Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Food and drink sector, social business, digital economy report
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Food and drink sector, social business, digital economy report


Published on

The Ahain Group has carried out an extensive analysis of on-line activity within the food and Drink sector. We considered the impacts of Social Business on primary food producers, food companies and …

The Ahain Group has carried out an extensive analysis of on-line activity within the food and Drink sector. We considered the impacts of Social Business on primary food producers, food companies and local artisan food producers, with a focus on the US, UK and Ireland.

Websites, email and use of Social Media are all playing evermore important roles within the Food and Drink sector. The majority of brands and producers realise that there are huge revenue advantages to entering the on-line space, with excellent potential returns on investment.

A survey of 103 top level executives in the Food and Drink Industry showed that 63% agreed that Social Media was impacting the Food and Drink sector and that a significant number were using email or mobile marketing.

Beverage companies Red Bull and Coca Cola lead the table in the number of overall views of their YouTube channels as the creative content in their advertising is fresh, exciting and engaging.

It includes:

• A detailed analysis on use of Social Media by both global and Irish food and drink sector brands
• Crisis management case studies of how food and drink brands have dealt with positive and negative online communications
• Examples of how food and drink brands have combined food with tourism

Eileen McCabe, Associate at The Ahain Group and report co-author, said “There is huge diversity in the implementation of a strategic, social online presence within the Food and drink Industry. Those who facilitate long term planning and embrace the digital spectrum have achieved outstanding results whilst those with an online presence but without the benefit of a strategic plan, have yet to achieve the results that await them online.”

For more information, contact The Ahain Group:


Published in: Technology, Business
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. Social Business Food and Drink Sector By Eileen McCabe, Greg Fry & John Twohig
  • 2. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 2 Table of Contents Executive Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..… 3 Some Issues in the Food Sector ……………………………………………………………………………..…………………….……... 5 On-line Activity in the Food & Drink Sector ………………………………………………………..…….…………………………. 8 UK and Ireland Food & Drink Companies …………………………………………………..……………………………….………. 24 Local and Artisan Produce ………………………………………..………………….…………………………………………..………… 35 Combining Food with Tourism …………………………………………………..……………………………..………………………… 39 Crisis Management ………………………………………………………..…………………………………………………………………... 43 Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………….……………… 50
  • 3. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 3 Executive Summary The Food & Drink Sector Food production is of major importance to the economy of a country, whether it is by virtue of its value to sustainability, exports, job creation or to consumer consumption. In Ireland, for instance, it is the biggest indigenous sector, accounting for some 7.7% of GDP, 10.8% of Ireland’s exports and 8% of total employment. The Irish economist, David McWilliams, is recently quoted as saying “food is politics and politics is food” as he detailed the cyclical impact of food production on the global economy in his regular Punk Economics1 slot. A Frost & Sullivan analysis verifies this, showing that the total revenue within the Food & Drink sector in 2011 formed nearly 30% of the world’s economy - this equated to over $20 trillion worldwide.2 This global value of the sector has an impact on the consumer as global boundaries recede in the digital age and more and more real-time Social conversation takes place around food. In an issue of Food Science & Technology3 , a paper warned that companies within the Food & Drink sector should be taking the time to sift through on-line conversation in order to gather information and to educate. An on-line conversation can have an enormous positive or negative impact. However, food producers joining the on-line conversation could discuss trending topics, for example, on traceability and integrity within the food industry and in doing so could promote, educate and indeed minimise any negative issues arising, through a strong crisis management strategy. 1 2 industry-value-chain 3
  • 4. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 4 Social Business | Food & Drink Sector Websites, email and use of Social Media are all playing evermore important roles within the Food & Drink sector. The majority of brands and producers realise that there are huge revenue advantages to entering the on-line space, with excellent potential returns on investment. A survey4 of 103 top level executives in the Industry showed that 63% agreed that Social Media was impacting the sector and that a significant number were using email or mobile marketing. Over half of those surveyed have plans to use digital and mobile technologies for external brand promotion and to gain customer insight. Report The Ahain Group has carried out an extensive survey of on-line activity within the sector. It considered the impact of Social Business on primary food producers, food companies and local artisan food producers, with a focus on the US, UK and Ireland and it examined the best practice and some of the crisis management tactics employed in these areas. This Report sets out the principal findings of the survey and the Group’s observations. 4 survey-2012.pdf
  • 5. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 5 Some Issues in the Food sector Primary Producers – Life on the Farm The education trail within the Food sector starts at the point of derivation of the food produce. The U.K. charity, Leaf, conducted a theme linking environment and farming5 and surveyed 2,000 participants. A surprising 36% of 16 – 23 year olds did not know that bacon derived from a pig and 40% failed to appreciate that milk came from a dairy cow. It was also revealed that 30% of respondents born in the 1990’s had not visited a farm in the last ten years, if at all. The disconnect between food production and the end retail produce is also apparent in the USA. The Kansas- based Peterson brothers sought to remedy this by educating with their portrayal of life on a working farm on YouTube. Their video parody ‘I’m Farming and I Grow It’6 went viral with (currently) over 8Million views and 34,000 subscribers on YouTube plus just under 46,000 likes on their Facebook page [see over]. The Petersen brothers describe themselves as ‘agricultural advocates’ and have sparked mass conversations on-line that have created awareness about the food production industry. Integrity in the Food Industry 5 three-youths-dont-know.html 6
