Call it a unique marketing initiative or pure gimmick, Parle Agro is clapping at the results of a initiative it launched on Twitter in February, to push Hippo, its baked wheat snack food brand. While the company says the initiative aimed to sharpen Hippo’s distribution, it was also directed at speeding up awareness, top of mind recall and demand from consumers. In the Rs 6,500 crore snack foods market, growing at around 25 per cent per annum, brands have to work hard to be noticed and consumed.
Parle Agro, with its advertising agency Creativeland Asia, launched the Twitter campaign asking consumers and retailers to tweet about Hippo’s availability on retail shelves to a specified Twitter web address. The company promised to act on the tweets.
The Twitter idea is part of Parle Agro’s crowdsourcing effort to get the consumer voluntarily involved with the brand. The company claims it has received stock related tweets from 25 cities and that the number of people tracking Hippo stocks on Twitter equals 45 per cent of Parle Agro’s foods sales team. Sales have jumped by 76 per cent after February, claims the company, which has set up a core cell that passes the information in the tweets to the respective areas’ sales and distribution teams.
“Hippo has effectively used social media to do what no one had done before: crowdsource and assist retail inventory tracking,” said Nadia Chauhan, joint MD & CMO, Parle Agro. “The responses are mostly from consumers in cities where Hippo is present but maybe temporarily unavailable. Besides, if a retailer doesn’t stock Hippo but there is a consumer demand for it, we can convince him to stock it. The initiative has also helped us identify markets where Hippo sells out fast.”
Hippo is mass-distributed to five lakh conventional and modern retail outlets. Parle Agro is also likely to print the Twitter and (now) Facebook addresses on Hippo packs soon.