Edmonds Online & Social Media Strategy
Businesses had initially labelled social media too risky, but realised soon enough that not having a social media presence is far more risky, because you couldn’t participate in, respond to or monitor conversations already happening about your brand. Social media has turned web-based and mobile communication into an interactive conversation or meeting point, whereby it’s accessible for both the entity and consumers. “Social media is a powerful tool for connecting business with customers,” (Riddiford, 2015). Businesses can now be transparent with their operations as well as gain insights on their consumer’s views and use of products (Plowman, Wakefield & Winchel, 2014). Although New Zealand companies may have been latecomers to the social media scene, many small to large entities have increased their online presence to not only promote their products but also to help grow their businesses (Riddiford, 2015 & O’Neill, 2010). And in addition to growing, a strong social media presence aides in building brand loyalty, “to build a personality for the brand and convey what the brand is about, beyond what it sells,” (O’Neill, 2010). For the purposes of this assignment, an online and social media management strategy will be outlined for a well-known New Zealand brand that has recently ventured online; Edmonds, owned by Goodman Fielder a manufacturer of goods in New Zealand and Australia (Goodman Fielder, 2016).
Edmonds is a brand synonymous with Kiwi households, it’s one of the oldest having been around for over a hundred years hence trusted as well (Goodman Fielder, 2016). The Edmonds range of products includes; baking ingredients such as flour, yeast, cake mixes, dessert and pastry. As well as salad dressings and various mayonnaise's (Goodman Fielder, 2016). However, the most notable product is the Edmonds Cookery Book, which has been in publication since 1908 (Edmonds, 2016). Some kiwi households may still have older copies stashed away somewhere being preserved for the next generation. It has also been deemed one of New Zealand’s best-selling books having sold “over 3 million copies,” (Ministry of Culture & Heritage, 2015). The cook book seems to have been used as a marketing tool to compliment the company’s product range. Nonetheless, it remains a Kiwi institution, as a guide to traditional New Zealand cuisine.
The brand is home-grown, founded in Christchurch by Thomas Edmonds in 1879 (Edmonds, 2016). There is obviously history and a unique story behind the brand; Edmonds used to make baking powder and sell it in his grocery store, as popularity and demand grew, he experimented with other products. The catch phrase of the brand “sure to rise,” goes back to when a customer had questioned the quality of the baking powder and Edmonds had replied “it is sure to rise madam,” (Edmonds, 2016). The packaging of all the products still carry the above catch phrase and classic logo of a sunrise. Overall, the branding and appeal is largely aimed towards New Zealand consumers. As stated on the website as well — “the Edmonds brand still stands for Kiwi home-style cooking and baking,” (Edmonds, 2016).
In terms of competitors for Edmonds many supermarket baking goods and dairy product brands exist, however a few significant ones include; Champion, Pams, Homebrand and Betty Crocker. Champion alongside Edmonds would be the biggest competitor in their product range for flour and Champion exports to Australia and Europe (Champion Flour Milling Limited, 2016). Pams and Homebrand supply everyday products which also include flour, baking soda, yeast and pre-cake mixes. Both brands are owned by supermarket chains; Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs. However, Betty Crocker an American brand provides considerable competition in regards to dessert and cake mixes (General Mills, 2016).
Market segmentation includes the target market and geographical segmentation and in the case of Edmonds, the brand has proven to be a well-established New Zealand brand. Although it may export to Australia, primarily the products are sold here, “over the years the Edmonds cookery book has come to be seen as an icon of national identity, alongside the pavlova and buzzy bee,” (Ministry of Culture & Heritage, 2015). The target market includes; home makers, bakers, a wider age demographic of twelve plus, so it includes children and teenagers. It can also include bakeries, restaurants and supermarkets which sell and or use the products.
Edmonds recently joined its first social media platform: Facebook on 29th of April 2016. The page has so far has accumulated 29, 552 likes of people acknowledging the brands presence, as well as a page rating of 4.7 with reviews by users (Edmonds, Facebook.com, 2016). No videos have been posted, the about section summary is minimal and the description has been copied from the website showcasing the brands history in a story telling format (Edmonds, Facebook.com, 2016). The company’s mission statement is “to inspire NZ’s love of baking and cooking.” There has been some consistency in posting photos since joining, along with a few giveaways and links to recipes on the company’s website as seen below. However a unique feature that the company has made use of is Facebook’s timeline function, posting pictures of older versions of the cook book and dating back to when the company was founded in 1879. As well as when a new factory was opened, one million tins sold and custard powder being introduced to the product range; all these posts are marked as milestones using the timeline function (Edmonds, Facebook.com, 2016). The company’s website is their only other online presence, it has recipes, brief how to guides and an option to subscribe to newsletters and to join the “online recipe community,” there is a small Facebook icon located at the very bottom of all webpages; which could easily be amiss (Edmonds, 2016).
