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Solo Open Kitchen whets the appetite of Belgian consumers

Cooking community & relationship marketing program

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Insight

Unilever saw the market share of its margarine brand Solo decline year after year. Consumers embraced alternative products and trendy cooking techniques. Inevitably, the market segment of cooking fats shrunk. The brand also struggled with an image issue: it was associated with traditional cooking – rich in taste, but unctuous.

Consumers often have neither the time nor the inspiration to prepare a fresh meal. They turn to online media for daily inspiration, easy recipes and cooking tips.

Objectives

Reposition the Solo brand: from “a facilitator to bake meat” to “a good and tasty ingredient for a variety of recipes”.

Grow sales volume in a declining category by cementing the loyalty of existing customers, convincing new consumer groups and commissioning brand ambassadors.

Work

Based on a new claim “Solo, your everyday inspiring cooking partner”, we created the “Solo Open Kitchen” digital platform to bring the new brand promise to life.

Strategically, this meant a radical shift to a media mix built around a digital brand headquarter. Product-driven communication was turned into cooking storylines, that determine the choice and content of the communication channels.

We position Solo as a cooking companion eager to share culinary inspiration with and between consumers. The community provides an active role for the consumers which stimulates them to become ambassadors and enters them in the long-term customer relationship marketing program.

We have been running and deploying this ever-evolving program since 2007. Over the years it has grown into a lively community with a focus on engagement, user frequency and conversion. Social outposts and mobile app extensions grow reach and experience.

By creating appealing content and inspirational storytelling we can claim domains that are highly relevant for the Solo brand - such as BBQ, Sweet Baking, … All this supported by tactics such as gamification and interactive video workshops for increased loyalty.

By closely monitoring consumer behavior, we make sure that every optimization of the platform leads to extra conversion and more return. Which means: better interactions and engagement, extended reach to existing and new audiences, quality content for media planning.

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Result

 

Solo Open Kitchen has become the largest Belgian cooking community.

Expansion in yearly brand contacts to 9 mio visits and 20.000 recipes.

A strong RM program keeps the dialogue with 250.000+ Belgian consumers going.

The online community with over 175.000 Belgian members contributes actively.

Interactions with the brand are getting more and more relevant as we speak – 80.000 members use the platform and mobile apps very actively, which makes them potential brand ambassadors.

Unilever research has shown that the Solo Open Kitchen program has an evident impact on brand perception and drove the Solo brand back into growth.

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instagram.com/soloopenkitchen