What makes a product or service different from the competition? What factors will determine whether or not it is well accepted by the end client? Although its unique features will obviously play a determining role, the way it is perceived by consumers is also relevant. In fact, it isn’t unlikely that two similar products generate radically different reactions among consumers, because more often than not success is dependent on our ability to predict their expectations.
This is why it’s crucial to understand consumers’ motivations: How do they perceive a given product? Where does it fall in their consumption habits? What are their expectations? Finding out the sign of all these variables is essential to determine the consumer benefit and understand where in consumers’ minds is the product located, so we can start working on the communication strategy to achieve a prominent place in their top of mind.
This was the challenge posed to us by Twix, the iconic candy, biscuit and chocolate bar that Mars Group has been manufacturing since 1967. They asked us to, firstly, find out how much Spanish consumers knew about the product and how it was positioned in comparison to competitors. Then, we had to transfer the obtained insights into concrete communication actions, with the aim of increasing awareness and loyalty.
Part 1: Getting to know fans and their relationship with the product
We started by developing a digital investigation aimed at defining the behaviour of chocolate bars’ consumers. The goal was to draw the demographic profile and establish consumer preferences of both Twix consumers and chocolate bars lovers in general.
At what time of day do they eat chocolate bars? What actions do they associate with chocolate consumption? (TV, reading, coffee, socialisation, etc) Is it an individual or collective thing? Do Twix consumers know what it is made of? The answers to these questions would allow us to decide whether subsequent communication actions should be more oriented to the product, to the moment of consumption or combine both.
In order to obtain all this information, we first selected our audience, with the idea of impacting a hypersegmented target. Stakeholders were identified based on four specific categories —sweet world, sports, lifestyle, and entertainment —and divided into two campaign groups: Twix followers and consumers of other chocolate bars brands.
Simultaneously, we designed a simple questionnaire, with an attractive and non-intrusive format, designed to foster user participation: there were only four questions and answers and they all were highly visual, with adapted images. We then disseminated it through a platform specialising in Facebook promotions. On users’ timeline, the survey looked like any other Facebook post, a non-aggressive way to present sponsored content. Outside of Facebook, the survey was also shown in third-party media, as well as in apps.
The survey was active for a week, reaching more than 10,000 users among Twix followers and almost 250,000 among overall chocolate lovers. And, although it was not the campaign’s main objective, more than 2,500 new followers joined Twix’s page on Facebook, a collateral effect that managed to reactivate the brand’s community.
Our research allowed us to draw the demographic profile of our target, who turned out to be mostly women between 25-35 in the case of Twix consumers and somewhat younger for chocolate bars in general. We also learned about their interests, which would help us introduce the product and work closely with the community from a creative point of view, and the moments of consumption associated with snacking: disconnection from work or study, leisure time and social interactions.
Phase 2: Turning insights into a content strategy
The next step was translating everything we had learned during the research phase into the brands’ digital activations. In a highly competitive market where differentiation is not easy, what could we do to make Twix stand out from the rest?
- Highlighting the product features most known and appreciated by fans (two bars, three ingredients).
- Finding a gap in consumers daily routine, enhancing product placement at key consumer moments and during social interactions.
- Using the interests of the Twix community —lifestyle and entertainment— as common threads to introduce the product and raise awareness.
- Explore the coffee niche: although all bars were associated with moments of disconnection, the Twix community was more likely to associate it with coffee, which offered a possibility of differentiation from competitors.
With these objectives in mind, we defined three editorial categories in line with the brand idea:
- “Sweet pleasure”: It gave visibility to the different varieties of Twix, highlighting their strengths and benefits and placing the brands at consumers’ top of mind.
- “Duality”: Working with the concept of two bars (“Which one is more you?”), this category gave more space to visual creativity.
- “Twix Moment”: It highlighted the link to the coffee ritual, associating eating Twix with moments of disconnection and pleasure.
These categories were complemented by real time marketing: we took advantage of current TTs or designated dates to launch ad hoc publications aimed at generating brand awareness and strengthening ties with the community.
We launched the publications on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, adapting the content to the audience of each platform. On Facebook, for example, our communication was more product-focused, while on Instagram and Twitter we dedicated more efforts to talking about moments of consumption and social interaction.
Finally, all that was left was to establish the reporting model, with KPIs that would evaluate the effectiveness of all communication initiatives. We established three measurement categories: size (users, subscribers, followers on social media), vitality (interactions, mentions, comments) and influence (referrals, clicks, retweets). Overall, we managed to increase YoY impacts by 54% and exceed 50,000 new followers.
In summary, we began with by conducting a digital research in which we inquired about a very specific product and community; then we worked on the brand identity on the basis of consumer benefit; and finally, we transferred the knowledge acquired to specific pieces of communication —creating quality and innovative impacts— aimed empathising with the reality of consumers and activating brand recall.