In recommending a strategic approach, Edmonds should consider venturing onto other social media platforms to expand their reach towards consumers in New Zealand. The social media platforms outlined will be Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and a further critique of Facebook. From an overall general marketing perspective, the waterfall approach will fit best, because it assumes the company will enter the home country first, which Edmonds has already done. Having an online presence on other platforms might allow Edmonds to consider approaching foreign markets outside of Australia/NZ if there is a demand. Because the waterfall approach aims to slowly step into different markets, and allows multiple doses of influence. In contrast to the sprinkler approach, which targets markets simultaneously (Business Fundas, 2011).
Another interesting point to note is that because the geographical segmentation is presently New Zealand it would initially be beneficial for Edmonds. Because social media sites tap into our own social networks and in New Zealand there’s fewer degrees of separation connecting people (Statistics New Zealand, 2016). There’s a cliché that New Zealanders only have two degrees of separation, which could work well for word of mouth promotions, sharing content and attracting like-minded consumers; building social currency. The act of sharing information, experiences and purchases on social media is called social currency, which needs to be earned by a brand (Kwan, 2015). It then translates into earned media coverage, when consumers interact, share positive messages becoming advocates for the brand and or products.
Social media posts can be used to drive traffic towards a brand’s website as well. Creating a brand presence on other social media sites is beneficial, allowing consumers to link the products across multiple platforms, and direct them to the original source. More importantly, social media aides in relationship building, entities get insights into their consumer’s daily lives and concerns, as a form of feedback from their target market. Reciprocally consumers will reward the brand with credibility if they’re transparent too. A simple approach which can be applied to various social media platforms is the STEPPS framework created by Jonah Berger which gives a good understanding of how content can be curated to appeal to maximum audiences. STEPPS is an acronym for; Social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value and stories (Berger, 2013). Each of these stands as a driver for consumers and their shared experiences, why some products catch on i.e. go viral whilst others are oblivious. Ultimately, the aim is to build a series of conversations, interactions and collaborations across all platforms for Edmonds.
An Instagram account will be beneficial because visual content is highly appealing and being a brand that sells products with baking goods, content can be very influential. “Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text, and 40 percent of people will respond better to visual information than plain text,” (Tester, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, 2014). Affordances on Instagram include; videos, images, hash tags and the ability to like or reply to posts, as well a mobile application access. To engage consumers on this platform, Edmonds could post images of cakes, pastries and desserts made using their products, as well as outsourcing images from consumers who’ve done the same. This would help in getting the message across about the company’s product quality. The posts also have to be consistent and follow some pattern e.g. several posts a week or two posts a day. Disadvantages on Instagram include limited text, can only be accompanied with images and manipulated images, as there are filters. Therefore the company has to be careful in posting credible but high quality images. Advantages include visual content as mentioned above and this includes videos as well, perhaps videos of some of the recipes being made. Hashtags are an easy way to find and filter information too. Plus, the ability to link accounts, Edmonds already has a Facebook account, therefore it could link both platforms and share content across. A monitoring tool for Instagram is Iconosquare, which measures engagement; the number of followers, likes, hashtags as well revealing where most of the followers are geographically (Iconosquare, 2016).
Pinterest is another visual medium which can described as pinning and or sharing photos onto your board. The board can be organised in categories such as; cakes, desserts, pastries, slices etc. for Edmonds to post recipes or infographics on measurement, tips and tools. This will make it easy for consumers to find and filter what they’re looking for, plus Pinterest recipes are quite popular diagrams with step by step pictures and instructions. The content is then seen on a user’s dashboard curated, almost like bookmarking (Pinterest, 2016 & Bagge, 2015). Affordances on this medium include images, text and the ability to comment. If posts are appealing, they may be shared or re-pinned onto consumer’s boards. Edmonds could have several boards for their various product range all succinctly organised. Pinterest is “a good place to discover what your demographic wants to purchase, by looking at the type of products collected in their different boards,” (Bagge, 2015). Disadvantages of Pinterest include brands having the same access to tools that individual users have, therefore pages cannot appear to be overly branded or customized with reviews etc. The amount of followers and likes can be seen, but the attention goes to the images pinned on the board, a relief from seeing text. There may be some copyright issues in regards to images, because the platform isn’t overly strict about reposting images without crediting the original source. Apart from it also being a visual platform, Pinterest allows content to be shared across Facebook (Pinterest, 2016). To monitor analytics Pinterest has its own tool Pinerly which keeps track of followers, scheduling pins and updates on what is popular or being pinned. It also has the option of creating a campaign, where there is more control to curate a package of an image, link and description, then post it as a pin which can then be tracked (Rabaino, 2012).
