Beerenberg Farm is a premium food producer based in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. This sixth-generation family company uses the freshest farm produce and traditional recipes to make home-style jams, sauces and condiments.
Beerenberg sought to raise awareness of its BBQ sauces (particularly in the expensive to reach Eastern Seaboard markets of Victoria and New South Wales) and was keen to test the digital marketing environment.
Hughes PR partnered with digital agency Enpresiv to deliver an exciting campaign called 'Aussie BBQ Legends'. The campaign centred on a competition held over three months, supported by a compelling and interactive microsite, enewsletters and social media.
As a result, the Aussie BBQ Legends campaign established new online communities for Beerenberg, attracting website visitors and social media 'fans' beyond expectation.
Beerenberg is best known for its jams and pickles and sought to raise awareness of its BBQ sauces, particularly along Australia’s eastern seaboard.
While the family-owned company is well known in South Australia, it operates in a highly competitive national market, within a brand segment dominated by multi-nationals. Its promotional budget was limited.
The company had a goal to build an extended Beerenberg community in line with its “family, farm fresh and local” ethos.
Beerenberg also aimed to extend its online presence and relevance, reinvigorated in 2009 through an upgraded website responding to an increasing consumer desire for 'authentic' food and the growth in the number of food websites and blogs, as well as its Provenance Pathway initiative which allows Beerenberg customers to trace the origins of ingredients, while also meeting online the chef responsible for its production.
The BBQ Legends campaign was an opportunity to achieve all of this cost effectively, while building an online community for the future, and also a public relations opportunity nationally.
Research played a crucial role in not only the development of the Aussie BBQ Legends campaign, but its ongoing management and success.
Hughes Public Relations worked with digital agency Enpresiv to deliver the campaign. This team conducted research into social and digital marketing trends and opportunities. This pointed to an approach where branding and product placement should be secondary, complementary information; longer term relationships with target audiences built online would support Beerenberg’s business objectives.
Research identified Facebook as not only the leading social media site in Australia, but a platform that the target audience was comfortable with. Aussie BBQ Legends was aimed at men and women aged 25-40. Research showed this demographic was internet-literate, savvy online and increasingly expect to be able to interact with brands online.
Statistics from the official Beerenberg website and interaction on its Beerenberg-branded Facebook page indicated potential for a dedicated digital campaign to be successful. It was clear that Beerenberg fans wanted to engage with the company online.
Finally, internet research on similar themes – celebrating the barbeque theme - revealed significant potential for BBQ Legends, and little competition in Australia.
Research was conducted during the campaign to assess its impacts and make any necessary adjustments. This ability to deliver a 'nimble' campaign was a strength of the digital environment. For example, Google Ads and Facebook Ads were used to drive traffic to the BBQ Legends competition. Facebook Ads were found to have far greater impact – Facebook fans spent more time on the campaign website, for example. Google Ads were ceased.
Other elements measured during the campaign included competition entry numbers, the nature of comments on the competition website, Facebook and Twitter fan numbers and quality of comments, and Google Analytics for the BBQ Legends website.
Beerenberg had identified its core target audience as men and women 25-40 living in Australia’s eastern seaboard major cities. This age segment was chosen for its likelihood to purchase premium Beerenberg products for households.
Beerenberg is relatively well known in its home state of South Australia, and wanted to reach more consumers in Australia’s eastern states.
This was a creative campaign that took advantage of new media tools to engage audiences rather than traditional PR methods. The strategy was not to rely on widespread traditional media coverage. Rather, the approach was to directly engage with target audiences online.
The crux of this strategy was to create an engaging online campaign which would motivate people to participate, where the Beerenberg brand was not pushed up front, but product information was available where required.
The client had already successfully used digital media - with a new website, blog, FlickR page and Facebook page. Beerenberg was keen to see how this strategy could be extended to a stand-alone campaign such as Aussie BBQ Legends.