  • 6. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 6 Social platforms are also being utilised to highlight the integrity of food produce. Farmers in Australia launched the popular “Ask an Aussie Farmer”7 with Facebook and Twitter accounts, which they describe as ‘an idea grown by real Aussie farmers so you can have your food and fibre questions answered by those who produce it for you.’ The Target 1008 Campaign ‘From the farm to Facebook’9 has also hit Social Media platforms with a commitment by cattle and sheep farmers to ensure a sustainable cattle and sheep industry by 2020. The ethos is to have individual farmers share their stories through Facebook and Twitter and to highlight the industry as well as through videos on their YouTube channel. Increased interaction and engagement through consumer dialogue with farmers, plus regular competitions, has highlighted the integrity of the produce along with a virtual visit to their farms via video. Quality in the Food Industry With a recent strong media focus on the traceability, quality and integrity of food production, the role of organisations that embody these values is vital. The on-line space is a real-time platform that allows these groups to manage the digital conversation around the topic and to stem negative publicity and conversation. More consumers are looking for reassurance that the food they purchase is quality approved to an industry standard and the digital space is an ideal way to affirm the quality message in a timely manner. 7 8 9
  • 7. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 7 The UK developed the Quality Seal of Approval on their produce, utilising the Red Tractor logo as a guarantee of quality, where every step of the process chain has been inspected from farm to pack.10 Raising awareness about the integrity and traceability of food, they share information through a strong Social on-line presence with themed engagement such as #lovepork week interaction portrayed through their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest accounts. Red Tractor used Social Business through sharing rich content, such as video, to highlight the quality standards within their vision. As suppliers of food to the athletes at the London Olympics, they portrayed this in video content that utilised celebrity endorsement and also included graphical representation to highlight statistics relevant to their brand; they have had over 24,000 views on their YouTube channel. Similarly in Ireland, the Irish Food Board, Bord Bia has displayed its quality assurance logo to create awareness of the integrity and traceability within the Irish food Industry. Bord Bia explains: “Where you see Bord Bia Q Mark on a product it means that the product has been produced in accordance with the required Quality Assurance standards … and secondly the flag and the ‘Origin Ireland’ on the mark verify that the product was produced, in its entirety, in Ireland.” 11 Bord Bia also carries this message through to their Social Media accounts in a vivid and engaging manner. It promotes a Quality Kitchen12 through video content on the YouTube channel, which has had over 148,000 views and expands on the viewing content through sharing on the Facebook and Twitter accounts. 10 11 12
  • 8. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 8 The Bord Bia Origin Green Campaign extends the quality ethos into the promotion of sustainability and it has created awareness on-line by using celebrity (Irish actress Saoirse Ronan) endorsement in a video displayed on the website.13 Bord Bia has also used the on-line space to interact with reputable food companies and bloggers, even going so far as to create a page of food photos for blogs and websites to use with the agreement tagged ‘Irish Food’ or ‘Food from Ireland’, thereby extending the reach of the message through other on-line users, appealing to both industry experts and the consumer. On-line Activity in the Global Food and Drink sector Use of Social Business within the global Food & Drink sector is currently very diverse. Most of the top fifty global companies maintain a presence on-line, however their presence can in some ways be fragmented and the overall strategic plans unclear. Companies that specialise or own a multitude of brands either have a clear policy for on-line management across all businesses or give the separate businesses autonomy in managing their own on-line presence, hence the fragmentation. There is a huge diversity in numbers, even amongst the top ten companies with the most Facebook fans; however, these companies appear to excel when the launch of a product is imminent or a particular objective for a project is required in the short term. The best practice, if taken from these campaigns and implemented consistently to build long-term relationships, would most certainly achieve substantial growth in the on-line space. The Table overleaf shows the on-line rankings of the Top Fifty brands. 13
  • 9. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 9 Rank Company Food Sales ($ millions) Rank Company Food Sales ($ millions) 1 Nestlé 83,505 26 Marfrig Group 13,105 2 PepsiCo, Inc. 65,881 27 Smithfield Foods Inc 13,094 3 Kraft Foods 54,365 28 Dean Foods Company 12,765 4 The Coca-Cola Company 46,542 29 Nippon Meat Packers 12,765 5 Archer Daniels Midland Co 42,639 30 Meiji Holdings 12,368 6 Anheuser-Busch InBev 39,046 31 ConAgra Foods Inc 12,303 7 JBS 34,770 32 Ajinomoto 12,050 8 Tyson Foods 32,246 33 Carlsberg 11,860 9 Unilever 31,930 34 H.J. Heinz Company 11,649 10 SABMiller 31,388 35 CHS Inc 11,500 11 Mars 30,000 36 Associated British Foods 11,032 12 Cargill 28,000 37 Bunge 10,845 13 Danone 26,852 38 Grupo Bimbo (Mexico) 10,760 14 Heineken 23,800 39 Yamazaki Baking 10,738 15 Lactalis 20,435 40 Pernod Ricard 10,625 16 Suntory 18,850 41 Arla Foods 10,240 17 Asahi Breweries 18,110 42 Ferrero 10,035 18 Kirin Brewery Co 16,980 43 Maruha Nichiro Holdings 9,965 19 Diageo 15,500 44 Sudzucker 9,720 20 BRF Brasil Foods 15,040 45 Danish Crown 9,655 21 General Mills Inc 14,880 46 Femsa 8,935 22 Fonterra 14,325 47 Sara Lee Corporation 8,681 23 Royal FrieslandCampina 13,380 48 Hormel Foods Corp 7,895 24 Kellogg Company 13,198 49 Campbell Soup Co 7,719 25 Vion 13,190 50 Kerry Group 7,370
  • 10. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 10 Global Food & Drink Brand rankings on Facebook Despite disparity in Social strategy at a corporate level, evidence shows that individual product brands are recognising the importance of maintaining a presence on-line. A review of the top fifty global brands, ordered through the number of Facebook fans, shows a significant increase in both numbers and engagement, as shown on the Table overleaf.
  • 11. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 11 Rank Brand Likes Rank Brand Likes 1 Coca-Cola (Coke) 62,864,789 26 5 Gum 6,856,890 2 Red Bull 37,305,036 27 Ben & Jerry's 6,816,101 3 Starbucks 34,233,556 28 NESCAFÉ 6,409,721 4 Orea 32,881,783 29 Gatorade 6,122,166 5 Skittles 25,098,360 30 Lay's 6,035,399 6 Skittles UK 25,098,360 31 Baskin-Robbins 5,972,239 7 Pringles 23,337,862 32 Hershey's 5,943,157 8 Monster Energy 22,743,925 33 Twix 5,870,541 9 Ferrero Rocher 17,722,781 34 Snickers 5,762,901 10 Nutella 17,290,178 35 Bud Light 5,753,761 11 Kit Kat 15,184,141 36 Kingfisher Beer 5,467,264 12 Dr Pepper 14,975,352 37 Dippin' Dots 5,219,210 13 Sprite 12,752,214 38 Slurpee 4,929,764 14 Heineken 12,393,067 39 Pop - Tarts 4,733,806 15 Starburst 12,186,539 40 Nutella Italy 4,639,174 16 Guarana Antarctica 11,169,108 41 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts 4,626,702 17 Reese's 10,658,521 42 Bacardi 4,396,928 18 Skol 10,589,491 43 M&M's USA 4,268,200 19 Starbucks Frappuccino 10,552,385 44 Coca-Cola Zero 4,212,638 20 Buffalo Wild Wings 10,363,630 45 Budweiser 4,138,477 21 Pepsi 9,687,548 46 Kinder Surprise 4,057,973 22 Trident Gum 9,507,549 47 Doritos 4,050,511 23 Dunkin' Donuts 8,597,141 48 Sour Patch Kids 3,946,944 24 Domino's Pizza 8,156,369 49 Vitaminwater 3,823,113 25 Mountain Dew 7,880,606 50 Cheez-It 3,819,452
