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Pollock Communications’ social media-focused campaign earns a Bulldog Bronze

The Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) wanted to create news that reaches new audiences and expands cranberry consumption. To assist the CMC, Pollock Communications created a strategic social media campaign to create a paradigm shift around the fall season and engage a younger audience—Millennials—through a cranberry photo-sharing contest timed to the Friendsgiving holiday. Friendsgiving is a Millennial-driven trend in which this generation celebrates the holiday with friends in the days and weeks before and after Thanksgiving.

The aim was to capitalize on an existing Millennial-focused event through social media to capture the interest and attention of this important new audience, create cranberry buzz, encourage cranberry trials and generate creative contest entries on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

The campaign was successful because it resulted in hundreds of cranberry contest entries, significant social media chatter about cranberries and impactful sales increases across all cranberry products—creating a new generation of cranberry lovers and expanding cranberry consumption. Read on to see how Pollock helped drive the results, earning the firm and its client a Bronze Award in the “Best Use of Digital/Social for a Food & Beverage Campaign” category in Bulldog Reporter’s 2016 Digital/Social Awards.

Pollock Communications team

“Many brands are actively engaged on social media, with very large followings, but not all non-profits are able to maintain similar levels of marketing spends and consumer interaction when it comes to social campaigns,” says Louise Pollock, President of Pollock Communications. “So one unique challenge for some non-profits is being able to generate ample buzz about their social media campaigns, in order to make them successful.”

The Challenge: Pollock Communications researched the habits of Millennials to determine what type of cranberry-focused campaign would reach them in a meaningful and impactful way. The research uncovered several key findings, including:

  • Millennials love food and social media, and they love to share photos of their food on social media
  • Friendsgiving has a significant amount of social media buzz surrounding the celebrations
  • Millennials are motivated by social media influencers

“Pollock Communications recommended promoting the Cranberry Friendsgiving social campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, but the Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) did not have an Instagram page to interact with consumers,” Pollock relates. “We helped overcome this obstacle by creating and managing an Instagram account for the CMC.”

The research insights guided Pollock’s planning to: a) develop a social media photo-sharing contest focused on creative cranberry recipes and décor to create news about the versatility of cranberries and their myriad uses; b) time the contest to Friendsgiving to maximize interest and social media buzz; and c) partner with social media influencers to motivate Millennials to try cranberries and enter the contest.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced at the outset was creating awareness for the contest among our target of Millennials with a limited budget and no advertising,” Pollock explains. “With some creativity and ingenuity, Pollock Communications was able to drive awareness through a meaningful partnership with Millennial influencers Elsie & Emma of A Beautiful Mess, and Carlene of Healthfully Ever After, as well as targeted outreach to bloggers and colleges.”

Cranberry Friendsgiving Guide

The Execution: Having established their campaign objectives, the team embarked on a series of promotional activities with its target audience. As Pollock explains, “Pollock Communications employed several strategies to encourage social media engagement including:

  • Working with influencers who reached and resonated with our target audience
  • Pitching bloggers who promoted their posts on their social media pages to encourage engagement
  • Making the social engagement fun and easy, incorporating a visual and an incentive to post
  • Creating a relevant hashtag to drive social awareness
  • Promoting the contest on the Cranberry Marketing Committee website
  • Monitoring social media buzz and interaction, and responding, as appropriate, to further engage with consumers”

“In order to ensure we were creating awareness among the desired target, Pollock Communications expanded its planned outreach to include an additional Millennial influencer and targeted bloggers. We wanted to ensure we were creating widespread awareness about the contest in order to make the campaign a success,” Pollock says. “Since many bloggers enjoy hosting their own giveaways, Pollock Communications conducted a proactive blogger outreach featuring giveaways with cranberry products and cranberry-themed prizes, and secured targeted contest placements highlighting cranberry ideas and creations.”

As the campaign rolled out, the team found its efforts were resonating with its audience—who in turn helped to spread the word themselves. “Since Millennials love to share on social media, initial coverage helped to drive more impressions because Millennials told their friends about the Cranberry Friendsgiving Photo Contest and encouraged them to enter as well,” she adds. “In essence, the Millennials we reached became additional influencers spreading the word about our campaign.”

The Results: Success of the program was measured by the number of contest entrants, media impressions and increases in social media followers for CMC pages, as well as sales increases for cranberry products at retail. “Pollock Communications exceeded all of our goals!” offers Pollock. The achievements included:

  • 245 entries
  • 211,317,802 impressions in traditional and social media
  • 190,115 impressions through multiple retailers’ social media channels
  • 20% – 138% increases in followers of CMC social media pages
  • Redner’s Warehouse Markets partnership reached more than 1.2 million shoppers

Key Takeaways: “Pollock Communications is always open to adjusting our campaigns and shifting gears as necessary, in order to maximize opportunities, results and success, as we implement activities—especially with the ever-changing social media world,” Pollock relates. “Also, fostering a meaningful partnership with social influencers is an asset in reaching your target and generating results. The right partners can be powerful social media allies!”

Secrets of Success: Pollock offers the following campaign insights to help your next PR effort achieve similar results—demonstrating why Pollock Communications and its client won a Bronze in Bulldog’s Digital/Social Awards:

  • Consider who your target audience is and what motivates them to participate in social campaigns
  • Identify relevant influencers who will resonate with your target audience
  • Engage with consumers who participate in the social campaign to build trust and enhance the consumer relationship
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