Merchant Gourmet appointed us to develop a five year brand strategy on how it could widen consumer appeal and frequency of purchase of its pulses, grains and chestnut products, and ultimately grow revenues beyond £30m by 2020. At a time when healthy eating has never been so “on trend”, our research showed that we needed to re-position Merchant Gourmet as a brand that deeply understands the consumer, and offers tasty meal choices that can be purchased throughout the year, not just at Christmas.
- Pop-up design & build
- Pop-up activation
- Retail activation & c-stores
- Digital & media
Grain & Graze pop-up
The epicentre to this year’s campaign was Grain & Graze, a five-storey experience in foodie-friendly Islington which featured a pop-up restaurant serving lunch, brunch and dinner and a brand immersion room to inspire consumers, retailers and the press with the versatility of the Merchant Gourmet product range. The restaurant featured over 50 unique and delicious recipes designed by A-list chef Alex Mackay that could be cooked healthily and easily at home. The pop-up was visited by over 5,000 people during the three-month run. It also played host to press, bloggers, celebrities and major retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
“We managed to create a hook which showcased both the brand and the products in a unique experience. What better way to inspire people to have the confidence to use these products than to come here (Grain & Graze) and try it, and actually physically experience how good it can be?”
Group Managing Director, Leathams
Pop-up activation, staffing and delivery
From brief to delivery, our teams managed to build the entire Grain & Graze brand in less than four weeks! Our team covered everything from recruiting the perfect head chef to run the Grain & Graze kitchen, to installing a data driven operations system, to local promotions and delivering the best customer service. We even tried and tested the menu.
“We’ve spent many years thinking about how we can take Merchant Gourmet to the masses and Grain & Graze allows us to communicate with a wider audience and to make Merchant Gourmet really exciting. I’m thrilled to finally get this (Grain & Graze) away, it’s really fantastic.”
Group Commercial Director, Leathams
Product, packaging and point of sale
One of the first things to review was the product and the packaging; our detailed insight sessions identified a number of opportunities to make the product stand out more on-shelf, as well as the opportunity to launch new products. So in line with our deep test and learn, we tried several things including experimenting with several new packaging variants in Grain & Graze which reinforced Merchant Gourmet’s healthy eating credentials. We also created a range of new products which have been robustly consumer researched and tested in the pop-up. They went down so well with the public that Merchant Gourmet’s food science team are in the process of developing several new lines for market. We also developed a number of new POS and packaging designs which reinforce the great tasting recipes and Merchant Gourmet’s health credentials way harder. Watch this space for more its products on our shelves this year.
Ebitt worked with Merchant Gourmet’s retail sales team to design and build the pulses and grains ‘fixture of the future’ that will reposition Merchant Gourmet in-store. We housed this within the pop-up restaurant, creating a brand immersion room to engage with high profile retailers which allowed us to sell this vision. It’s been an outright success and has led to significant conversations with several retailers including one hugely exciting development which will be announced in the coming weeks.
For a brand with many avid users, our biggest challenge was that not enough people had heard about the brand. So we created an awareness plan that would be rolled out to increase Merchant Gourmet’s brand awareness, and would create a series of different seasonal recipes and health stories designed to increase frequency of purchase of Merchant Gourmet. We kicked off our campaign with an immersive launch party and have been holding workshops with bloggers and key titles over the last three months to educate them about the brand, the products and the health message which, to date, had not been heroed.
Digital and media
In order to significantly increase brand awareness our digital and media strategy combined out of home advertising, a multi-platform partnership with The Times, an array of innovative animated content and a strategic campaign to increase the Merchant Gourmet social community by 20%. Ebitt planned very targeted activity that enabled Merchant Gourmet to successfully engage with its two focused consumer profiles.
Website build and bot creation
Our web team re-worked Merchant Gourmet’s website, making it easier to navigate and more effective, essentially making it more attractive to consumers leading to increased viewer dwell time. We also improved SEO by integrating the social media streams. Currently their page views are up by 31%. We also created GrainBot, Merchant Gourmet’s very own chatbot. This is an easy to use, forward thinking service, powered by rules and artificial intelligence that provides an interactive platform for Merchant Gourmet consumers via Facebook Messenger.
We are only three months into a five year journey but the results have been fantastic. We have reached millions of new consumers and we have had higher level conversations with our retailers. It’s very early days but the signs are good.