  • 12. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 12 Coca Cola - The top performing Food & Drink brand on Facebook The top performing Food & Drink brand on Facebook is undoubtedly Coca Cola, with over 62Million likes on their page. They have an interactive strategy with Facebook where they incorporate strong visuals in questions and engagement. Their “Coke Zone” allows the consumer to glimpse behind-the-scenes footage of their media advertising. Coca-Cola has an open Social Media policy which they state, has: “been developed to help empower our associates to participate in this new frontier of marketing and communications, represent our Company, and share the optimistic and positive spirits of our brands”14 The company is assessing its strategy over the long term with emphasis given to the financial impact of sales which, it explains, needs to be measured long term and includes review of the level of engagement and virility of the on-line presence. The company’s core values of its on-line Social Media presence are set out as:  Transparency  Protection  Respect  Responsibility  Utilisation These core values are designed to encourage use of Social Media in a positive way whilst also protecting the brand and its image, especially with regard to on-line conversation about the brand. “We recognize the vital importance of participating in these on-line conversations and are committed to ensuring that we participate in on-line Social Media the right way”15 14 15
  • 13. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 13 Coca Cola’s strategy has certainly attracted the largest number of fans to its Facebook page, and other Drink brands, such as Red Bull and Diageo are strong performers using creative on-line marketing techniques to acquire large followings. Red Bull gets 216,000 Facebook likes, 10,000 comments and over 29,000 shares within 40 minutes and smashes YouTube viewing record Red Bull’s mantra is ‘It gives you wings’ and Red Bull uses this vision throughout all Red Bull campaigns by sponsoring extreme sports events and then sharing the stunning visuals thereof on-line. One of its recent successes was the announcement that a sky-dive jump from space was going to be streamed live on-line. The event was cancelled three times due to the weather conditions and, in that time, the brand’s on-line media channels amassed a huge following as anticipation of the event heightened. When Felix Baumgartner finally took the stratosphere dive, the results for the brand were astounding16 :  A photo of Baumgartner on the Red Bull Facebook page garnered almost 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and over 29,000 shares within 40 minutes  It was shown on over 130 other digital outlets  It smashed the YouTube record for the most watched live streaming event with over 8 million views. 16
  • 14. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 14 This event, and others that Red Bull has showcased, have all attracted consumers without Red Bull having to promote its product directly. This strategy has been hugely successful for this brand. Diageo on Facebook (Five key brands: Baileys, Smirnoff US, Crown Royal, Captain Morgan US and Cuervo) Diageo, in conjunction with Nielsen, experimented with Facebook and achieved fantastic results.17 The Company took five key brands; Baileys, Smirnoff US, Crown Royal, Captain Morgan US and Cuervo and used a controlled testing environment to formulate a strategy: Objective The objective was to increase the number of fans on each brand and determine whether this increase would lead to an uplift in sales. Methodology Within the controlled testing environment, premium ad campaigns were used on Facebook - with Captain Morgan, whereby they invited fans to ‘Get On Board’, and used enticement in the form of recipes through the Smirnoff brand to increase engagement. Results Collectively over the five brands, Diageo experienced a 19% increase in sales of those exposed to the ads over those that were not exposed in the controlled environment. This equated to a five times return on Media investment in the Nielsen test. 17
  • 15. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 15 Unilever – Launch Marmite cereal bar on Facebook Unilever also experienced Facebook success with its Marmite cereal bar brand. As the first company in the UK to experiment with this type of marketing, Unilever utilised the Social Media platform to gain awareness of the brand launch. Objective The objective was to create awareness of the product launch and distribute samples of the new cereal bar. Methodology Unilever targeted mothers and young adults aged 16 – 44, inviting them to sample the new product by way of clicking on a call-to-action ad and filling out a simple form without ever leaving the newsfeed page. They also used the ads to show friends that had already claimed their sample, thus increasing the reach of the product. Results Within a two-week period the ad campaign had generated 21.5Million impressions and a 10% increase in connections to the brand page. They also, in that two-week period, handed out a total of 33,000 samples. Both Diageo and Unilever enjoyed the fruits of the Facebook test strategy. Dawn Henry (VP Consumer Planning, Diageo) stated: “One of the great things we found on Facebook is the power of word of mouth … just how easy it is for consumers to engage with the content and then pass it on to friends. It’s the incremental reach we have, often very quickly, in a way that we haven’t been able to do before.” 18 18
  • 16. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 16 Mars – Launch the new M & M’s Pretzel on Facebook The potential for items to go viral on Facebook and increase conversation around a brand was a reason why Mars Chocolate chose to launch the new M & M’s Pretzel in that space19 . Objective To increase the on-line fan base and generate conversation around the brand. Methodology The company created a huge ‘virtual vending machine’ and invited the first 40,000 Facebook fans to hit the machine for a free sample of the product; they were then allowed to invite two friends to access the machine and also receive a free sample. Results  Gained approximately 1Million connections  Gave away 120,000 samples in 48 hours Again, Mars focussed on the ability to utilise the on-line space via consumer word of mouth. Debra Sadler, Chief Consumer Officer of Mars Chocolate, North America, explained this about their use of Facebook as a platform: “We think it’s incredibly powerful for consumers to talk to each other. We are building strong long lasting and authentic relationships with our consumers.” 19
  • 17. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 17 Global Food and Drink Brands on Twitter Twitter has the ability to make content go viral with increasing speed. Used in conjunction with rich content and shared with genuine advocates of a brand, it creates a huge potential to increase RoI. The authenticity of a Twitter following can only be verified through consistent engagement with these advocates and the conversation they share around the product. Drink Brands are also the brands with the top Twitter followings. Rank Brand Followers Rank Brand Followers 1 Starbucks Coffee 3,637,762 6 Dunkin' Donuts 211,939 2 Pepsi 1,098,710 7 Domino's Pizza 168,670 3 Red Bull 956,367 8 Guarana Antarctica 135,108 4 Coca-Cola (Coke) 699,713 9 Gatorade 127,570 5 Monster Energy 575,076 10 Dr Pepper 118,635 Starbucks - The top performing Food & Drink brand on Twitter Starbucks has acquired a Twitter following of over 3.5Million by developing an engaging and long-term strategy for the relationship with the Consumer.
