Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the summerfruit marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consumption, under the Hort Innovation Summerfruit Fund.
The 2018/19 financial year saw another successful Australian summerfruit marketing campaign to help drive growth for the category. The domestic campaign focused on the creation and development of brand assets and content which was amplified through public relations and social media activity, as well as in-store activities conducted with Woolworths. Looking overseas to three key export markets (China, Thailand and Malaysia), the Taste Australia retail marketing campaign focused on in-store activities to drive timely awareness and consumption, and was supported by social media campaigns and media events.
New creative and brand assets
Using the insights from a consumer research report, new ‘Australian Summer Stonefruit’ brand assets were created including a new logo, strapline and brand guidelines. The research identified two key target audiences for summerfruit: ‘fruit adorers’ and ‘variety hunters’.
These were used as the basis for the refreshed brand that speaks to both the deliciousness of summerfruit and to the variety that summerfruits offer. Two taglines were developed: ‘Deliciously Different’ and ‘Woohoo, it’s summer’ to provide deeper connection to the brand positioning.
Exclusive recipe content and videos were developed for use across social, digital and print media, including six new recipes and four cooking videos. The project also captured generic summerfruit images to utilise in broader marketing activity such as export campaigns. Content was further amplified on the MyFoodBook channel, a growing digital cookbook and recipe community that offers a reach of 4.2 million people per month.
Social media and public relations (PR)
Social media and PR activity were used to address barriers to purchase, with a targeted program that reached the right audience with the right messages in the channels they use most. The focus was on demonstrating the key characteristics of summerfruit to drive interest and purchase among the target audience – those characteristics being seasonality, taste, health and versatility. This activity achieved 81 pieces of coverage resulting in 13.8 million opportunities for people to see summerfruit content across print, online and social. Meanwhile, separate social media activity achieved an engagement rate of seven per cent (likes and comments) on Facebook and 14 per cent on Instagram. Additionally, Hort Innovation R&D Manager and Accredited Practising Dietitian Jemma O’Hanlon leveraged her platforms to promote health messaging about summerfruit.
In-store activations were used to help identify factors that contribute to consumer demand for yellow and white flesh nectarines in the domestic retail environment. This was so that declining consumption of the category could be addressed effectively, and ultimately reversed.
A mix of 24 premium and mainstream Woolworths stores were involved in the trial from November to December 2018, where shoppers had the opportunity to sample fruit that was chosen for its higher quality, variety and large size.
Sampling staff were trained on product attributes so that they could highlight them to consumers, and asked brief questions to determine the shoppers’ feedback on the fruit being sampled, their intention to buy, and whether they were planning to buy nectarines in that shopping trip anyway. Sales data across the trial period was tracked across the participating stores.
In total, 24 sampling sessions were held that resulted in 2773 engagements with consumers and an average sale of 49.5kg of summerfruit from each sampling session. Both yellow and white nectarines were on price promotion during the sessions. Over half of the shoppers that tried a sample indicated that they liked the natural sweetness of the fruit.
Taste Australia is Hort Innovation's whole-of-horticulture brand used to increase the profile, sales and consumption of premium Australian horticulture products in export markets. In 2018/19, the summerfruit Taste Australia retail marketing campaign was conducted in China, Thailand and Malaysia. It involved in-store sampling, a profile-raising event with an ambassador, a WeChat campaign, influencer activity and e-commerce channels.
Marketing in China
A total of 344 sampling sessions were held at two major retailers in China, where sales increased by 21 per cent at City Super and 27 per cent at Ole compared to 2017/18 data. A launch event was also held at Michelin-starred restaurant Bo Shanghai and Michelin Recommended Restaurant Daimon, with 16 consumer media and four influencers in attendance. John Moore, CEO of Summerfruit Australia at the time, presented industry-specific-information. Awareness was subsequently raised through 19 pieces of media coverage and four ambassador posts. Content from the campaign reached close to 4.5 million people, with the value of this coverage equivalent to more than $79,000.
Seven Australian-Chinese influencers were engaged to visit a summerfruit orchard in Australia as well, to create and share content for their social channels and audiences in China. This resulted in 34 WeChat posts, with the exposure having a media value of more than $45,000. Meanwhile, an e-commerce program was run with online grocery retailer Hema, and included prominent homepage advertising, bundle sales promotions and pre-sale information shared with 100 ‘key opinion leaders’ associated with Hema, who promoted the fruit and promotions via their own channels. As a result of this activity, nectarine, peach and sugar plum sales increased by 261 per cent, 450 per cent and 461 per cent respectively.
Activity in China also included an offline-to-online engagement with ZNB Fitness. This saw Australian summerfruit messaging taken to 1400 health enthusiasts, to help generate greater awareness among target customers and motivate purchasing behaviour.
The Summerfruit China Co-Promotions project is an initiative by Hort Innovation to support Australian exporters and growers to implement effective marketing activities to drive awareness, trial and overall sales of Australian summerfruit products in China. It is part of the overarching Taste Australian framework to drive premium positioning. In 2018/19, this involved Australian companies Montague and IMEXAG.
Montague organised a wholesaler roadshow where two of their brands – Croc Eggs (plums) and The Montague Tree (nectarines and peaches) – were launched in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou in January. The launch made lots of noise and showed trade the playful nature of the brand and the versatility and quality of the fruit. This also led to content for both social and PR channels. In-store sampling for Croc Eggs was held in 97 stores across three retailers – Hema, Ole and City Super – while The Montague Tree partnered with six retailers to deliver 79 in-store tasting sessions. The activations were supported with events at SPIN Cycle gym in Shanghai and Bunny Wonderland Bakery, while a ‘City Super Mum and Kids’ summerfruit cooking class was held with a celebrity chef. On social, 178 WeChat followers were gained, being mainly trade.
IMEXAG organised 407 sampling sessions held at three retailers across 14 stores (World Good Farming, Well Fruits and Fresh). In the e-commerce space, a video was developed and packaging designed with product information for use to all e-commerce retailer channels. An estimated incremental sale of 160 metric tonnes was achieved from promotional activity.
Other export markets
- In Malaysia, a total of 128 sampling sessions were held at five retailers across 46 stores. Trade outcomes indicated a 10 to 30 per cent sales increase at different retailers. To launch summerfruit into Malaysia, an event themed ‘Sweeter when Shared’ aimed to drive awareness and education on the commodity among key influencers. Held at retailer Village Grocer, the event featured Belinda Chee, a celebrity mum, who acted as a guest chef and presented several dishes using Australian summerfruit, also sharing information on nutritional value. In total 29 journalists from 25 media outlets attended, resulting in 48 pieces of coverage. This coverage reached more than 7.35 million people and had an equivalent media value of more than $383,000.
- In Thailand, there were a total of 95 sampling sessions held at four retailers across 25 stores. A launch event for trade partners, retailers and media in February also aimed to generate awareness and interest in selling Australian summerfruit. There were 58 attendees who engaged in a cooking demonstration and other educational content, with Tops Supermarket sharing the content on their social media. The event also strengthened relationships with retailers, with Thailand’s leading retailer, Gourmet Market, agreeing to sampling activities in its stores post-event and retailer Tops showcasing further recipes on its social channels. The posting of an Aussie summerfruit smoothie recipe from the event alone generated more than 655,000 opportunities for people to see the content.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Summerfruit Fund