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McCormick: The Gourmet Dinner Party Chain — Live from BlogWell

Coverage of this session by Kellogg School of Management’s Social Media Manager, Autumn McReynolds. Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

4:30 —’s Kurt Vanderah introduces McCormick’s Senior Manager of Digital Marketing and Social Media, Jennifer LaFrance.

4:31 — “There’s never a bad time to talk about food.” — Jennifer LaFrance, who says McCormick is close to celebrating 125 years.

4:33 — What is McCormick all about? CEO Alan Wilson says, “Our mission is to save your world from boring food.” Wilson and the entire team understand the incredible relationship between food and social media.

4:35 — Recipes translate into sales. They are McCormick’s “currency,” which means recipe views are always being tracked.

4:36 — The current struggle is how to differentiate McCormick Gourmet from the red top bottles of spices often associated with the brand. The challenge is to reach a younger audience and increase exposure of the content.

4:38 — The new campaign that supports the Gourmet brand uses Facebook as a hub. The younger audience might know what they want to cook but is often unsure about theme or complimentary dishes to go with, so McCormick built a tool to help address that need. This can be seen as a Facebook team.

4:40 — After competitors participated and shared photos of their dinner parties, which were posted on Facebook, the community started talking.

4:41 – Additionally, McCormick Gourmet launched Pinterest and Instagram accounts and used the hashtag #GoGourmet. While it started out slowly, it has picked up and is getting more engagement.

4:43 — The results from the summer campaign? There were 13,000 dinner party submittals, 98% unique menu combinations and a 32% increase in site recipe views.

4:45 — McCormick learned a lot from their summer campaign and the content their fans had created, like themes people were interested in, types of cuisine, seasonal changes, and more.

4:46 – When the page was first launched, the targets were Millennials and young women. After the first campaign, McCormick decided to look at adjacent interests, like celebrity news, pop music, etc. They decided to bid on those terms, which was cheaper than bidding on gourmet food terms (this led to the Ryan Gosling approach).

4:47 — Top fans were also elevated to co-create with the brand. It’s all about continuing to test and learn.

4:48 — Overall results: highest ever campaign recipe views in 2012 and built the community to +400K strong in one year’s time.

4:49 — In the future, it will be about the user – how can they create and add content to the site?

Q & A:

Q: How did you benchmark when you first got started?

A: We’ve run similar campaigns across our other channels, so we benchmarked it against contests for some of our other brands. That’s how we established that initial metric.

Q: What kind of ad copy did you put on Facebook initially?

A: I don’t think we’ve changed it. We stuck with copy and imagery, even when targeting different audiences.

Q: Have you thought about connecting with a non-profit?

A: Yes. We’ve had a lot of discussions about this and are interested in companies that support food-related causes. Our PR and corporate partnership teams are having conversations with Feeding America right now.

Q: You said you monitored your target demographic before launching. How long did you do that? Did your insights guide changes to your packaging?

A: To help inform us, we took a historical look for an entire year. We weren’t just looking for gourmet conversations, but general conversations overall. The change in packaging is not just from those insights, but it has played a role.

Q: On Instagram, did you have a tool to bring them automatically to Facebook, or were they automated?

A: They pull into the gallery automatically, then we choose which ones to send out to our fan base.

Q: I didn’t see the brand on Twitter. Why have you elected not to be on Twitter?

A: That is a hot topic of conversation all of the time. We are going to do Twitter, but we want to make sure we’re doing it in the right way and with the right resources. Pinterest is the top referral source to our recipes. “Do one thing right, and then move on to the next thing.”

June 19, 2013 0 comments

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