As a performance marketer I tend to shy away from branding and any marketing in which the ROI is unmeasurable. That said, when I see an online marketing campaign executed extremely well with an almost certain positive return on investment I can’t help but share it.
One of the best social media marketing campaigns I have seen executed in the past few years is Sanitariums handling of the Christchurch Earthquake in February 2011 which destroyed their factory and cut the supply of Marmite to Australasia until March 2013. The Marmite team made the best of this crisis and used it to generate significant brand exposure calling on those loyal to the brand to spread the word about the products relaunch.
The campaign predominantly focused on their Facebook page – below I have shared some of the highlights. Clearly this was a unique situation for Marmite and you will not be able to use the same strategy for your brand however being creative and taking advantage of your brands unique features or events can prove an extremely lucrative marketing strategy. Observing how Marmite’s strategy worked will hopefully give you some ideas on how to improve your own marketing campaigns.
Through a combination of creative posts that have spread via Facebook and a huge amount of coverage in traditional media, Marmite’s Facebook page has grown dramatically and now has 89,306 fans at the time of writing (growth of 2,975% since the Christchurch earthquake), many who interact on a daily basis. Prior to this marketing campaign and at around the time the earthquake happened the page had just 3,001 fans. Due to the strategies outlined below they managed to grow their page and it will now be a valuable marketing channel for Sanitarium going forward.
Throughout the campaign Marmite continued to update their cover image with a daily cover image change counting down the days until re-launch. This was an extremely effective way to generate engagement and was very successful in social terms. The cover image changes alone managed to get the following social engagement and no doubt a lot of brand exposure:
- Likes: 32,810
- Shares: 4,921
- Comments: 2,556
Marmite regularly updated their Facebook page with on brand content and used New Zealand celebrities like Graham Henry and Buck Shelford throughout the marketing campaign. They were very creative with the images that were used and this led to a lot of sharing and fan growth with every update.
To keep their brand advocates enthusiastic about the brand throughout the supply shortage Marmite ran frequent competitions on Facebook which were importantly all on brand and featured prizes such as tours of the new Marmite factory or jars of the first batch of Marmite. These competitions drove significant entries and social engagement helping to ensure that the Marmite brand was not forgotten whilst the shelves were empty.
As a bi-product of generating a buzz around the brand the Marmite Facebook page saw a lot of interaction with fans posting photos of their first jar when it was back in stock and helping other fans find a store with stock available. There were also a lot of Marmite care packages sent to family and friends overseas with photos posted on the Facebook wall, all of which will have spread the brand throughout friends of the poster. Fans dubbed the whole saga ‘Marmageddon’ with hundreds of posts and tweets featuring the tagline and again helping to promote the Marmite brand. Marmite responded to the majority of comments promptly which fans appreciated and further built the brand.
Overall a really well thought up and implemented social media marketing campaign which has even led some to suggest that the Marmite shortage was a planned PR stunt. I am pretty sure it was just clever marketing and not a stunt as the factory was destroyed and they sold no Marmite at all for a year. Either way, I am impressed.