During the seminar we have discussed a lot of times how important is for a company to be close with its customers and maintain an active dialogue with them. Making customers a part of their brand story, companies can make them create positive experiences and associations that will engage them to the brand. Hence, more and more companies have been trying to encourage active customer involvement to their activities in order to build stronger relationships and affect them towards a more positive buying behavior. It is interesting to view examples of companies that find different kinds of ways to keep customers involved. I enjoyed a lot all the previous posts the other students made and also other examples I saw while searching on the internet. All that is needed is creativity and companies can achieve very good results.
Heinz Holland is a company that has been investing a lot last years to projects that support active customer participation. I found three different examples of activities the company did towards that direction.
Firsty, Heinz launched a new dispensing cap for their Tomato Ketchup squeezy bottle. Since such an advantage can be very hard to prove through traditional communication channels, Heinz enlisted the consumer’s help in launching the new cap. A squeeze bottle with both an old and a new cap was delivered to the homes of 57 Facebook fans so they could experience the difference firsthand and give Heinz and other Facebook fans valuable feedback. The lucky 57 were also invited to make their own digital artwork using a virtual bottle. The results were posted on the Heinz fan page so everyone could experience the new dispensing cap online. The best designs were rewarded with a fun prize. Since consumers could try the new cap both in the online and offline world, the difference with the old cap was instantly noticeable.
Secondly, Heinz gave also consumers the opportunity to personalise their ketchup bottle by making up their own text for the label. The initiative is called ‘Say it with a bottle’. The personalised bottles come in a nice packaging and they look like just the thing to give to a friend as a present.
Finally, the brand built a Ongoing Research Community with 150 consumers, where both researchers and marketeers from Heinz discuss various themes and topics with consumers online. The ‘Food&Zo’ community allows all Dutch marketeers at Heinz The Netherlands to get in touch with what consumers feel, think and need. Marketeers have access to the platform and can ask ‘quick’ ad hoc questions, supported by a core community team.