General Mills’ Progresso team impressively created more than 80 easy, weeknight recipes for the new Recipe Starters cooking sauces.
But there was a problem: The package had room for only one. So the company found a way to provide shoppers with immediate access to the recipes: QR codes. When scanned, the QR code found on each label lets consumers view 30 recipes, including such dishes as Bacon Mac n’ Cheese, Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Parmesan.
General Mills can change the content of the QR code at any time. That means new recipes can be added depending on the holiday or season.
“The benefit for consumers in finding a recipe while at the store is that they know exactly which ingredients they need to buy — while they’re in the right place to buy them,” said Jim Cuene, director of interactive marketing for General Mills.
Retailers benefit because consumers are more likely to buy products that otherwise may not have been on their shopping lists.
General Mills’ use of QR codes comes at a time when it is actively using other new media tools.
Take the website for Recipe Starters . The site incorporates a “responsive” web design, meaning it provides easy reading and navigation on a mobile, tablet, PC or any other device.
Mobile apps are another tool. The company developed a powerful mobile app for Betty Crocker, and updated Pillsbury.com and other sites so they can benefit mobile shoppers.
“Our Betty Crocker tablet app is a very useful app to discover and prepare great meal ideas,” Cuene said.
In other areas, the company is expanding its use of socially shareable videos, like the Betty Crocker Birthday Cake or How-To videos. And it has experimented with online games for Yoplait, Fruit Snacks and other brands.
The goal of its new media efforts is to simplify the lives of its consumers, according to Cuene.
“The primary benefit for us is to provide real service to our consumers, whether it’s making it easier to get a recipe, or to get a coupon,” Cuene said.
In turn, General Mills obtains a deeper understanding of the needs and desires of its consumers. Analysis of social media programs for Cascadian Farm, Larabar and Muir Glen, for instance, helps it better serve consumers who are passionate about organic foods.
“Every execution gives us data through which we can better understand what problems our consumers are trying to solve, what needs they are trying to fill or what motivates them to choose our products,” he said.
Among the company’s current initiatives:
• Collaborating with consumers on creative content for Pillsbury, Bisquick and other brands.
• Using social media to help increase involvement in Box Tops for Education, a fund-raising program that rewards schools based on the number of Box Tops labels collected from participating products.
• Using Facebook and Tumblr to help Reese’s Puffs reach a new audience: 20-something men.
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