  • 18. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 18 Starbuck’s CEO, Howard Schultz is quoted as saying:20 “There probably (aren’t) very many companies in America that have created the capability and the discipline that we have with almost 40 million worldwide fans on Facebook, a leading company on Twitter and Foursquare, and what that has done, it has given us the ability to lower our cost of customer acquisition in terms of traditional advertising and build a more enduring, emotional relationship with our customers.” As well as lowering the cost of customer acquisition, another cost-effective use of Twitter has been the use of @MyStarbucksIdea to ask for ideas on how to improve the brand experience for the Consumer. The Twitter account leads to a website21 where consumer ideas are received and many of their ideas are implemented. This simple strategy is a cost-effective way of enhancing the brand through the directive of the consumer and the consumers benefit by getting the products and service they seek. Kraft Foods – Uses Twitter to create awareness and help families in America Kraft Foods currently has a following of over 46,000 on Twitter. In 2010 the company utilised its large following to create awareness and help families under hardship in America. It teamed up with ‘Feeding America’ to implement the Huddle to Fight Hunger 22 campaign. 20 21 22
  • 19. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 19 Objective At the time over 21% of families in America were struggling to feed themselves. Kraft foods wanted to raise awareness and generate donations to help these families. Methodology The company devised a strategic campaign that incorporated all Social Media sites and the development of a micro site that invited fun, digital interaction. The digital content was then shared through all platforms with Twitter using special hash-tags to increase the reach of the campaign. Result The campaign, which was tracked by Kraft Foods through a central platform, triggered the donation of more than 20Million meals. Heineken – Achieve 616% growth in the first six months on Twitter Heineken has a strong strategy on use of Social Media. The Twitter account, when first launched, achieved 616% growth in the first six months and a 168% growth in the mentions of #heineken and the campaign hash tags.23 More recently, Heineken launched a campaign entitled ‘Serenade’24 , to coincide with Valentine’s Day. An app was launched for ‘shy types’ to serenade their potential dates and was publicised via a nine-hour marathon on-line episode where consumers got a chance for their serenade to be performed by Paul “Kiss” Kissaun. 23
  • 20. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 20 The company utilised the Social Media platforms to engage and share the event using the #serenade hashtag. Results  The campaign reached 3.2Million consumers  The event attracted 800,000 live stream viewers Global Food & Drink Brand rankings on YouTube YouTube is an ideal Social platform in which Food & Drink companies have the ability to produce, publicise and share rich, engaging content to attract consumers to their brands. Rank Brand Views Rank Brand Views 1 Red Bull 535,644,479 6 Kinder Surprise 17,289,388 2 Coca-Cola (Coke) 131,892,220 7 McDonald's Canada Channel 14,691,960 3 Pepsi 103,619,100 8 Oreo Cookie 14,507,738 4 Monster Energy 43,768,402 9 Budweiser Brasil 13,608,123 5 Oasis Be Fruit 19,153,737 10 Canal de Coca-Cola España 13,337,659 Drink companies Red Bull and Coca Cola lead the table in the number of overall views of their channels as the creative content in their advertising is fresh, exciting and engaging. As mentioned above, Red Bull has utilised YouTube with tremendous success by capturing extreme sporting moments that defy gravity and enhance the ethos of their branding by connecting this rich video with their slogan ‘It gives you wings’. 24
  • 21. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 21 Pepsi Designs a YouTube Campaign around an Open Letter to President Barack Obama Pepsi also used exciting and creative ways to promote their newly designed branding through their ‘Refresh Everything’ brand campaign. In the on-line media storm created by a newly elected Barack Obama, the Pepsi brand designed a campaign around an Open Letter to the President. A key part of the strategy was to invite consumers to record their own personal message via webcam through a banner and the best were used on a specially branded YouTube channel. Celebrities such as and Lady Gaga recorded their own message and the results were extensively shared through other Social Media channels. The results were hugely successful:25  The campaign reached the No.1 sponsored YouTube page  700 total video submissions were received and these generated 4Million views and 100,000 text submissions to YouTube  Coverage of the event was extensive through the press and was featured in over 700 blog postings 25
  • 22. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 22 Danone targets 22-55 year-old women using TV and YouTube Danone is another company that has used YouTube to great advantage. In May 2012, it utilised YouTube in an on-line campaign to create awareness of the Activia Fresh product26 . Working with Google, it targeted the campaign to 22-55 year-old women using TV and on-line media, mainly YouTube. The on-line findings were:  The YouTube Campaign reached 4.5Million unique users  There was a very low audience overlap between YouTube and other formats: 12.6% of the total audience  In the target audience the reach was 948,000 with an average frequency of 6.4 Danone and Google concluded that “YouTube is first placement in terms of a unique audience …. YouTube’s Homepage confirms the ability to generate new audience rapidly where the other formats help in increasing the frequency of exposure up to an optimal point.”27 26 27
  • 23. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 23 Global Food & Drink Brands on Google + Since Google+ launched on 28th June 2011 it has grown to over 500Million registered members and currently has over 135Million users active on a monthly basis. With recent enhancements for business in the form of Community platforms and the popular Hangouts tool, more and more brands are utilising this platform to great effect. Rank Brand Followers 1 Cadbury UK 2,865,160 2 Food Network 1,936,524 3 Kraft Recipes 1,757,760 4 Red Bull 1,668,809 5 1,640,362 The Table above shows the top 5 Google+ brands. Cadbury has embraced Google + Not only did it choose to launch a product28 from its Google + page, it also uniquely built its Google + page out of chocolate to celebrate a milestone of numbers in the brand’s circle.29 It then invited its circle to share a Hangout to watch the last pieces of chocolate being added to complete the page. 28 29
  • 24. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 24 With just fewer than 3Million followers on this growing platform for brands, Cadbury has been effective as one of the early adopters of this site. UK and Ireland Food & Drink Companies| Review A Report on the Food & Drink Industry by Brand Embassy (May/June 2012), on brand sentiment in the UK, highlighted some interesting facts30 :  Out of 61.9Million citizens there are 52.7Million Internet users (84.7%)  There were 30.6Million Facebook users and 10Million Twitter users at the time of the Report  68% share news about brands Ireland similarly has a high percentage of users who access the Internet.  Out of a population of circa 4.5Million, 66.8%31 are Internet users  Of these, 71.29% are Facebook users32 and 22%33 are Twitter users The UK Food & Drink sector operates as the largest manufacturing sector in the UK with a turnover of £76 billion34 ; similarly, in Ireland it is the most important indigenous industry with a turnover approaching €24 billion35 . The sector in both the UK and Ireland is again fragmented in its corporate approach to Social Media marketing. Whilst companies tend to focus on the brands within their business, most neglect their corporate on-line identity. Within holding groups, some brands tend to outshine others in their consumer engagement 30 31 32 33 34 35
  • 25. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 25 and on-line profile, which brings into question whether Social strategy is being managed through these individual brands or whether there is a consistent strategy determined by the Corporate owner? An examination of the top twenty of the Top 100 Food & Drink companies in the U.K. and Ireland by Food & Drink Business Europe36 showed that whilst many of these Companies had a strong on-line brand presence, their corporate brand identity was not as strong with the on-line consumer. Some examples of companies with on-line brand presence are explored on the following pages. 36
  • 26. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 26 Tate & Lyle - We Love Baking Campaign got 37,000 baking fans talking in just three months Tate & Lyle may only have 2,597 likes as a corporate organisation but its Community Facebook page, We Love Baking, has over 79,370 fans and there are 389 followers on Twitter who follow the Tate & Lyle Campaign to get more people to bake. The Company has only recently redesigned its on-line strategy in the form of a new website that steers away from the traditional blue and white branded colours to a warm, welcoming, fun design. The strategy incorporates a strong emphasis on rich content, in the form of a food blog and visual galleries and it also invites consumers to engage with the tag-line ‘join the conversation’. The Company began a Social Media strategy that focused on the Facebook campaign, We Love Baking, and has now extended this to Twitter and Pinterest. Result: The We Love Baking Campaign got 37,000 baking fans talking in just three months37 Premier Foods - Bisto, OxO, Hovis, Sharwoods and Ambrosia aim to be ‘the best in British food’ Premier Foods vision is to be ‘the best in British food’38 . Part of this vision for its consumers is to:  Connect with consumers  Win with Customers  Collaborate with stakeholders 37 38 90D0026C9695&siteName=premierfoods
  • 27. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 27 With leading brands such as Bisto, OxO, Hovis, Sharwoods and Ambrosia to its name, it has a huge opportunity to embrace an on-line digital strategy to achieve this vision. It appears, however, that Premier’s marketing focus is on traditional media marketing rather than on-line digital. A snapshot analysis of Premier Foods showed that:  The Ambrosia rice pudding page had 260 likes and no posting activity since September 2012  Sharwood’s has an extensive website packed with their products and recipes; however, there was no invitation to join a Social Media page. It appears to have no Facebook or Twitter presence. The disappointing fact is that between 30th March 2013 and 5th April 2013 the brand was mentioned 25 times on Twitter with no engagement by the Company.  Hovis has a vibrant and engaging Facebook page with 156,420 likes. Consumers regularly comment and ask questions and are engaged with positively.  OXO has no links to Social Media on its website and the only Facebook page that can be found is an OXO cube page set up, unofficially, to bring back OXO gravy.  Bisto does not have a Facebook page; it does have a ‘great little ideas’ app connected to Facebook on its website that highlights videos of how to use Bisto in meals. Dairy Crest - Digital game gets 140,000 visits in two weeks and wins awards Dairy Crest’s launch of the drink Frijj, which is aimed at the 16 – 34 year-old market, won awards for creative use of the on-line space.
