Chobani tastes success with experience management platform

Qualtrics platform brings together CX insights and staff engagement metrics

Chobani's Damian Young
Chobani's Damian Young

Yogurt company, Chobani Australia, has sunk its teeth into an experience management platform to unite customer experience insights and staff engagement metrics.

Chobani Australia marketing general manager, Damian Young, told CMO the company can now effectively measure brand awareness and customer engagement thanks to its implementation of Qualtrics’ CX management platform.

“Our basic marketing strategy is we focus on making great products. The next thing we do is make sure the products are available for sale, through Coles and Woolworths,” he said. “The third thing is we need to get people to try it, and once they’ve tried it, and if they like it, invite them to talk about it. 

“Qualtrics helps us measure very quickly, clearly and efficiently, whether or not people are aware of our products, and how they feel about our products - and those are two key important points.”

Since the yogurt brand launched in Australia in 2011, sales have grown from about $200,000 to $93 million in 2016, with 8.4 per cent market share. Chobani also owns Gippsland Dairy.

Chobani, pronounced ‘Cho-Bahn-Knee,’ means ‘shepherd’ in some Mediterranean cultures and is symbolic for a gift that comes from the heart.

Balancing martech with consumer strategy

Young said the company upped its martech activities in the last few years after implementing a Salesforce CRM system, which is in use for consumer contacts and managed by the consumer loyalty team. The company is looking to build on that and integrate it with field marketing team to better manage their missions.

“That was a really big step forward for our company because we didn’t have a CRM system before that,” Young said. “After implementing it, though, we still stuck with our original way of responding, which was handwritten cards to consumers who had a problem with our product. The CRM has made the data processing and reporting part easier, but it is important to maintain a personal touch when we interact with consumers and fans.”

Chobani wants to take the next step in its CRM journey and integrate the platform with the field marketing sampling team in order to manage their missions. However, Young said marketers shouldn’t simply fixate on the martech aspect alone, but also consider practical marketing measures and big picture goals.

“Really important to us are the technical aspects of what we do, but also the real-world things,” he said. “At Chobani from a technical perspective, we don’t see any of the tools as an engine themselves - we see them as a way to improve our business and to help us talk more efficiently to consumers.”

Companies also need to take a step back and properly examine consumer needs, Young said.

“We see the trends very differently at Chobani,” he explained. “Frankly, the food industry is not performing very well at the moment. There’s a lack of innovation. There are not a lot of people focusing on what consumers really want. At Chobani, we have a very simple food philosophy: We just want to make great food, for more people.

“People lose focus on their consumers when they worry a lot about all these wonderful trends happening out there in the marketplace. Making great food is not difficult. It is a personal choice that each company has to make. We all have the same machines, the same factories, capability. It is what you put through the machine that makes a difference - the ingredients and the processes.

“A lot of marketers, in general, have become more focused on their trend reports rather than focusing on making great food.”

Asked his next steps, Young said there’s a continued focus on social media and driving digital efforts. The big focus involves garnering greater feedback and input.

“We are talking to consumers 52 weeks a year, so not only do we want to find out if they are aware of our products and how they feel about our products, but we often want to check in with them to find out what they think about the new ideas,” he continued.

This was why the company chose to bring analytics capability and market research in-house, and deployed Qualtrics.

“We have saved a considerable amount of money and our turnaround time now for putting a question out to market, and getting a response, is measured in days, rather than weeks and months,” he said.

The company is not only using Qualtrics on its standard reporting of consumer feedback, but also as a way to put out questions to consumers.

“The world is our oyster from an information perspective. At Chobani, we love talking to our consumers. We often actually just invite them in, our favourite fans on Facebook, and we’ll have a chat and talk them through the products. That gives us a real good qualitative feedback on our products,” he said.

“When we have a question we want to put to a large group of consumers, all we have to do is come back into the office, clearly define the question, identify the audience we want to ask, and then push it out onto the Qualtrics platform.”

The platform has also enabled the company to convey a clear and consistent message to consumers - and to build on the aspect of personalisation. 

“Part of our role as a food company is to plant a flag in the ground and say, ‘Here’s what we stand for.’ And consumers really respond well to that,” Young said. “More and more shoppers are looking for companies that they can believe in, and a lot of the time, it is really important to get that feedback from consumers. Flavour is a very personal thing.”

Digital is the sweet spot in terms of marketing spend, and Young said Chobani doesn’t tend to do traditional communications.

“Our investment primarily is below-the-line, and social media being a critical part of it,” he said. “We use social media in very interesting ways: We often use it to connect with fans and make sure that we are helping them share our story. We also use it in conjunction with our retailers to let consumers know what’s happening in-store and whether there are promotions.”

More recently, Chobani has been eyeing less traditional digital platforms and using more emerging channels it considers more real and authentic and not as highly curated as the content that’s going up on an Instagram Wall or a Facebook Feed.

“We are looking at more 24 hours, seven days a week social media, talking about stories. So SnapChat Stories is really important to us moving forward,” Young said. “Fans want to get more engaged in how our products are made and what we’re doing.”

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              

 

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