Awards case study: Knorr leverages influencer marketing to boost market share

Discover how Knorr increased its market share using a combination of influencer marketing and celebrity endorsement to establish thought leadership presence

About

Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) serves inspiration to chefs. In addition to being one of the UK’s leading food manufacturers and home to some of the world’s favourite everyday brands (including Hellmann’s, Flora and PG Tips), since 1880 UFS has been working with chefs to help them succeed. From pubs to schools, workplaces to hospitals, UFS makes it its business to understand chefs’ businesses. Knorr is one of UFS’ leading brands, providing flavour to chefs in bouillon, stocks and seasonings, soups, gravies and sauces.

Challenges and objectives

Today, 13% of the UK’s population follow a gluten-free diet. Yet at the start of 2015, 28% of caterers didn’t offer gluten-free menu items and 50% of coeliacs had given up eating out. That’s £100m in revenue walking out the door annually for the catering industry. As the only gravy brand that was already gluten, MSG and allergen free, Knorr was positioned to win share from its competitors.

The objectives of the campaign were to:

  1. Increase sales of Knorr gluten-free products (with a target of significantly increasing Knorr’s market share in the 12-month period).
  2. Convince UK chefs on the business benefits of catering gluten-free.
  3. Support chefs in implementing the Food Information Regulations by making it simple to create great-tasting gluten-free dishes that will sell.

Media, channels and techniques used

Media mix

To maximise reach, the campaign targeted general chef and specific sector media including the top digital channel for chefs, Twitter.

Influencing the influencers

Knorr invited 40 chefs and industry influencers to board a 'gravy train' from Euston to the Hospitality Show in Birmingham (the industry’s biggest trade fair). Passengers were briefed on the benefits of Knorr gluten-free. At the show, 3000 Knorr samples were shared to chefs and other attendees.

Driving awareness through social media

The company launched the industry’s first Thunderclap - a single message shared simultaneously on social media – during Coeliac Awareness Week. Over 1000 chefs got #knorrglutenfree trending, helping raise awareness of gluten-free and raise £2000 for Coeliac UK.

Providing the tools to deliver gluten-free

1200 chefs were interviewed to understand what information would help them put more gluten-free items on their menu. Some 60% admitted they fear cross-contamination and that lack of recipe inspiration was holding them back. So a Knorr Gluten Free Guide was developed, containing practical steps on how to safely set up a kitchen for gluten-free, as well as tips and recipes to get gluten-free on the menu.

Delivering face-to-face learning

A roadshow with Phil Vickery was launched – an expert in gluten-free and a former Michelin starred chef. This comprised 12 classes to 500 chefs in eight cities to show chefs how easy it is to cook gluten-free. Knowing how much chefs want video, a series of practical videos were produced and practical classes live-streamed online.

Awards case study: Best use of thought leadership

Results and timescale

Including research and planning, the campaign ran from November 2014 through to November 2015, with benchmarking success evaluated during May 2016.

Results included:

  • Increased market share, closing the gap on Bisto
  • 3.4 million OTS from press and social media coverage (one million target)
  • 4000 sample requests (1000 target)
  • 351,466 video views (200,000 target)
  • 707 guide downloads (500 target).

"William Murray helped Knorr come from an underdog position in the gravy market to grow market share. William Murray not only get how to deliver a creative campaign, but how to ensure every single piece of communication is working hard to deliver commercially for the client too." Leon Mills, marketing manager, Unilever Food Solutions.

B2B Marketing Awards 2016

This case study was submitted as part of the judging process for the B2B Marketing Awards 2016. It won Best use of thought leadership: ‘Dishing up advice on gluten-free’ for Knorr by William Murray Communications.

See the winners

B2B Marketing Awards case study