The Aussie BBQ Legends campaign fit into Beerenberg’s longer term, ongoing communications campaign maintained by Hughes PR. Goals within that strategy include:
- Build strong demand for Beerenberg products among discerning consumers
- Build Paech family’s profile as a leading food producer
- Drive traffic to Beerenberg websites
While the digital campaign was supported by news releases, traditional publicity was not the main focus.
The Aussie BBQ Legends campaign centred around a competition to become the 'Ultimate Aussie BBQ Legend'. A timeline was set out for the competition, which then dictated the roll-out of tactics in new and traditional media.
The implementation entailed the following tactics:
- Competition launch, with a dedicated microsite: http://www.aussiebbqlegends.com
- The site gathered contributions from barbequers keen to share their “pimped barbies”; “butt kicking” barbie experiences, barbeque blunders and tips on protocol. Site visitors could vote for their favourite in each of the sections, with publicly-voted winners picking up weekly prizes and a chance to be voted “Aussie BBQ Legend” and to take home the ultimate BBQ Package. This was central to encouraging engagement with audiences.
- Management of Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/aussiebbqlegends)
- Management of Twitter account (http://twitter.com/aussiebbqlegend)
- Google Adwords campaign and Facebook ads campaign
- Fortnightly emails to competition subscribers
- Marketing collateral sent to weekly winners including Aussie BBQ Legends t-shirts, hats, stickers, stubby holders
- Regular news releases to media including men’s magazines, food bloggers, barbecue bloggers and relevant radio stations
This was a hands-on campaign, where methods used could yield immediate results and require fast responses. The team monitored competition entries, responded to social media posts and regularly generated new online content to keep the campaign fresh and to maintain momentum.
The competition to be the Ultimate Aussie BBQ Legend attracted 410 entries. More than 32,000 unique visitors came to the competition microsite to take part in the campaign, which proved to be a ‘sticky’ site for audiences, with an average 3 pages viewed and more than two minutes spent on the site. Sales of Beerenberg-branded sauces nationally rose 37% during the quarter in which the campaign ran, compared to the same quarter the previous year.
Website statistics can be summarised as follows:
Competition website statistics
- site visitors = 53,862
- unique visitors = 32,734
- page views = 166,420
- average page views = 3.09 pages
- average time on site = 2.37 mins
- % of new visitors = 60.57%
In addition, the Facebook page gained 6,184 fans. There were 9,586 views of the Facebook page and more than 900 interactions took place there - including fan comments and ‘likes’. This provided valuable market research and word-of-mouth endorsement online.
Facebook page enlistment was boosted with Facebook advertising. When Facebook fans went on to visit the competition website, metrics showed they were more engaged with the site than the average user, as per the details below:
- Facebook visitors viewed 12.6% more competition site pages than the average visitor
- Facebook visitors spend 20% more time on site than average user
- Facebook visitors have a lower bounce rate of 55% than average user
- Bounce rate for Facebook fans = 24% (incredibly low)
It was noted that fans interacting on Facebook did not necessarily enter the Aussie BBQ Legends competition. They were content to be engaged with the Aussie BBQ concept on Facebook only. Twitter was not as successful as Facebook, but acquired 433 followers and proved to be an active driver of traffic to the competition site.
The outcomes of the Aussie BBQ Legends campaign can be evaluated as follows:
The Aussie BBQ Legends campaign established new online communities with ‘fan’ numbers beyond expectation. The campaign demonstrated that social media is a valuable tool for engaging with customers in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods market.
Online interaction with the public was overwhelmingly positive.
The campaign was picked up in traditional media, including newspaper articles and radio interviews focusing on BBQ ‘protocols’.
In addition, although not an objective of the campaign, the BBQ Legends microsite earned accolades for its design from within the international digital design community.
The campaign reinforced Beerenberg’s relationship with major supermarket chains, demonstrating innovative marketing techniques designed to underpin strong sales of Beerenberg sauces. Sales of Beerenberg-branded sauces nationally rose 37% during the quarter in which the campaign ran, compared to the same quarter the previous year.
Beerenberg will continue to use social media platforms within future communications and marketing programs, and is looking at a program of ongoing interaction with its new Facebook fans.