woman cooking herbs

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Through Instagram we asked our followers what they wanted from us. They wanted good news and lots of recipes

In our last column we heard how our sales and ops departments have adapted over the past eight weeks. This time I’m going to share some thoughts on marketing.

Learning from previous recessions, the brands that succeed will be the ones that maintain marketing investment. We are adopting this approach, with a focus on the immediate growth opportunities in retail and e-commerce.

The announcement of lockdown made our annual brand plans redundant, so we went back to the drawing board. As marketers this means engaging directly with our consumers. Through Instagram we asked our followers what they wanted from us. Was it nothing? Was it recipes? Was the environment still a concern?

The responses were clear. Our audience wanted good news and lots of recipes. However, even amid all the chaos, the environment is still front of mind for our followers. They requested eco-tips at home and have challenged us to answer what Covid-19 means for climate change.

As we have looked to fulfil these needs, our engagement has shot up. This isn’t completely surprising - time spent on social media is up 21% in the UK - but it’s reassuring to know the content we’re producing has relevance.

The commercial need to turn our direct-to-consumer business into a credible revenue stream has prompted us to improve our website and migrate to a CRM platform that is integrated into our online shop. These are tactics we should have deployed years ago, but the reality of working in a startup is that due to limited resources there’s always a thousand things you could be doing - the challenge is to be focused on which opportunity you’re going to spend your time on. Paid social media, our web shop and CRM were previously on the backburner; Covid-19 has forced us to reprioritise these pillars, and their introduction will benefit us in the future.

The opportunity most out of our control was an incremental retail listing. Last week we launched two new SKUs into Waitrose nationally. It’s a credit to the Waitrose team that despite that sizeable changes they’ve had to make to feed the nation, they’ve found capacity to give a small purpose-driven brand a platform for growth. Now we have the challenge of making sure our plant-based mayos fly off the shelves…