  • 28. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 28 The company created a digital game called You Lol You Lose39 which brought together a mosaic of funny videos from YouTube. Using a webcam the consumer was monitored through facial recognition technology via the game and if the player laughed, the game would stop. The player could then share his/her shortest times results and scores plus challenge friends to the game on Facebook and Twitter. Result  The game got 140,000 visits in the first two weeks  It won three Best Awards, including Best Innovation Frijj currently has over 353,000 fans on Facebook and just fewer than 7,000 on Twitter. The Facebook figures have grown 2% monthly with a 5-10% engagement rate, which compares favourably to the Industry standard of 2%40 . Most importantly the brand is reaching and interacting with the target audience. The Irish Market A few representative examples of the disparate range of on-line presence/activity employed by Irish Food & Drink companies in Ireland are given on the following pages. The Kerry Group The Kerry group is one of the leading companies in the Food & Drink sector in Ireland. With a strong global presence and over 24,000 employees, the Group supplies over 15,000 food, food ingredients and flavour products to over 140 countries worldwide. With popular brands such as Denny, Walls, Galtee and Homepride, there is huge opportunity for the Company to gain from a strong digital presence. 39 40
  • 29. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 29 Accessing the individual brand sites from the main Kerry Group Corporate website41 , it was found that:  Denny has Social Media links strongly advertised on the home page. It has an active and engaging Facebook page with 9,156 likes that tie in with the branding message. The Twitter Page has 656 followers yet has not posted any tweets since April 2011. It has a strong YouTube channel where the TV ads are displayed; this has received 88,954 views.  When the Galtee web link is clicked, a page states ‘there is no valid domain’.  Walls has made great use of the mascot ‘Alan’ the singing dog, on the website and also displays buttons to connect to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts. A click on the Facebook button takes one to a broken-link page. The Twitter page has 1,564 followers but has not been active since November last. The YouTube channel has interesting videos of behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the Walls ads; it has had over 1.3Million views.  The Kerry Low Low link takes you to a static web page with no option for consumer interaction.  The focus on the Homepride site is, of course, the mascot ‘Fred’. To find the Social Media links you have to access the Gallery page where there is an invite to join Fred on Facebook. The Facebook page is a ‘Fred Appreciation’ page with no active engagement. Homepride also invites consumers to upload their pictures of Fred to the website. This could be an engaging strategy to incorporate into the Social Media platforms that Homepride uses. There is also a Flickr channel but it has not been active since 2008.  Easisingles has a strong website with health tips and recipes to download. There are no links to Social Media accounts as yet. Glanbia plc Glanbia PLC has embraced the digital space through its range of brands. The global company, with over 3,000 employees worldwide, has a defined vision for connecting with consumers online. In 2012, Georgina Bowes, the Digital Communications Manager for the Company explained that vision42 : 41 42
  • 30. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 30 “We want to build stronger relationships between our consumers and our brands, listen and engage in the online conversations, gather insights and create positive customer experiences by enhancing our use of social media.” Glanbia PLC. The Avonmore range of dairy products owned by Glanbia plc has embraced the on-line space by way of a web media and Social Media strategy. By reaching the consumer through engaging, rich content it has built a strong interactive presence on-line. Some highlights are:  Avonmore’s website accommodates all products in an easy, enticing style with fresh colours that are an extension of the branding colours. As well as ideas for recipes, it also has a community page to keep up-to-date with the latest news and also a blog site.  To engage with the target audience, there is a range of interactive ideas in the Bo’s Corner page. Bo, (Avonmore’s millionth-glass-of-milk mascot) is a major presence in Avonmore’s PeakFresh Campaign. The campaign was designed to show the consumer they were purchasing the freshest Avonmore milk. To do this it created the website and, using creative content, told the story of the Avonmore milk process from grass to glass. Bo, the milk mascot, was used throughout the campaign and was featured during Avonmore’s Make & Take to Win competition.
