COVID-19 has dominated headlines, business and everyday life for several months now, and amidst all the uncertainty and chaos it has presented, one thing is certain: it’s a challenge that won’t be disappearing anytime soon. It’s a crisis that is forcing us to learn not only how to adapt to the ‘new normal’ but also to the ‘next normal’ as the situation continues to evolve globally.
Like every industry, ours has had to assess and pivot quickly across all facets of the supply chain. One of the challenges has been determining how best to connect with our consumer fan base in a way that is relevant, respectful and timely. With a program spanning five markets, each with their own unique cultural preferences, varying levels of macadamia knowledge and at differing stages of the pandemic, this was no easy task.
Armed with an agile mindset and in-depth knowledge of our audience, we have managed to successfully reshape our messaging to suit the conditions in each market, reaffirming the relevance of our product to their lives, especially during such tumultuous times.
Our response to COVID was executed against a backdrop of some key trends that emerged as the pandemic took hold.
- Hygiene obsession. An obsession with safety and cleanliness quickly emerged and is likely to perpetuate for many years. While COVID-19 is not a food-borne illness, consumers are scrutinising all aspects of their lives, and educating themselves on the supply chain to understand the measures being taken to assure safety, overcome fear and build trust. The clean and green credentials of our Australian origin play well in this space.
- Health interest. Consumers are responding to foods that are healthy. Macadamias and nuts generally are well positioned in this space, and our campaigns have reinforced the health benefits of macadamias throughout the pandemic.
- In-home cooking and working from home. Many people have been cooking at home more often, and working from home for at least part of the working week may be the norm for some time yet. This means more opportunities for nuts and macadamias to become pantry fillers and in-home snacking essentials.
- Shoppers pursuing online options. Online grocery shopping has been a hallmark of the pandemic. As a shelf-stable and easily shipped product, macadamias are well suited to e-commerce.
The COVID conversation by market
Our approach in each market was crafted to align with cultural nuances and consumer sentiment.
AUSTRALIA: macadamias at home
Communication with our Australian fan base focused heavily on how macadamias can play a role in spending more time at home.
- Snacking and working from home: as people adjusted to working from home, many found this triggered more frequent snacking. We provided fans with inspiration for healthy working from home snacks on all channels and offered a free Get Snacking With Macadamias e-book to our email subscribers.
- The home schooling challenge: many parents were suddenly forced to juggle working from home with home schooling. To help keep kids busy when they weren’t online schooling we offered macadamia-inspired project suggestions, like making gift jars containing ingredients to make macadamia cookies.
- Easter at home: Australia’s lock down period coincided with the Easter holiday period, making for a very different Easter in 2020. To help our fans through this we created a guide to enjoying Easter at home with macadamias, providing a host of Easter and chocolate recipes to inspire and uplift.
- In-home macadamia spa experience: lockdown made it hard for consumers to access their regular beauty services so we created a luxurious macadamia oil spa experience that fans could create for themselves at home.
JAPAN: new Lifestyle video release
Our new Lifestyle video poses the question ‘What drives an explorer’? Created to bring our brand positioning to life, the video depicts people pursuing life with passion and determination, while the voiceover encourages the audience to “dance, dream, grow, laugh and love.” Showing how macadamias can elevate life, this video took on extra significance during COVID, when people were more appreciative than ever of simple freedoms, like hiking and swimming with friends.
TAIWAN: the healthy meal challenge
We invited our Taiwanese Facebook community to cook with macadamias to take care of their health during the pandemic. Combining taste and health messaging, a macadamia recipe was shared every day for a week, with each day’s recipe tied to a specific health benefit, such as fibre intake, building muscle, fat loss, or enhanced immunity. The activity also included a competition that invited fans to comment on which recipe they were going to cook and why for the chance to win a macadamia prize.
CHINA: ‘invisible personality’ quiz
Our team in China recognized an opportunity to increase macadamia health messaging in a fun and engaging way by creating an interactive online tool that fans could use to determine their ‘invisible personality’. Their responses throughout the interactive experience determined their hidden personality type, with a tailored ‘prescription’ involving Australian grown macadamias offered at the end.
SOUTH KOREA: hand sanitiser giveaway
To leverage the hyper-awareness of health and hygiene, we asked our Korean Facebook fans to share their ‘healthy lifestyle resolution’ for the chance to win a gift pack of Australian grown macadamias and hand sanitiser – the ultimate health + hygiene combo.
Agility the new normal
Among the turmoil of this year, there’s no doubt that consumers have gravitated towards products and brands that offer comfort, wellness and entertainment.
As the COVID situation continues to shift, we are committed to ensuring we share as many of these benefits with our audience as possible, reinforcing how Australian grown macadamias bring guilt-free indulgence, health and inspiration to everyday life.
For more information on any of our consumer campaigns please contact Australian Macadamias Market Development Manager Jacqui Price.