Branding comes in many

Do you tweet? Do you have a blog – read a blog?  Are you on Facebook? What is your Instagram or hashtag i.d.? 

The conversation in today’s society has gone from the spoken word and the handwritten word – to the typewritten word. There is even a dictionary for shortcuts when you text. Grammar is out the window and in its place are words typed in such a way that you get the jest of the conversation without having to donate too much time.

While some consumers have jumped on board with all the new social media creations, the retail world and other marketers have also jumped in, afraid to miss out on or be seen as out of step with today’s ‘techie’ society. 

Case in point. Canada Beef Inc. views themselves as a leader in the world of social media. They’ve been on twitter and Facebook for more than five years and have their own blog, six different twitter accounts, Instagram and Google+.  

They recently worked on a collaborative social media campaign with Canada Safeway to develop the theme of, ‘Meat the decision makers behind the counter’. While Safeway’s goal was to increase awareness of their full service meat case, Canada Beef’s goal was to increase consumer knowledge of Canadian beef cuts and direct them to experts at the counter who can help make meal planning easier.

“Our goals aligned perfectly. Social media provides another tool in the tool box to inform and educate both our beef customers and our producers,” says Heather Travis, Canada Beef’s Director of Public Relations & Marketing Communications.

“Reaching customers online has become second nature to Canada Beef. We can type a blog post and syndicate it on other social platforms. Seventy-eight percent of the traffic on our consumer website www.beefinfo.org comes from social media.”

Canada Beef recruited ten bloggers across Canada who live near a local Safeway and are already Safeway shoppers. The bloggers met with Safeway and their local meat manager and toured the meat case to see how meat is handled once it reaches the store. Bloggers were able to ask many questions and then communicate the answers to their online followers. Many of the bloggers are stay-at-home moms.

The Canada Safeway and Canada Beef social media team also hosted a Twitter event (chat), with the Canada Safeway Meat Merchandiser. The Canadian Beef messaging shared during this live chat was distributed to over 160,000 Canadians, generating over 2 million media impressions (double the industry average). Travis said that within seven minutes of beginning the event, #loveCDN beef became a National trending topic.

While Canada Safeway has utilized Facebook for a few years, they are new on twitter.

“Since twitter is real time – and very fast-paced because of the character limitations, we can respond to our customers almost immediately,” says Laura Arbuthnot, Digital Marketing Supervisor, Canada Safeway.

“We have about 1,400 regular followers of the Safeway twitter page. We monitor it daily and use the questions as a template to direct the inquiries to the right link.”

“Obviously there is an influx of messages if there is a recall. But again, with social media, we are able to communicate the right information and direct the consumer to the site with more information. There is a lot of behind the scenes work with many of the Safeway departments to ensure that the information we supply is current and correct.”

During the Safeway twitter party Jeff Sangster, a long time Safeway meat merchandiser in Calgary, fielded many of the questions. After the more than one hour session, the information that was drilled down from the fast-paced questions and answer period was extremely useful going forward.

“We had 1,500 tweets in the twitter chat and 168 contributors,” says Arbuthnot. “Many of the questions were about safe handling of meat, how to choose a cut of meat, what is the difference between AA beef and AAA beef, and preparation ideas.”

“It really opened the door for us to promote our in-store meat experts and that they are available to answer questions. Safeway also has 180 stores across Canada with meat cutters to cut meat to the customer’s specification.”

Betty Kellsey, Safeway Manager, Public Affairs, Alberta was enthusiastic about the results of the promotion. “The whole purpose of the promotion was to promote Canadian beef as a nutritional and affordable ingredient in the family’s weekly food basket.”

“We were also able to dispel some of the fears that consumers have about cooking the various cuts of beef. They don’t have to buy the most expensive cut of meat to make a fantastic meal.”

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