Barber's Cheesemakers

Promoting a food "discovery" brand using social media

the challenge

Barber's Cheesemakers are the world’s oldest cheddar producers, and sell their award winning cheddar globally.  

As an international "discovery" brand, they try to avoid consumer advertising and felt digital marketing was a good means of increasing brand awareness with the food community and building loyalty with new and existing customers.

our solution

Researching the target audience in the UK, US and Australia highlighted a significant opportunity to engage people with recipe content and stories around the provenance of food.

To engage consumers, we first required the correct infrastructure.  This involved restructuring the website to tell the story of the brand and feature video and news content, launching a YouTube channel and reactivating Twitter as the main communication channel.

With the infrastructure in place, a content strategy focusing on recipes, the cheese making process, farming, provenance of cheddar and the heritage of the Barber family was devised.  On an ongoing basis, engaging content in the form of recipe videos, articles and Twitter content was written for the site and social channels. With content in place, influential foodie bloggers within the UK, US and Australia were identified, contacted, asked to try recipes and invited to a series of exclusive tastings with the Barber family at food shows in the UK, US and Australia.

As the Barber's met with bloggers and built relationships, activity extended to asking bloggers to create recipes featuring 1833 Cheddar.  These recipes were published on the Barber's site, social channels and by the bloggers themselves.   Working with bloggers, the Barber's have run various campaigns including challenging people to create recipes using Barber's Cheddar and local ingredients plus Barber's hosted  “The Ultimate Toastie Challenge” at the Royal Bath & West show.  The Toastie Challenge saw bloggers creating their ultimate toastie recipe, that was cooked in front of a live audience and judging panel.

the outcome

The programme is ongoing, but within the first year achieved:

  • 91% increase with Twitter followers without the support of other media

  • Successfully built relationships with a group of committed and engaged bloggers across the UK, US and AustraliaOutreach led to over 200 blog posts and pieces of user generated content  

  • Annual reach of 432,000 from Twitter and a further 596,000 from blog posts 

  • Significantly and naturally increased visibility of the Barbers site without any link building or SEO activity

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