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Let’s get real - you probably even have a tub of Nutella sitting in your kitchen as you read this.
How did the post-war affordable luxury become the world’s favorite breakfast spread?
1. Nutella found a niche market, by competing with a unique offering in the breakfast foods industry
Nutella is marketed as a key ingredient to a nutritious and balanced breakfast, as an alternative to jam, peanut butter and other breakfast spreads.
While it has a high sugar and fat content, emphasis is placed on Nutella’s all natural ingredients, with no additives or coloring.
When Nutella first started out, it was branded as something that could be eaten with everything. However, this marketing strategy didn’t work too well with customers who didn’t believe that Nutella was the miracle spread it claimed to be.
In 2009, Nutella started to focus its branding on being a breakfast staple, helping customers to understand its best use.
This strategy worked, and Nutella soon became an international breakfast sensation.
Word-of-mouth tip: To succeed, find a niche market to compete in, branding your product as a novel alternative to other traditional options.
2. Entering into pop-culture as The Food to eat via public interest and recipe sharing
Nutella has a strong online social following, with the majority of its online presence coming from communities sharing creative Nutella breakfast recipes.
These recipes are shared on popular platforms such as Youtube, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.
In 2014, Buzzfeed also published an article “19 Glorious Ways To Eat Nutella For Breakfast”, featuring a curated list of recipes from several online contributors.
Via such public interest, Nutella has achieved cult-like food status to be the go-to delicious chocolate spread everyone needs.
Word-of-mouth tip: A great product generates its own publicity and promotion organically via word-of-mouth.
3. Marketing itself as a family-friendly product
Nutella advertisements always feature images of family, filled with a bunch of excited children joyfully eating their Nutella-filled breakfast.
These images give consumers the idea that Nutella is a family-friendly product, and consumption of Nutella will bring joy to the entire family.
Especially considering that Nutella is often bought during grocery shopping (often a family affair), such positive-friendly imagery further emphasizes how Nutella is essential to the family breakfast experience.
Word-of-mouth tip: Understanding consumer culture and creating powerful campaign images that appeal to consumer culture will go a long way in generating WOM for the brand.
4. Sponsorship of the Italian national football team
Before Nutella became a global phenomenon, its first turning point in the global market came in 1988 when Nutella signed its three-year sponsorship of the Italian national football team.
This brought about brand recognition throughout the world, as people started to link Nutella with Italian national sentiment.
The sponsorship of a national athletic team also made people associate Nutella with healthy eating and a balanced diet.
Word-of-mouth tip: Choosing the right brand ambassador is key. Prominent individuals and groups with a mass following are always under the watchful eye of the media, and will generate tons of hype and publicity for the brand.
5. Engagement with customers on social media
Nutella has a strong focus on social media engagement, and actively uses visual-heavy platforms such as Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest to generate publicity for the brand.
To celebrate Nutella’s 50th birthday in 2014, Nutella launched the “50 Years Full of Stories” campaign that asked fans of the brand to share their fondest memories of the delicious hazelnut spread from around the world.
A total of 76,398 stories were shared, using the hashtag #nutellastories.
Word-of-mouth tip: Personal engagement with fans on social media platforms is getting more and more common these days and many brands are doing it too. Fans love it when their stories are heard and shared by the brand, and such organic interactions generate tons of their own WOM.
6. World Nutella Day!
Since 2007, February 5th is celebrated as World Nutella Day. The international holiday was first started by Nutella loyalist Sara Rosso, but the rights to the holiday was transferred to the Ferrero Group in 2015, making it official.
At the beginning, celebrations went slightly out of hand as a number of unauthorised events and promotional activities were organised by enthusiastic loyalists, unintentionally interfering with Nutella’s brand strategy.
By taking over the rights to World Nutella Day, Nutella is better able to ensure a seamless marketing strategy, one that fits in with the brand vision.
Word-of-mouth tip: Loyal customers are an asset to any brand. Leverage on fan loyalty and manage it so that it fits in with the brand vision.
Recap: How did Nutella establish its name as the go-to breakfast spread via WOM?
- Targeted a niche market (Breakfast food)
- Became a pop culture topic, which generated WOM
- A 'Family-friendly' advertising strategy allowed Nutella to further enhance its name as a good and holistic breakfast food
- Sponsorship of the football team allowed Nutella to cement its name as a 'healthy food', as well as establish itself within its Italian heritage and pride
- Good use of social media helps generate positive WOM
- World Nutella day gave fans a day to celebrate about the delicious spread and further spread word about Nutella