In general Australian FMCG brands were late starters in the use of digital media. Now many have used their mass market penetration to play ‘catch up’ through promotions and other incentives to generate Facebook fans. The results, according to social media analysts, are Facebook pages that are high on fans but low on engagement. Essentially, compared to other industries, fewer people interact with or talk about FMCG brands once they are ‘signed up’ to them.
There are some exceptions. Brands with a youth market franchise tend to do better – notably snacks and soft drinks. These have bolder personalities, and connections to popular culture and social enjoyment to leverage.
Arguably brands with cuisine credentials also have advantages. This gives them more degrees of freedom for content creation such as ingredient and origin stories, photography (i.e. ‘food porn’) and, of course, recipes.
But the majority of FMCG brands, with their more staple product offers, are inherently more limited in what they can do to engage followers. According to research conducted by Facebook itself, engagement is about having interesting content, with messages related to the brand (but not specifically about its products) being the most successful generators of engagement.
So what do you do if your brand operates in a ‘boring’ category? First make sure you’ve done everything you can to understand and spell out your brand story. Every brand has dimensions to it beyond its products that may be used to create messages.
But in most cases just talking about these dimensions won’t be enough to drive strong engagement. What FMCG brands need to do is find more imaginative ways to convey them. Here are some thought starters as to how to go about developing engaging initiatives.
Tailor the initiative to the channel
There is a growing perspective that – in today’s fragmented media landscape – brands need to prioritise exploiting the strengths of an individual medium over the traditional approach of extending the same brand idea across all media. However many brands simply treat their Facebook Page as a print ad or brochure, posting static images and messages. Facebook – like many digital options – allows for interactive, real time and personalised involvement and brands should look to employ these capabilities.
Make it ‘unmistakeable’
Differentiation is a cornerstone of marketing. But a lot of Facebook content is common across brands within specific categories, for example food shots and serving suggestions. Of course not every piece of content can be distinctive, but brands should ensure major initiatives stand out from competitors.
Create an experience
Don’t just inform or amuse. Create something than customers can interact with. If you can create an experience that people spend time with it is more likely to be remembered, talked about and shared.
One example of these points in practice is Glorious Foods! Global Taste Map. Another is Melkunie’s Cow Bingo.
Melkunie is a Dutch brand of dairy products that was deleted in 2001 following a corporate merger. The brand has been relaunched in 2012 with it reprising its previous award winning, quirky advertising. This involves its original slogan “All good comes from Mekunie cows”, and actor Peer Mascini ‘co-presenting’ the ads with Melkunie cows in unexpected situations.
Apparently the ads had such resonance that Melkunie retained top-of-mind awareness of 78% amongst Dutch consumers, even ten years after being taken off supermarket shelves. This was a major factor in retailers agreeing to re-range the brand in a category that has become dominated by Private Label.
Given this, it is particularly notable that Melkunie has chosen to launch its Facebook Page not with extensions of its advertising, but with a promotion that involves live betting on their cows.
Named “Cow Bingo”, players can select the five cows they think will leave their paddock first each day to go on their ‘bingo board’ via a Facebook app. They can then tune in at 4pm to watch the draw live via webcam as the cows are walked off to be milked. Each cow wears a strap with an ID chip around her neck and when they leave the paddock, they trigger a scanner. This tells the Melkunie Facebook page which numbers have been ‘drawn’.
The first five cows out of the paddock mark the winners, who win a weekend with Feather Down Farms in the Netherlands. Interestingly people don’t have to ‘Friend’ Melkunie to participate; though they can get an extra bingo card for doing so.
Image Credits: Melkunie
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