What topics in the food/beverage and restaurant sectors most intrigued Marketing Daily readers in 2012?
Not surprisingly, 4 of the year’s 10 most-read articles written by yours truly (some of which are not specifically devoted to those coverage areas) focused on
social media marketing:
*Understanding Social Media ‘Personas’ is Key:
This #1-best-read article was based on a study from Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America and The Integer Group, but the study wasn’t limited to beverages or any other specific category. This research defined four types of frequent social media network users (bonders, sharers, professionals and creators) and offered key insights about their social media behaviors and how to engage them.
More research designed to help marketers better understand consumers as “social” animals, this time specifically in the food marketing arena. This study, from The Hartman Group and Publicis Consultants USA, defined its own types of social users based on an engagement continuum (spectators, dreamers and doers), and advised marketers to create tailored communications strategies for each.
For all of the focus on social media, truly innovative engagement strategies are fairly rare. Other marketers clearly recognized this one from Ben & Jerry’s as an unusually creative concept. Ben & Jerry’s encouraged its Instagram fans to submit themed photos. But the brand didn’t just stop at posting these in an online gallery. Nor did it offer a predictable reward like free ice cream. Instead, B&J excited and motivated its fans by promising to turn about 20 of the submitted photos into “thank-you” ads that would appear in local media (like a local newspaper or billboard) in each of the selected photographer-fans’ home areas. Lots of social initiatives claim to “take engagement to the next level,” but this #FanFotoFriday program really did so.
A case study promising insights about how to increase Facebook ‘likes’ significantly within a single year was bound to draw Marketing Daily readers’ attention. The many who read this piece discovered, however, that Yoplait’s success wasn’t driven by some gimmick. Rather, it resulted from the General Mills brand’s having completely changed its Facebook approach, from one that “talked at” consumers and pushed products to one that offers “authentic” discussions led by a female social engagement manager to whom Yoplait’s fans can really relate.
As usual, articles addressing brand loyalty issues -- of relevance not only in food/beverage but all marketing sectors -- were also big this past year. Two cases in point:
Research from Millward Brown and Jim Stengel ranked the 50 brands showing the fastest growth both in depth of customer relationships and financial value between 2000 and 2010. Even more compellingly, the research offered hard evidence that the “ultimate brand-growth-driver” comes down to having a central ideal or mission that inspires customers and guides corporate/brand business decisions.
The results of Brand Keys’ Customer Loyalty Engagement Index are always major draws for MD readers, and 2012’s results were no exception. Major conclusion from Brand Keys: More than ever, the core drivers of brand loyalty are emotional rather than rational.
Articles about CMOs’ changing roles are also nearly always big draws, and this one made quite a splash:
CMG Partners’ latest “CMO’s Agenda” report, based on in-depth interviews with top marketers, offered critical insights into the core trends affecting the CMO’s role. Equally important, it spelled out how truly “game-changing” CMOs are responding to these trends in order to position themselves most effectively within their organizations.
Other hot topics:
*12 Consumer Trends Affecting Food/Beverages:
If you’re in food/beverage marketing or R&D, you can’t go wrong with the annual trends research from The Hartman Group. In 2012, the firm identified meal fragmentation, eating alone, the snack culture, immediate consumption and the increasingly non-traditional makeup of American families as among the most critical trends.
All marketers want to read about and learn from innovative, successful product launches. The annual Best New Product Awards presented by Better Homes and Gardens and Spark International are particularly intriguing because they are based on consumers’ own votes. This year, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber with Febreze won best overall product launch, as well as its category, household products. Sargento Natural Blends Cheddar-Mozzarella Cheese Snacks won for best launch within food and beverages, and Natural Johnson’s Natural Kids 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash won best within the health and beauty category. As always, there were innovative winners in scores of other categories as well.
The popularity of this article -- about Campbell’s offering limited-edition designs on its condensed soups to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s iconic works “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans” -- just goes to show that MD readers enjoy a fun idea (particularly when it involves a celebrity, dead or alive).