  • 31. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 31 Seamlessly combining this with Avonmore’s Social Media strategy resulted in:43  35,000 hits to the site in a four-week period  A growth of 391% in Facebook likes in a four-week period  The Peak Fresh story through video has received over 87,000 views on their YouTube channel.44 The Avonmore milk Facebook page45 has over 38,000 likes and is hugely interactive. The Avonmore Competition App has 4,800 monthly users and is regularly updated. As well as this the company used the mascot to create a digital on-line game, Bo Chase, which is used in regular competitions and has an on-going leader board. This digital creative is the source for consistent engagement between the company and the consumer on Avonmore’s Social Media sites. Kilmeaden 43 44 45
  • 32. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 32 The Kilmeaden cheese website46 applies a similar digital strategy. This was shortlisted for the ‘Most Beautiful Website in Ireland’ category in the Irish Web Awards in 2012. The site invites consumers to submit recipe ideas and photographs which use Kilmeaden products, which are then entered into a monthly competition and featured on site. The focus is on the Facebook platform where there are over 6,000 likes; this must be where Kilmeaden directs its target audience, as the Twitter account has only 54 followers and the account contains only 22 tweets. There is a link to a YouTube channel on the site, which is not regularly used. Kerrygold The Irish Dairy Board’s Kerrygold brand also has huge opportunities for Social Media engagement. The website is filled with informative content and is visually pleasing. The Social share buttons are prominent and the Facebook button invites one to click on the flag of the country to which you wish to go. The Irish flag brings up an interactive page with over 34,000 likes. This number was boosted by the pre-Christmas on-line campaign, ‘Moovin to Africa’. In partnership with Bóthar, Kerrygold created a series of films about a field of cows preparing for their move to Africa. They turned the cows into characters with their own bios and fans could vote to make sure their favourite cow reached the destination. As well as the initial objective which focussed on charitable ventures, the campaign also resulted in:47  A growth of just under 5000 likes on their Facebook Page  The brand achieved a reach of 160,000 through the campaign 46 47
  • 33. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 33 The Company has also utilised the Pinterest platform, showcasing their products through visually enhancing recipes. They also have a Yummy TV section on Pinterest48 which takes the best of videos featuring the brand from YouTube. They also pin videos from their own YouTube channel which has just fewer than 45,000 views. Dawn Meats The Dawn Meats subsidiary, The Premium Butcher, chose to campaign through using a competition as a strategy. The focus of this campaign was ultimately to drive sales as well as to raise awareness of the brand. With these specific objectives, the company ran a Summer Scorcher BBQ competition with a chance for the winner to provide a barbecue for up to nine friends. With the creation of a competition app, the consumer was invited to like the Facebook page and nominate and invite up to nine of their Facebook friends. This simple, yet effective, idea resulted in a real return in on-line investment in the three week run period for49 .  2248 app engagements on Facebook  1489 new fans This resulted in an increase in online conversation between the consumer and the brand which in turn contributed to:  A 60% plus increase in traffic to their website 48 49 scorcher%E2%80%99-bbq-competition/?goback=%252Egde_3444849_member_65321233
  • 34. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 34 And the Company experienced the ultimate ROI, an almost 50% increase in sales based on previous figures. There is no doubt that maximising interaction in the on-line space had a huge effect on sales. This is a clear example of the potential of using digital within the food industry. The Dawn Meats Group is home to a range of reputable brands and by creation of a consistent digital strategy across the other products, such as Charlolais Gold and Nature’s Meadow, the results achieved by The Premium Butcher could be emulated across the board. Clearly there does not appear to be any clear approach to Social Business within the sector in Ireland. It appears that, overall, the principal active players in the market have chosen to focus on the individual brands under their ownership, rather than concentrate on a comprehensive, coherent, corporate strategy. An indication of this difference is shown in the table of top Facebook fans for Irish brands: Rank Brand Likes Rank Brand Likes 1 Baileys 1,513,450 6 SPAR Ireland 133,313 2 Guinness Ireland 398,675 7 Tullamore Dew 120,367 3 Mr Tayto 238,735 8 Barry's Tea 115,856 4 Lyons Tea 232,931 9 Irish Pride 89,147 5 Centra Ireland 142,376 10 Jameson Ireland 66,423 The Baileys brand expanded on its growing Facebook fanbase as a part of the (previously referred to) Diageo Campaign. Of Baileys in particular, Dawn Henry, VP of Consumer Planning at Diageo, stated50 : “For us as a marketer, it was fantastic – all we had to do was join the conversation by inviting everyone to be part of a single Bailey’s page. We had an instant community of brand adorers who became brand advocates. It doesn’t get much better than that.” 50
  • 35. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 35 Irish Local and Artisan Produce | An Analysis The Taste Council of Ireland’s realistic vision for sustainable job creation, set out in its application for AgriVision 2020, states: “By 2020 the existing base of 350 artisan/speciality food firms could double their output at consumer prices and increase their market share of the local market from 3% to 6% resulting in 1,000 new jobs created and (through a multiplier effect of local food expenditure see section 6.3) would circulate €2.1 billion into the local economy per annum. During the next ten years 650 new food entrepreneurs could establish businesses, resulting in 6,500 new jobs created and based on current local output levels this group could result in a further €2 billion into circulation in the local economy.”51 This potential for growth is a reality for local food and artisan food companies. The advantage of harnessing the digital space to achieve this growth has been shown through several success stories within the local food industry. There have been many examples of local Irish food producers carving a successful niche within their sector through use of a mixture of innovative marketing and belief and passion in their product; Cashel Blue52 , Murphy’s Ice Cream53 and the Cully and Sully54 brand, to name a few, have all achieved success in their own right and all have a strong focus on the digital space. Emerging businesses are taking best practice from companies such as these and applying similar strategies to extend reach and transform this into real sales. Some examples include: James Whelan Butchers 51 52 53 54
  • 36. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 36 James Whelan Butchers55 is a prime example. The implementation of an on-line shop in 2004 saw quality- sourced meat moving from a local customer base to a national one. With the ability to interact on-line and request customised meat cuts with the promise of delivery within 24 hours, the five-generation, family-run butchers establishment has grown and expanded to include a second outlet in Avoca, Monkstown. The owner, Pat Whelan, developed an integrated plan, combining traditional PR with on-line marketing, which included the creation of regular engaging content in newsletter and blog form, delivered through Social Media and email marketing. With over 3,000 fans on the Facebook page and 7,500 followers on his Twitter account, Pat uses his personality to portray the passion for his brand through engaging with his on-line audience. Result As well as increasing on-line sales and expanding location, James Whelan Butchers was the winner of the 2012 Small Business Marketing Award from The Marketing Institute’s All Ireland Marketing Awards.56 55 56
  • 37. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 37 Keogh’s Farm Artisan potato producer, Keogh’s Farm57 embraced the digital space to promote the diversification of its potato product into premium artisan crisps. The North County Dublin based company introduced a National Potato Day to its website and Social platforms. The company developed a particular posting strategy with visual content, daily competitions and the simple but effective We Love Spuds caption. The frequency of these posts gained momentum up to the day itself. Another part of the strategy was to develop connections with on-line influencers so that their content was shared and discussed on reputable food blogging sites and to also enlist The Daily Spud 58 to be the on-line ambassador for the National Potato Day. Result  During the potato campaign the number of Facebook likes increased from 200 to 1,500 in a four- week period.  The Twitter account also grew dramatically with a large number of mentions on the day itself  The company established on-line relationships with key on-line influencers  They were also featured on a number of highly reputable food blogging sites The Company rebranded in time for the diversification into premium artisan crisps and maintained the on- line strategy that had worked until then. It currently has nearly 7,000 likes on the Facebook page and over 200 followers on Twitter. The crisps are now being exported internationally and the slogan ‘I love Spuds’ is definitely gaining an influential on-line following. 57 58
