food for thought

Reputation and Community Building: Events and Networking

With your 2024 marketing planning and smart budgeting in mind, we’re dishing up a new series of easy PR tips on our social and our blog, here. We’re sharing some often-overlooked or misunderstood basics on how to build your business with reputation- and community-building tactics including working with the press, partnerships, events, and awards.

Today, we’re discussing how to build your business by building your community through events and networking. Tune in next week for part two, Reputation and Community Building: Partnership Marketing.


Events are an awesome way to network and connect with others over shared passions. Long-lasting and mutually-beneficial relationships are formed from figuring out what others need, and offering various ways your business/product(s) can help them. 

The most successful networkers build genuine relationships and give more than they receive. They go beyond thinking, “What’s in it for me?” and instead ask: “How can I help?”

Before an event, think through what you want to talk about, particularly how you may be able to help other people, either now or in the future.  People love to be connected with, and to work with, people who are clearly excited about helping them – with no ulterior motive. Get clear on what talents, strengths, skill sets and connections you have to offer. This means: 

  • Forgetting your personal agenda
  • Never dismissing anyone as unimportant
  • Introducing people to each other who might be a good fit for working together
  • Figuring out how you can be useful. Memorize these two key phrases: “If you need anything, please reach out to me, or connect via LinkedIn,” and, if there’s truly no relationship to be built here, this one: “Well, it was great to meet you!” – and move on.
  • Following up and following through: make a quick note about what you discussed on their business card or in your phone before you move on to the next person, then make sure to follow up with them 1-2 business days later.

As a food-based business, here are some events to consider attending:

2024 Winter Fancy Food Show January 21-23Las Vegas, NVCPG Brands 
International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New YorkMarch 3-5Javits Center, NYRestaurant/Food Service Operations
National Grocers Association (NGA) ShowMarch 10-12Las Vegas, NVFood retail/manufacturing
Natural Products Expo WestMarch 12-16Anaheim, CACPG Brands
Food Safety SummitMay 6-9Rosemont, ILAgriculture/CPG
The Sweets & Snacks ExpoMay 14-16Indianapolis, INCPG Brands
2024 Summer Fancy Food ShowJune 23-25New York, NYCPG Brands 
Organic Produce SummitJuly 10-11Monterey, CAAgriculture
Plant Based World Expo North AmericaSept 7-8Javits Center, NYFood Systems/Food Service
Natural Products Expo EastSept 20-23Philadelphia, PACPG Brands
America’s Food and Beverage ShowSept 18-20Miami Beach, FLCPG Food/Beverage
BioFach AmericaSept 21-23Philadelphia, PAOrganic Products

Make sure to check out Part Two and Part Three of this series on Reputation and Community Building:

Reputation and Community Building Part Two: Partnership Marketing

Reputation and Community Building Part Three: Industry Recognition

If you still have questions about networking and how building community can build your business, let’s connect! We love helping food and natural products brands grow their reach through events and relationship-building. Let’s see what good we can do together. 

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