April 8, 2011
Jimmy Dean-Hillshire Farm-MWW Group PR Campaign Serves up Social Media Success Story at Blogger EventBy Jim Bucci
Seeing more and more female consumers looking to the blogosphere for tips and recommendations that influence their supermarket purchase decisions, Sara Lee's Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm brands needed to quickly enhance their online presence or risk rapidly losing ground to its competitors in this critical, emerging playing field. To up its online profile, the brands tabbed public relations agency MWW Group, which set its sights on BlogHer—the pre-eminent conference for female bloggers. With 2,400 influential bloggers in attendance, it would be the perfect event to establish the brands' relevancy.
"We wanted to immediately and significantly heighten the online presence of Sara Lee's Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm brands with a focus on building trust and relevancy in the blogs, site and online communities that reach the target consumer for each brand," explains Joe Cohen, MWW Group vice president. "We identified BlogHer as the perfect platform. The event served as a unique opportunity to establish a face-to-face connection with more than 2,000 influencers. Additionally, the timing was perfect as both brands had new products to feature at the show."
With BlogHer scheduled for the first week of August and both Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm both offering major, new product launches timed to the critical back-to-school season, the event's timing was perfect. Both brands could leverage the event as a vehicle to announce the product launches, generating coverage that would drive momentum going into the back-to-school season.
At BlogHer, both Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm took center stage, ranking among the top four most talked about brands at the event with Jimmy Dean capturing the largest online share of voice (SOV) of all brands.
The Challenge: Cut through the competition—battle more than 100 attending brands looking for the same thing—attention: With more than 100 brands present at BlogHer, which included a who's who of consumer brands, the biggest challenge for Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm was the competition for a share of voice. "But, the team's ability to capture extremely high levels of SOV for Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm, especially with both brands being new players in the social media space was a testament to the hard work and collaboration between the teams," says Cohen.
"As both Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm are relatively new entrants in the space and the competition for attention at BlogHer is fierce, we put a stake in the ground and set up the biggest booth at the show," he explains. "Perhaps more important than the scale of the booth, we created an activation that delivered value to bloggers. Both booths included cooking demos, interactive sessions with celebrity chefs and experts and an opportunity to taste, touch and learn about the brands."
The Strategy: Target "prime prospect" consumer targets—the 100 most influential bloggers for both brands: Before Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm tackled the bloggers at BlogHer, MWW Group and the brands' inter-agency teams identified "prime prospect" consumer targets for both brands. "While there were some variances in behavior and media consumption, both Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm targeted young moms who frequently looked to the web and blogs specifically to make their food purchasing decisions," explains Cohen.
The PR team conducted extensive research to gauge the online behavior of the "prime prospect" target consumers, identifying a list of 100 top bloggers. The bloggers were targeted by reach, content and relevance to both brands and would be included in high-interaction activities during the event.
The brands shared the largest booth at BlogHer, which was stationed directly in front of the entrance to the second floor of the showroom. Designed as a giant kitchen, the booth provided an opportunity for the bloggers to become immersed in the brand experience. Bloggers received samples of new products and attended cooking demonstrations by brand chefs.
"The team spent a great deal of time researching the event and blogger's interests and behavior so that we could craft an activation that would be interesting and impactful," says Cohen. "During the months and weeks leading up to BlogHer, we spent a great deal of time refining the operational execution of the booth. It was very important that we deliver a very positive and seamless experience to bloggers."
To make sure the momentum gained at BlogHer continued, the PR team launched an aggressive post-event outreach effort, continuing to maintain the relationships they had built with nearly 2,000 bloggers.
The Results: Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm take center stage at BlogHer: Both Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm ranked among the top four most talked about brands at BlogHer. Jimmy Dean captured the largest online SOV of all brands. The event drove exposure surrounding key product launches by both brands, with Jimmy Dean creating 67 million impressions, while Hillshire Farm generated 107 million impressions. Both brands provided product samples to a majority of attendees at BlogHer, which resulted in dozens of positive online product reviews. Hillshire Farm served 1,800 sandwiches, while Jimmy Dean offered up 1,700 samples.
The efforts also boosted the brands' Facebook presence. Jimmy Dean added 2,893 new fans during the days surrounding BlogHer, while Hillshire Farm added 700 fans, building a foundation of support for its newly launched page.
Secrets of Success: Read on as Cohen explains why this PR effort for Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm resulted in such great success.
Be familiar with the blogs essential to your brand. "As with any media, take time to understand the bloggers that are critical to your brand," he offers. "Familiarize yourself with the topics and information that they cover so that you can craft programs that will resonate and be of relevance."
Pitch bloggers with an eye toward helping them elevate their own blog. "When targeting bloggers, craft programs that deliver value to them and their readers," he says. "Whether it is tips, exclusive content or special offers, provide bloggers with information that helps them market and enhance their own blog."
Be patient when building relationships with bloggers—it may take longer with bloggers than reporters. "The blogosphere is a community, especially as you delve into certain segments, such as food, parenting and fitness," he says. "As we all know in PR, reputations take time to build and can be shattered in an instant. This is especially true in the blogosphere. Be prepared to take the time necessary to cultivate meaningful relationships with bloggers as you will need to manage and tend to these relationships in order for them to trust and respect you and the brands you represent."
Winner's Profile: Headquartered in New Jersey and with additional offices in Chicago, Dallas, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Trenton, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., MWW Group offers expertise in consumer marketing, corporate communications, digital media strategies, investor relations, public affairs, government relations, sustainability, technology and healthcare.