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Creating consumer awareness from scratch

The quick recipe social media campaign

Our client's innovative oven needed to improve awareness among ideal target audiences and gain traction in a crowded marketplace. To address these issues head-on, Power created a comprehensive social media campaign to promote a series of cooking videos.

These short, engaging demonstrations made the entire process look easy and — most important — showed finished, fresh-from-the-oven results that proved highly impactful for potential consumers. The campaign’s overall results continue to be impressive. These videos have been viewed on YouTube nearly 15,000 times and have generated almost 65,000 clicks on Facebook in just a few short months.

Our client’s oven is remarkable. And we’re not just saying that because we’re paid to do so. These ovens utilize a combination of three cooking methods to perfectly prepare food quickly. Plus, there’s no need to wait for these ovens to pre-heat. It’s always ready to go. In mere minutes, it can match or exceed the results that would normally require hours in a conventional oven.

So why doesn’t everyone have one?

First, these ovens had an awareness problem. A large number of potential consumers were relatively blind to the product’s existence. Retail store sales teams did not fully understand the oven’s benefits either. This meant they weren’t always able to help consumers make an informed decision when looking for cooking products.

Second, from an appearance stand-point, these ovens look similar to an ordinary microwave oven. So, naturally, when consumers see it in a retail environment, they struggle to justify the higher cost.

The key to solving both issues wasn’t difficult to identify; it all came down to consumer education. But we couldn’t simply tell people how great the oven is. We needed to find a new way to show them the finished results and incredible time savings in order to establish real value for the product. We also wanted to build on our knowledge that the ovens had a true “seeing is believing” quality. Consumers who were able to witness the oven’s results in person were highly likely to purchase one. So we needed the right demographics to see the oven in action.

The popularity of recipe videos on social media was just starting to take off, so we recognized that this was an opportune time to create something that could be highly memorable and useful for promoting the ovens across multiple key demographics.

Now, our client didn’t ask for the creation of a complete social campaign at first. His original request was to write scripts for cooking videos that showed the oven preparing a baked potato, a whole chicken and a pan of lasagna. While those three videos were a good place to start, they alone didn’t come close to showing the full range of foods that the oven could quickly prepare. We wanted consumers to see it as the oven they could use for almost all their food preparation. So the project began to evolve.

We came back with 20 recipes which included the baked potato, whole chicken and lasagna, as well as several breakfast foods, seasonal favorites, soups, snacks and desserts. We were going to make it obvious that this is an oven that can cook your favorite steak to a perfect medium-rare just as easily as it will bake homemade chicken fingers for the kids.

Our client agreed that a range of recipes would be an effective way of conveying the product’s capabilities. He also recognized how, if executed correctly, this campaign could continue to grow and remain relevant with additional recipe videos throughout the year. Another 20 scripts were requested to boost our overall recipe arsenal.

We decided that our ultimate goal would be to consistently produce enough video content that our client’s website — which was already highly-effective from a retail perspective — would engage a community of existing oven owners, becoming the go-to resource for trusted recipes and cooking tips.

To help drive traffic, we joined forces with our clients’ internal social media team to plan the entire process. They already had access to established social media outlets with thousands of current followers, so we were able to leverage existing blogs, newsletters, email lists, social media channels — including the popular oven’s Facebook page — and other resources to make the campaign visible in the very digital spaces where our key target audiences were spending their free time.

A strategic plan was in place. But we needed to deliver all those videos on a tight budget without sacrificing quality or quantity. Forty is a lot more than the original request of three, and our client was able to obtain more funding, but we still had to be creative to make it all come together under budget. We partnered with a visual production company to create the videos in a highly efficient and economical way.

We determined that our best bet would be to streamline the shoot as much as possible. We formatted each video script to adhere to two locked-down camera sets for every recipe, and agreed that the background for the videos would never change. The only variables would be the ingredients, the finished food and props.

Each video was then produced in three stages. The first stage was an overhead shot of a model performing the prep work and mixing all the ingredients. The second stage was placing the food in the oven to cook and setting the controls. And the third stage was the same overhead shot as the first stage, but this time we would see the model interacting with fully-cooked and plated food.

This process eliminated any surprises during the shoot, as the crew simply moved from station to station without any set-up or tear-down. Food stylists were able plan their work well in advance and stayed one step ahead of the next shot. Once we hit our stride, we were able to film five to seven recipes in a single day. The approach also helped with post-production, as music and graphics were standardized across the board.

We also made sure to include the oven cooking times in the titles of the videos and compared them to traditional oven cooking times. Seeing “5-Minute Pizza Squares” would certainly stand out to parents who usually have to wait 15-20 minutes to prepare their kids’ favorite snacks.

When the social campaign was officially launched, the numbers were immediately impressive. Viewership and shares were strong across social sites, our client’s website traffic increased dramatically and the overall click-through response rates exceeded expectations.

To date, Facebook has been particularly strong, as video posts have received 21,317 views. The Bread Pudding post alone has been watched 3,824 times and shared by 413 people. Facebook ads returned a very low average cost-per-click, which ended up being 62% lower than initial predictions. And YouTube also proved to be an effective choice with nearly 15,000 total views. The most popular recipe? Our 25-Minute Whole Roasted Chicken video has been watched almost 2,200 times on our client’s YouTube channel.

But the most important aspect of the campaign was seeing a positive change in how people perceived ovens. Comment sections across all channels revealed what we knew from the beginning, that most consumers were unaware of the oven’s existence, but were excited to learn more — or even purchase one — after seeing the results and the fast cooking times. In fact, the awareness and educational components were working so well, our client revised their sales forecast for the following year based on those initial reactions.

At Power, we love helping clients see beyond a tactical task to actively address and change existing consumer behavior.

What entered the agency as a request for three short videos has now grown into a reoccurring campaign that rewards oven owners with desired content and encourages them to act as brand ambassadors among friends and family. And the comprehensive social strategy ensures that we are reaching the right potential consumers to continually drive more sales.

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