With one of the world’s longest coastlines and richest marine environments, New Zealand is known for the quality of its seafood. Despite this, New Zealand King Salmon found itself competing against frozen Atlantic salmon and a perception that the fish was a ‘special occasion’ purchase.
While Kiwis are generally proud of the quality of their country’s seafood, there’s a lack of consumer understanding about the different species and quality of salmon, including the quality of New Zealand King Salmon.
And that’s not to say New Zealand King Salmon doesn’t deserve to be held on the same high regard as other local seafood. Its high margins overseas showed its potential, so it wanted New Zealand sales to generate a comparable return.
To switch competitor shoppers onto the brand, thereby increasing penetration and market share, in September 2017 it extended the Regal smoked salmon range with the Regal Manuka range: 100g and 200g Cold Smoked, and 200g Wood Roasted.
But putting new products on the shelf would not be enough on its own. Research shows 44 percent of purchases are made on auto pilot, meaning shoppers purchase the same brand each time leaving little room for successful innovation.
In order to set itself apart from Atlantic salmon, New Zealand King Salmon launched a campaign localising its products. It focused on the water quality of the Marlborough Sounds and showcased how Regal Marlborough salmon is a premium product.
The use of Manuka alone reiterates its New Zealand provenance, as it has a strong resonance with New Zealanders. To guide shoppers to put salmon on their shopping lists, it used online recipes, and digital and social ads. In- store, shoppers were reminded through strategically placed panels nearby and geo-targeted digital.
On top of this, there were in-store tastings, aligned with store deals to maximise conversion. Before any of this could work, it had to create a stand-out identity for the range so it called in the help of real-food devotee Al Brown with a CGI-created seal called Reg—dubbed its seafood expert.
The concept communicated that Regal is endorsed by ‘true lovers of Marlborough King Salmon’.
That advertising created strong attribution and high favourability, with people loving the ad and the message – without which, the rest would have been largely academic.
Post-campaign findings indicated the ad messaging was on strategy, with greatest recall of messages on water quality and its impact on taste and freshness; that it is a New Zealand/ Marlborough product; and high quality/premium.
Looking at the numbers, brand awareness increased to 90 percent post-campaign and almost three in five shoppers said the campaign made them feel more comfortable/likely to buy, with significant uplift in brand equity drivers among those who had seen the campaign versus those who had not.
And buy they did.
Within the first four weeks of launch, New Zealand King Salmon achieved 80 percent weighted distribution of the three smoked products and it was such a runaway success with Foodstuffs, it couldn’t supply Progressive with the three products until mid-July 2018.
New Zealand King Salmon also achieved its goal to increase Regal sales by 25 percent.
Since the new products launched, Regal sales have increased 19 percent, with solus distribution of the Manuka range through Foodstuffs. Within Foodstuffs alone, overall Regal sales have increased by 26 percent (IRI data, total supermarkets $ sales w/e 24-9- 2017 to w/e 6-5-2018 vs Year Ago).
In December, Regal had its biggest ever Christmas sales week selling over $1 million of smoked salmon which equates to 9.6 packs per minute over one week.
And since launch, it’s sold $2.48 million across the three Manuka products (IRI; Total Foodstuffs previous 33 weeks to 24/9/18).
With distribution in Progressive stores from mid-July, Regal sales will easily exceed the targeted 25 percent increase before the end of year one.