We all know who New Zealand’s largest dairy co-operative is. But do you know the second biggest? It’s Westland Milk Products, located in Hokitika on the West Coast.
Westgold is the butter produced by Westland Milk Products and until 2016 it was an export only product. The product itself already had a brand; we were tasked with creating a launch campaign to aid its arrival in supermarkets by building awareness and increasing sales.
To begin we researched the category Westgold was in and ran focus groups in both the North and South islands to identify our target market, find out where they wanted this product to sit and what would make them buy it.
With premium gourmet products already on the market, but at a price point our target shopper felt was out of reach, we identified a gap between everyday basic butter and premium gourmet. This ‘everyday gourmet’ category gap was ripe for filling and a perfect fit for Westgold. ‘The Everyday Gourmet’ was also a mantle that suited the target shopper we had identified; these are a group of people who enjoy cooking and baking and are willing to pay a slightly higher price for a quality product with integrity.
With a clear understanding of where Westgold sat in the market, who our target shoppers were, and what they wanted, we developed propositions around people, craft, region and environment and re-tested these again through focus groups across NZ.
Block butter conjures perceptions of purity and simplicity - perfect seeing as the Westgold story was one of craft and tradition.
People wanted a quality, yummy tasting butter they could afford to use every day.
Westgold was really a start-up brand, but behind this is a company with heritage and a track record of tradition and authenticity that other brands couldn’t challenge. We leveraged this to create a brand activation that focused on heritage, tradition and craft.
From our focus groups we knew the propositions that resonated strongly were “Cream, heart & soul” and “Crafted over generations”.
"Cream, heart & soul" speaks to purity of the butter (it’s made with fresh cream and a pinch of salt), the authenticity of the people who make it and the traditional method they use.
"Crafted over generations" tells the story behind the product, that Westgold butter has heritage and a history of family farming.
Our research also served another purpose; it meant we could be smart with a limited budget, making it work hard by focusing on sharp bursts of activity through key channels. In the industry it’s sometimes called ‘brand dating’, but just like Westgold, we prefer to keep things simple. Essentially, it meant matching our product with compatible mediums to hit the right market at the right times.
Understanding the path to purchase was vital to the success of this campaign. We asked ourselves “where can we find our shoppers, and what happens after they’re exposed to our message?” This allowed us to be strategic about brand alignment, ad type and placement.
Digital marketing efforts were used to lay some groundwork and increase brand awareness of Westgold before the launch campaign kicked off. Social media activity began some months earlier with Facebook deemed the most appropriate channel to capture our target shoppers and influence them. Initially this was in the form of posts, with some Facebook advertising added to the mix as time progressed. To be smart about how we used the budget, ads were at first targeted to locations where we knew the product was available.
We used this pre-launch opportunity to introduce the New Zealand market to Westgold as up until then it had only ever been exported and was an unknown brand.
We don’t believe in posting for the sake of it; careful thought was put into creating engaging content relevant to our target shopper. Working closely and collaboratively with Westgold, Facebook content was mapped out in advance and took a holistic brand approach, covering the company, it’s heritage, the farming families who produce the milk, the traditional craft used to make the butter and the region it comes from, as well as being heavy in lifestyle content such as recipes. Incidentally, true to brand, many of these recipes have come from the Westgold farming families themselves.
We noticed immediately that recipes were popular with our followers, and were often shared - our best performing recipe post had 123 shares. These shares really expanded our reach quite quickly. Follower numbers had increased slowly and steadily in the lead up to our launch campaign, and we noticed a sharp spike once it went to market.
When it was time to launch the ‘Cream, Heart & Soul’ campaign, for about 7 weeks, we boosted Facebook posts (which received a lot of likes), placed ads on Facebook as well as utilising Google adwords and Google display ads, and running pre-roll videos on YouTube.
Pre-roll video on YouTube was used to increase traffic to the website.
In the time it ran, we registered 14,000 page views to the website and close to 80% of those were new visitors.
Animated GIFs using the campaign slogans and product shot were used for Google display ads to increase clicks through to the website. And we also created a range of eye-catching, mouth watering toast topping GIFs to show the product in action.
Our digital marketing team love working with Westgold (it’s an ongoing partnership) as they’re a brave, forward-looking brand who invested a fair chunk of their budget (and trust) into digital channels.
For the point of sale we created supporting assets such as A2 posters and wobblers to draw attention to Westgold butter in a very busy and competitive retail space, and remind customers of our brand promise.
From the beginning we could tell Westgold was a great product with a great story to tell, and we truly believed that if we could get people to try it, they’d keep on buying it.
A newcomer to a static grocery category and one in which consumers show little brand loyalty, Westgold has trended up in terms of week on week sales since launch. In fact, we've put Westgold in one out of every 10 households across the nation!
And in just nine months (Sept '16 - June '17) they hit the one million block mark.
Westgold has continued to see serious month on month increases in sales, even outside of promotional periods when other brands are on special.
Westgold butter is finding a place in hearts and pantries around New Zealand long term, maintaining in-store sales when other brands are on special. This campaign proved that if we drive trial, we drive repeat purchases.