How a social engagement program has helped Barilla's bottom line

Pasta and sauce maker shares how customer advocacy through social channels is helping the brand's success

Getting to know your consumers can better can be a difficult challenge for FMCG companies, with no real chance to engage in anything more than a one-sided conversation in the lead-up to and during the sales process.

Pasta and sauce maker, Barilla, has tackled this challenge head-on with a social engagement program that is identifying and engaging directly with customers to uncover insights and build advocacy, in conjunction with social media agency, Digivizer.

According to Barilla’s marketing manager, Carly King, this is a big step forward from what the company was doing when she joined six years ago.

“We were traditionally using mass media to drive awareness,” she said. “The messages from that are based on research, but they are very inward looking.

“For the past couple of years, we have been working with Digivizer and really listening to how consumers talk about our brand and the general product of pasta, pasta sauce, cooking and so on, and getting a better understanding of those consumers.”

The relationship came together in 2015 when Barilla was launching a new range of gluten-free pasta. Digivizer was engaged to listen in to social conversations and identify the most relevant and influential people to connect with.

King said the exercise quickly uncovered previously unknown insights from gluten-free buyers.

“The thing that we hadn’t taken on-board was they were saying they didn’t have to cook a separate meal any more, and could feed it to their family and they’d never guess it was gluten free,” she said. “We were able to take that insight and put it into the broader digital advertising, which we then pushed out about six months after launch.”

The results were clearly reflected in the sales performance of the new line.

“In the 12 months on the market, in one retail channel we achieved 13 per cent of the market, which is significant,” King said.

The social listening platform has also helped Barilla respond to any issues, even when the conversation is not specifically directed to the company. While it continues to use focus groups, this is now mostly for finessing advertising content.

King said she is revelling in the opportunity to be closer to her customers, and this has enabled her to optimise her media spend.

“We are still a challenger brand in this market, so part of the job to be done is still driving awareness,” she. “But we have reduced our spend on TV in favour of being present in digital.”

Barilla’s share of voice in social has also produced data that has been useful in negotiation with its distribution partners.

“From a marketing perspective I can talk to their people about how we leverage off each other,” King said.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

Anyone can become a victim of the sophisticated schemes set up by these scam websites. It's not about being smart; I don't consider mysel...

Mathieu Lecompte

ACCC takes Meta to court over scam cryptocurrency advertising

Read more

Nice blog!Blog is really informative , valuable.keep updating us with such amazing blogs.influencer agency in Melbourne

Rajat Kumar

Why flipping Status Quo Bias is the key to B2B marketing success

Read more

good this information are very helpful for millions of peoples customer loyalty Consultant is an important part of every business.

Tom Devid

Report: 4 ways to generate customer loyalty

Read more

Great post, thanks for sharing such a informative content.

CodeWare Limited

APAC software company brings on first VP of growth

Read more

This article highlights Gartner’s latest digital experience platforms report and how they are influencing content operations ecosystems. ...

vikram Roy

Gartner 2022 Digital Experience Platforms reveals leading vendor players

Read more

Blog Posts

​Why we need to look at the whole brand puzzle, not just play with the pieces

Creating meaningful brands should be a holistic and considered process. However, all too frequently it’s one that is disparate and reactive, where one objective is prioritized at the expense of all others. So, what are the key pieces to the ‘good’ brand puzzle?

Marketing overseas? 4 ways to make your message stick

Companies encounter a variety of challenges when it comes to marketing overseas. Marketing departments often don’t know much about the business and cultural context of the international audiences they are trying to reach. Sometimes they are also unsure about what kind of marketing they should be doing.

Cynthia Dearin

Author, business strategist, advisor

From unconscious to reflective: What level of data user are you?

Using data is a hot topic right now. Leaders are realising data can no longer just be the responsibility of dedicated analysts or staff with ‘data’ in their title or role description.

Dr Selena Fisk

Data expert, author

Sign in