YouTube is a video sharing platform, which offers real-time updates and content to be shared on other platforms or embedded. It would be a great companion to Edmonds’s Facebook page to post videos on and share the content across. Affordances include sharing content, tagging, subscribers, who can also like and comment under videos. As well as easy access on mobile and desktop apps. For Edmonds, YouTube can be useful for any new product launches, advertisements and culinary videos e.g. show don’t tell. It can also be used to post videos about any community initiatives the brand has undertaken or story telling the brand’s history, appealing to consumers emotionally through visuals. Videos uploaded to the channel would need to be consistent, relative, and up to date otherwise consumers will disperse. A disadvantage of YouTube is that it’s not a medium that relies on or promotes text, may require extra maintenance with producing videos, especially for brands because they have to be good quality which may require using additional editing software plus tools such as cameras and microphones. Lastly videos can go viral if links are shared across several platforms, this can be good or bad depending on the content and context, therefore censorship is also important to note. A popular tool for monitoring YouTube accounts is Tubular, which gives access to a free dashboard that ranks the channel against other competitors and gives basic insights on the number of views. It includes a unique respond to comments tool and allows you to see what videos are trending to compare content (Tubular Labs, 2016). YouTube is also considered to be the second best search engine after Google.
Lastly, Facebook which Edmonds has already graced their presence with, but could do more with making the content more interesting and in turn shareable. Facebook has many affordances; tagging, sharing, text, image, embeds and more recently real time videos. Users are also able to like pages, posts and leave or respond to comments. Hence there is potential for a conversation on the medium between the brand and its consumers. As Berger (2013) pointed out above in the STEPPS model; stories, emotion and triggers are vital, to attract and retain consumers. Storytelling by using the timeline tool was a good idea by the brand. As an old distinct Kiwi brand Edmonds has many good stories to promote such as their vintage line of tins for baked goods, older recipes, packaging and newer additions to the brand. They can trigger nostalgia with their consumers, or have a strategy where they post on a certain day of the week e.g. Facebook’s popular #ThrowbackThursday hashtag. Or allocate a day where they only post certain recipes and ask for consumers to contribute as well, the weekday will then act as a trigger and keep the posts consistent. Evoke emotion in the posts, get consumers to care about the brand and they’ll be more likely to come back. Including links and visuals with text posts will drive engagement more. Some advantages of Facebook include advertising, tools such as “sponsored stories,” which is distributed content within a consumers personal network, if they’ve liked a brand or post it will appear on their social network’s newsfeed endorsed; useful for attracting new consumers (Facebook, 2016).
Information can’t flow like water through an open channel alone, online it requires active sharing. A major advantage is content from sites such as Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and external websites can be shared on this platform and integrated on the company’s brand page. Facebook does have some disadvantages, common with other platforms, if negative posts go viral a brand’s reputation can be damaged, consumers leaving unfavorable comments can be seen by all and fake profiles. A useful way of measuring reach and engagement rates on Facebook is an analytics tool already created by the company Facebook Insights. It can measure the total number of likes, fans, weekly engagement rates and CTR; click through rates for individual posts. Giving valuable insights on how many people actually clicked on the post even if a comment or a like wasn’t left, giving the brand feedback for improvement. Overall, Edmonds choosing Facebook initially is favorable because in New Zealand it’s the third most popular site, illustrated below in the infographic (Pelea, 2015).
On a final note an ideal example of content approach or social media marketing for food products is Buzzfeed’s Tasty recipes brand launched in July 2015 (Chung, 2016). It has been consistently growing on channels of all the above platforms; Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. Posts usually feature a bird’s eye view video of DIY recipes tutorials which are seen to be easy and simple. “Tasty has accumulated over 41 million likes on its Facebook page, receives on an average of tens of millions of views on each of its videos,” (Chung, 2016). The posts are consistent, visually appealing and relative, because consumers can try the recipes at home, the videos make it look very simple. In fact the brand was so successful that Proper Tasty was launched in December showcasing British recipes (Chung, 2016). Video content has been accountable for much of the brands success. Below are examples of posts taken from each social media channel illustrating an approach that Edmonds could perhaps adapt or consider integrating to build its online and social media presence.
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Berger, J. (2013). Principle #1 of crafting contagious content: social currency [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljJh8YfUdWI&feature=youtu.be
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Edmonds. (2016). Edmonds cooking giveaway [image]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/EdmondsCooking/?fref=ts
Edmonds. (2015, April 29). We’re here on Facebook! Like our page and celebrate generations of Kiwi baking & cooking successes (and not-so successes) with us! [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/EdmondsCooking/photos/a.592610397570640.1073741827.592608190904194/598549540310059/?type=3&theater
Facebook. (2016). Understanding facebooks sponsored stories. Retrieved 6th June, 2016 from https://www.facebook.com/notes/hyperarts-web-design/understanding-facebooks-sponsored-stories/10150320031255844/
General Mills. (2016). Betty crocker. Retrieved 6th June, 2016 from http://www.bettycrocker.com/
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