made for Facebook and Instagram don’t automatically translate onto YouTube. The potential for cooking and food-related content on YouTube is massive and you need to commit properly to bringing your brand’s personality to the YouTube platform with the right strategy. But watch this space for more of this from Jungle Creations in 2018.
Twisted’s goals for 2018
Jamie and his team have their sights set on consolidating a move offline. They intend to diversify their brand’s dependence on their online following. Having already successfully built their brand online, there are plenty of opportunities to evolve Twisted into a brand that will live in different places and touch people in different ways – the Sky’s really the limit on what they can do in the offline world. Twisted ketchup and mayonnaise anyone? Keep your eyes peeled for exciting projects to come from the Twisted team!
Jamie shared insights at our YFood Tech Wednesdays in January 2018. YFood Tech Wednesdays is our free monthly meetup held every last Wednesday of the month. We get founders, startups, futurepreneurs and larger brands coming together over their interest and passion for Food Tech and we’re always welcoming fresh and familiar faces. Be sure to join us next time for another exciting instalment!
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