  • 38. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 38 Glenilen Farm To know your customer is key to strategic growth and Glenilen Farm59 has utilised the Social Media space to accommodate this. It posts content that portrays the integrity and traceability of its products and combines this with fun elements to include the younger audience. Glenilen Farm is also adept at managing the on-line conversation around its products. With a Twitter following of over 2,700 and a Facebook fan number of 3,752, it can monitor mentions and - in some cases - let the consumer promote the brand. This type of marketing is at a premium as the conversation is from 59
  • 39. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 39 people who have no gain from promoting the product and so their recommendations are seen as authentic feedback. The visuals created through the post on Instagram ignited conversation around the product through Twitter, providing an opportunity for Glenilen Farm to interact and engage with an extended audience. All through one post from a customer. Combining Food with Tourism A recent survey detailed the importance of food tourism in Ireland as a growth Industry. Key statistics showed that60 :  100% of survey respondents believe local Irish food should be an integral part of Ireland’s international tourism marketing  over 80% of respondents indicated increased marketing of food in tourism was important in sustaining their business growth, and  more than 90% believe local Irish food is a strong economic driver for their business The opportunity for local producers to combine their end product with attracting visitors to see the creative process is popular within the industry currently and has given rise to some innovative experiences, allowing the consumer to witness the story behind the brand first hand. Examples include: 60
  • 40. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 40 Wild Irish Sea Veg Wild Irish Sea Veg61 has developed Seaweed Safaris on the West Coast of County Clare. With a strong Social presence, it has had a number of requests to join the seaweed foraging tours on Facebook and Twitter. As a result of the unique integration of the family story mixed with the idyllic setting of the West Coast of Ireland and a well-planned product promotion strategy, it now supplies over 300 outlets nationwide and has expanded into New York.62 Burren Smokehouse The integration of a strong e-commerce site and a well-planned Social Media strategy focussed on rich content and active engagement has served the Burren Smokehouse63 most productively. 61 62 63
  • 41. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 41 The on-line site has allowed it to venture into the international markets with communicative ease whilst on a local level, it maximises reach through the provision of a Visitor Centre which receives over 40,000 visits per year.64 The Social Media presence is comprehensive, with:  Over 2,700 followers on Twitter  1,166 Facebook fans  A strong YouTube presence with over 15,000 views Tayto Crisps A Company that has combined tourism with its food brand and turned it into a thriving industry is the Tayto Crisps brand65 owned by Largo foods. Making great use of the colourful mascot “Mr Tayto”, it has used the character to seamlessly connect the crisp product with books, merchandise, and clothing. Also in 2010 they opened the Meath-based attraction, Tayto Park, which has welcomed over 75,000 visitors66 . The Tayto mascot embraced digital earlier than most, with innovative campaigns that showed him running for election and then utilising the on-line space in a nationwide search to find a wife67 . In 2009, the launch of the “Mr Tayto” autobiography saw “Mr Tayto” implement an on-line campaign that yielded a considerable ROI. 64 clare?tmpl=component&print=1&page= 65 66 67
  • 42. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 42 Objective To raise brand awareness and drive sales Methodology A microsite was created, mrtayto.ie68 which was shaped like a book and had tabs pertaining to chapters that contained experts from the book, an interactive quiz and an invitation to follow the character on tour as he attended book signings through the @TaytoOnTour Twitter account. Results69  The book reached number one in the Irish Book Charts and outsold the Manchester United 2009 Annual  Within two weeks the Facebook page had over 11,000 fans  There was a 10% increase in Tayto sales More recently the brand mascot has grown on Facebook with a page that boasts 236,000 fans and a recent picture posted that showed the Tayto Limited Edition as Gaeilge crisp packets received:  3,509 likes  186 comments  807 shares This level of interaction and increase in reach undoubtedly shows the power of brand strategy in the on-line space. 68 69
  • 43. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 43 Crisis Management Most of the foregoing has referred to the positive outcomes that can accrue to implementation of a carefully- crafted and implemented On-line Social strategy. However, problems can, and inevitably do, occur occasionally and when they do it is crucially important that the strategy has included a Crisis Management Policy. Recent events within the meat Industry have highlighted the clear need for such a concise crisis management policy. On-line conversation about a product takes place outside the control of a company and the importance of interaction and managing the conversation (in this case) has been critical on both sides of the Atlantic. The Pink Slime Saga In 2011, renowned chef, Jamie Oliver, highlighted the fact that up to 70% of meat in US supermarkets contained filler that was treated with ammonia and minced to produce lean fine textured beef (LFTB), which has consequently been termed ‘pink slime’. The programme went viral on YouTube with over 1.6Million views70 and sparked a Social Media frenzy that the supplier, Beef Products Inc, could not contain. In fact, their slow reaction to the on-line storm came in the form of another YouTube video that highlighted the misconception, that they say, Jamie Oliver gave. The viewing figures on that video currently amount to only just over 16,000 and they also disabled the Comments feature, therefore removing the opportunity to manage an on-line conversation around the subject. ABC re-ignited the controversy in March 2012 when Diane Sawyer referred to ‘pink slime’ in a series of news broadcasts about the product. This again created an avalanche of on-line backlash with the blogger Bettina 70
  • 44. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 44 Seigel starting an on-line petition on change.org71 which garnered 200,000 signatures in 9 days, causing the USDA to change its policy regarding its supply to schools in the USA. As a result of the media storm which generated 295,000 online mentions72 in a three month period:  Schools withdrew LFTB from their school lunch program  Food outlets such as McDonalds and major US supermarkets withdrew from using the product  AFA Foods, a ground beef processing company in the US, filed for bankruptcy protection73  BPI closed down 3 of their 4 processing plants with the loss of over 700 jobs  BPI revenues plummeted from $650 million to $130 million according to a Reuters report74  It is estimated that LFTB is now present in 5% of ground beef, a sharp decrease from the reported 70% at the time of the media outbreak  The affair has resulted in a $120 billion lawsuit which is currently on-going75 The knock-on effect of the viral nature of on-line conversation in this case is a negative one, which has resulted in the decline of business with real lives affected through the loss of jobs. The on-line space is, of course, not solely responsible for this, however the very nature of real time dialogue on Social sites had a huge effect on the Industry, the retail sector and the food service in general. A clear and cohesive crisis management policy, that could have been implemented instantaneously, would have obviously been of benefit to damage limitation in this case. The Horsemeat Controversy in Europe The discovery of traces of horsemeat in beef products at the beginning of 2013 ignited on-line conversation. This conversation highlighted both the serious implications of the findings and also gave rise to the lighter side of the situation in the form of humorous on-line content that went viral. The resulting wave of scandal that affected the food industry and retail sector hugely, in both Ireland and the UK, would have again benefitted from the activation of a comprehensive crisis management policy. The Story After carrying out tests in December of 2012, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland reported finding traces of horsemeat in beef burgers. Of the findings, the traces were deemed low, apart from one tested product that contained an estimated amount of 29% equine DNA. The relevant organisations were informed in January 71 72 73 74 75
