Ella’s Kitchen needs to recruit a new generation of weaning parents every year, and on a budget of just £345k per year. We knew traditional FMCG ‘awareness’ campaigns via conventional media every year would never achieve the reach we needed. We had to be smarter.
Building on the insight that weaning is a very difficult and emotional time for most parents, we decided to create a service to support them, rather than a campaign to sell to them.
We started by testing our theory by creating a pop-up weaning restaurant that would provide support and advice for parents. It was so successful that Asda wanted one in each of their stores.
We knew from this test that parents wanted support from Ella’s Kitchen, however we didn’t have the budget to go national with physical restaurants. So instead, we translated our learning into an ‘always-on’ set of digital content and tools to serve mums and dads throughout their weaning journey.
This digital first approach allows us to focus our yearly budget on bringing parents into our engaging world; a world of advice and support that genuinely benefits them. We would no longer need to invest in campaigns that reached a small proportion of parents, and instead we set out to talk to more parents and to engage with them more.
Parents can sign up to our programme online and our content follows them on their weaning journey as their child grows up and becomes more confident in the food they try. Every parent that signs up gets sent a pack and a wall chart with stickers to guide them through the year.
This becomes every parent’s entry point into our digital ecosystem. To kickstart conversations, we email them with relevant tips and content as the year progresses. This drives them to our Weany Weaning You Tube channel which features ideas from other parents as well as tips from our expert nutritionist.
Social and a partnership with Babycentre act as efficient recruitment channels for us. Everything is designed to provide relevant and timely advice and content and parents move seamlessly through our various touchpoints.
We constantly monitor and optimise our ecosystem to ensure every channel works effectively, however the beauty of our approach is that our audience is constantly refreshing and so we don’t need to invest in continuously updating content.
It is important however that we feel fresh and relevant and so we’ve created an online consumer panel of parents with whom we can learn and test our messaging. They allow us unique access to real parents who are currently in the weaning journey and who have continue to provide us with incredibly valuable insights.
The programme has proved to be incredibly popular. Mums and dads actively talk to other parents about it and frequently share moments from their weaning journey on our social channels.
We now recruit 40% of all new weaning parents to our programme. An incredibly feat for such limited budgets, and considerably more people than we would have been able to engage with through a traditional push model.
Engagement levels remain high throughout their journey from 4 months to 18+ months. This is shown through our email open rates which stay at around 20% throughout (exceeding industry standards by 700%).
Products are now seamlessly woven through our content and the context of helping little ones on their journey. This approach has driven sales: usage of Ella’s has risen from 68% to 80% in just two years and the programme drives £12.6m in incremental sales every year.