Janet Helm, Executive Vice President – Consumer for Weber Shandwick’s Food & Nutrition Group; Ted Souder, Google’s Head of Industry – Retail both deeply immersed in today’s tech and comms trends through their work – jointly presented on the tools we need to know to operate at our peak this century. We took notes – with great interest and focus – from these experts’ accumulated wisdom.

Janet (MS, RD) is a writer, former Academy media spokesperson, frequent TV presenter in the US and nutrition communications pro, whose passion is “translating nutrition science into intelligible words – and healthy food choices”. As she puts it in her bio, “I want to help people make sense of nutrition news. I don’t think it needs to be complicated or confusing.”


She opened her FNCE presentation by declaring that today, everyone can be an “expert”, thanks to the Internet – consumers, especially. Hence, she noted, we need to meet consumers where they are, in terms of their level of knowledge.


Some tips from Janet on how to reach consumers with our messages:

  • Use multiple touch points [meaning, not just Facebook, but multiple platforms; different mediums, like podcasts and webinars; emails, e-newsletters and blog posts; etc.]
  • Talk about your food philosophy – know your storyline and stick to it
  • Find your niche – the audience most likely to be receptive to your messages, and in need of your counsel
  • Tap into crowd culture – meaning, find ways to have your messages carried by others – make them simple and catchy enough to resonate and be shared on
  • Parlay your personal story with authenticity and authority [transparency and being real is key to making authentic connections with your audience, as well as being accurate and dependable in your information]
  • Change the conversation – advance a point of view
  • Propel a movement around a cause or topic
  • Monetise your communications – think e-books, paid webinars, subscriptions, etc.
  • Every one of us is a media dietitian – even if we don’t consider ourselves to be!


Here are some dietitians Janet highlighted that you may wish to follow, if you aren’t already:

Her co-presenter, Ted, referenced concept of “moonshot thinking” at Google. He asked us, “What if?” His point was, what if we started all our conversations with “What if?”, and started to get comfortable with being UNcomfortable, and took bigger risks?

Ted suggested taking inspiration from people like Tesla’s Elon Musk – to think about how you can dream big, then apply that to your setting.

Next, in talking about the emerging trend of leveraging artificial intelligence, he pointed to Google Home [smart speakers developed by Google to offer hands-free help] as a prime example.  Google Home can assist consumers in making recipes or obtaining a weather forecast – using just a voice conversation with the speaker. The product saves time and potentially money, while making lives easier. FYI – it’s available in Australia now.

To close out his remarks, Ted gave us a great resource: he shared a fascinating video on social media from Erik Qualman, motivational speaker and author of the bestseller “Socialnomics”. You can view the video here.

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