  • 45. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 45 2013 and the story broke in the media on the 15th of that month. As the retailers involved were informed, they all withdrew the affected products. There was an ideal opportunity, at this point, to commence a damage-limitation exercise to minimise the potential damage that was about to unfold. Unfortunately the giant food retailer, Tesco, was slow to process the situation and posted a tweet that drew immediate attention in the wake of the outbreak. The tweet76 had 2,066 retweets and provoked a divided response as some thought it in bad taste whilst the other reaction was positive to Tesco having a sense of humour. It then emerged that the tweet had been scheduled in advance of the media outbreak and Tesco responded by apologising profusely. Compounding the mishandling of the developing crisis, Tesco then responded to another tweet that clearly had not been thought through with any clarity. 76 Captions sourced via
  • 46. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 46 The whole debacle resulted in over 35,000 mentions of Tesco, according to the Social monitoring platform Synthensio77 , with over 5,000 of them having a negative connotation. The retailers were not the only ones affected by the scandal as the details of the source of the contamination emerged. Traces of horsemeat discovered in Asda’s Bolognese Sauce were attributed to the Greencore Group. Although Greencore did post a link to the company statement about this, it chose to respond to the controversy on the Twitter account, by re-tweeting others rather than managing the on-line conversation itself: With over 7,000 likes on a Facebook page that is not an official account and not activated, the Greencore Group missed a huge opportunity to utilise this reach and rebrand in a positive light. Similarly, APB Food Group ignored the on-line conversation and this, along with real time events, contributed to substantial losses in potential revenue. 77
  • 47. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 47 Although an investigation by Greencore plc78 cleared the ABP Nenagh plant of contamination source in the wake of the scandal, the ABP foods subsidiary, Silvercrest Foods, was still embroiled in the horsemeat controversy from the very start as its meat was one of the first to be diagnosed with equine DNA. As a result of this:79  Tesco dropped Silvercrest Foods as a supplier  The ABP Food Group suspended work at the County Monaghan, Silvercrest Foods plant indefinitely  Burger King suspended ABP Foods as a supplier as a precautionary measure  Tesco announced that Silvercrest products used meat that was not on the list of approved suppliers and originated from outside the UK and Ireland It is estimated that ABP Food Groups has lost €45 million in contracts as a result of the findings. With a lack of social on-line presence, the Silvercrest Foods management of this crisis was controlled through the APB Food Group which issued responses and statements via its website.80 This limited Social Media presence, by both companies, allowed Social conversation about their brands to be freely discussed without damage limitation in place. Liffey Meats, based in County Cavan, Ireland used its Facebook page to respond to the on-line conversation about its brand being involved in the horsemeat scandal. Rather than engagement, however, it posted a Company Statement on January 16th and then ignored consumer comments on that page. The consumer response was both serious: 78 79 80
  • 48. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 48 And also, slightly humorous: Whichever way, the comments from the consumers elicited no response from Liffey Meats and this resulted in a missed opportunity to potentially turn a negative situation around. The Ulster Farmers Union did apply strategic policy in the wake of the scandal in the form of the ‘I’m Backin’ Beef Campaign’. The Union teamed up with the Livestock and Meat commission to launch the campaign through Facebook and Twitter and urged consumers to look for the FQAS logo when shopping to promote quality assured produce. Within a week they had shared the poster 300 times and extended their on-line reach to 25,000.81 81
  • 49. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 49 The horsemeat scandal has highlighted the particular need for a Crisis Management strategy to monitor and apply limitations to the potential damage that can occur in these situations. Real time engagement and conversation is key to the outcome of a crisis and can only benefit over the long term if competently managed. On a lighter note, consumers enjoyed a variety of humorous cartoons, jokes and videos that rapidly appeared on-line. #horsemeat and #horsemeatjokes were consistently trending tags on Twitter whilst YouTube shows 14,300 results in response to a search for ‘horse meat scandal’, some of the most popular videos being those showing pantomime horses play-acting inside retail stores.82 82
  • 50. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 50 Conclusion This Report has outlined the pro’s and con’s of companies within the Food & Drink sector having a Social Business strategy. Those companies that are thinking about why they are entering the on-line space to market their products, are the very ones that are achieving the best results. And equally, those who have made the effort to understand digital marketing and how it differs from traditional off-line marketing are the companies getting the greatest return on investment (RoI). Clearly, the question is not one of either digital marketing or traditional marketing; the question is - how does a company do both well - linking marketing campaigns together, on-line and off-line, to deliver the best possible results. The Burren Smoke House is a good example - it has used the on-line space to gain on-line sales and international recognition but has been equally successful in bringing food tourists to its visitor centre in County Clare - the best of both worlds. In addition, sub-sector groups need to collaborate on-line to mutual advantage. Consider, for example, the manner in which the Ulster Farmers Union responded to the equine contamination of beef controversy to protect its producers. This showed the speed at which it was possible to respond to and address reactions on-line; ignoring such issues, as Liffey Meats did, does not work. The food production sectors worldwide also need to wake up to the fact that on-line is where they need to start the education process. The ‘digital natives’ - 15 to 25 year olds - are not visiting farms but are influenced heavily by what they see on-line, they are being educated there. The Report mentions research that showed that 40% of digitals natives did not understand that milk came from a dairy cow! (Footnote 9). The Peterson Brother’s parody video on YouTube - “I’m Farming and I Grow It” - is a great example of this education process taking place - speaking to the digital native where s/he likes to digest information, on-line. If there is a bias for or against any issue, the digital natives will take their lead from their on-line peers. Yet on-line education is not yet being addressed to advantage and is far too fragmented and disorganised. It is evident that many companies believe in. and successfully embrace, the on-line space. Others, however, do so simply because they believe they have to be seen to be on-line; this ‘herd mentality’ is simply not good business practice and often leads to damage to the company/brand. The on-line marketing model has been unarguably proven to deliver RoI when the strategy and the execution thereof are right – as shown by some of the example case studies featured in the Report. They all show that companies that have taken the time to understand why they should go on-line and who do so in accordance with a good, strategic plan, achieve excellent returns on their investments. Conversely, those companies that don’t understand the why, invariably do not achieve the desired returns.
  • 51. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 51 On-line, Social Media and Social Platforms is still a very new place within which to do business. We are all still learning how to achieve the best returns for business there. Those returns have to be evidenced by traditional results – improved sales, market share or increased efficiency. If they are not, why bother? There is no business reason why everyone active in the Food & Drink sector cannot benefit from engaging in Digital Marketing and Social Business. Many companies have understood this and have deployed on-line marketing strategies with great success.
  • 52. Social Business - Food and Drink Page | 52 Contact the Ahain Group: Unit 206 | NSC Campus| Mahon | Cork Contact the Digital Marketing Institute 93 Upper Georges St | Dun Laoghaire| Dublin