Before the COVID pandemic, the marketing and selling of one’s product used to be binary—retailers with stores sold their products offline, while eCommerce players used their websites. Each group had a unique marketing strategy, dedicated customer base, and a pre-existing roadmap of increasing customer lifetime value. But today, the lines are blurring.
Better connectivity and increased adoption of digital habits have changed the equation. Organizations are now dealing with two types of consumers—ones that are at a crossroads with the adoption of new technology and a section that is unaware of a pre-internet world.
What does this mean for companies that want to market meal kits to affluent South Asian consumers?
Our analysis from FrontAd’s highly curated database of South Asians implies that brands will need to focus less on product features and more on social relatability.
Associations Need To Be Done Right
(Source: Business Wire)
The South Asian community is not new to seeing celebrities endorse various brands. But in a post-pandemic world, relevant partnerships and endorsement are going to be a big game-changer.
A brand that is playing its cards right is HelloFresh. Their association with Mindy Kaling, famous for shows like “The Mindy Project” and “The Office” worked wonders for them.
Their strategy was to create a sitcom-type series where Mindy would tackle one home-quarantine issue per episode. The solution to the chosen problem would be a meal kit or a recipe box from HelloFresh. From answering questions like “how is pizza different from flatbreads?” to discover new ingredients, the show was well-received by both new cooks and seasoned home-kitchen professionals.
But why did the association appeal to the South Asian audience?
There are two reasons. One, Mindy is known for her lifestyle, where she celebrates her traditional heritage while still living the American dream. And two, Mindy embraces body positivity and holistic wellness, a great value that all South Asian households greatly respect.
All of these factors together, and peripheral campaigns led to a good Q4 for HelloFresh, seeing a massive spike in the demands of their meal kits and gains in customers.
The meal-kit brand reported a 99% increase from 2019 and a total of $705 million in sales from the U.S. market in the last quarter of the financial year 2020.
In comparison, US foods, another brand in the same space that markets to South Asians, had no significant associations and reported lesser earnings to HelloFresh.
Takeaway: The right association and partnership can directly boost sales. Marketing leaders must choose wisely.
Brands Will Need To Walk The Talk
Source: Blue Apron
Meal kit companies in the post-pandemic world will need to show what their products can do and not just tell. The practicality of their products will become a significant driving factor behind their success. Blue Apron is a company that is ticking all the right boxes in this category.
Their spread of South Asian recipes and food choices are not only homely, but they are easy to prepare and practical. They also have recipes that blend American favorites with Indian flavors—for example, grilled Indian-style burgers.
Upcoming brands like Fresh Curry Chefs are following a similar strategy. They offer easy-to-prepare recipes with quality ingredients, making popular curries accessible to everyone. Fresh Curry is also using user-generated content to show their practicality.
They encourage their customers to post pre-made meals from the brand or self-cooked meals using their package ingredients while tagging them. This not only shows their authenticity but also gives social validation of their promise—a quick meal, but delicious and nutritious.
Takeaway: Practicality needs to be the focus for meal kits and recipe box brands. Using social validation and user-generated content to showcase the ease of preparation is a smart strategy.
Right Facts Will Trump Right Targeting
Information is the new gold. Surveys show that 79 percent of customers trust food blogs for new information, while 89 percent of millennials are interested in interacting with food influencers, especially those that highlight nutritional facts.
Messaging that revolves around organic, vegan, allergen-free products is rising in popularity. Brands that list their ingredients like Kroger for the user will instantly earn brownie points. For example, take their listing for coconut curry shrimp. It lists all the ingredients included, nutritional information, information on allergens, and calorific value. This showcases their transparent nature when marketing their products.
In any case, new regulations on meal kits and food companies that deliver products that include meat and poultry are looming, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Takeaway: Health will continue to be in the spotlight in the post-pandemic world. Meal-kit companies will need to be open with what goes into their boxes in their communication.
Gearing Up For With The New Strategy
The new age of consumers is more open to exploring new experiences. Brands need to take advantage of this attitude and play their cards right by gearing up with the right messaging and associations.
Key focus areas can be affordability, health, sustainability, society, and personalization. Each of these factors is a top priority for most affluent South Asian households.
Marketing strategies, including endorsements and partnerships, need to be based on these aspects. If a plan does not make the cut, it is time to go back to the drawing board.
A point to note is that the strategies designed should take into consideration the multichannel journeys that the target audience follows. The customer needs to be engaged at different touchpoints without fail, from discovery to conversion.
The plan should be meaningful, as customers want to feel valued as individuals, and impactful, to increase brand retention. To do this, brands will need the right insights with respect to audience behavior and multi-cultural practices without infringing on their privacy norms. The balance is tricky but possible.
FrontAd provides an easy yet impactful way to reach the South Asian audience. With an audience of the top 1 percent of affluent South Asians, campaigns through FrontAd always deliver. Coupled with curated insights and a deep understanding of the community, it also becomes easy to engage and connect. To know more, CLICK HERE.