Family-owned Oberto Brands has been in the business of beef jerky for nearly 100 years—and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the company has just launched a multichannel, multimillion-dollar ad campaign, according to Greg Yahn, vice president of marketing at Oberto Brands.
In a chat with CMO.com, Yahn explained the new campaign's strategy and metrics for success, as well as his take on media fragmention and the skills modern-day marketing chiefs must possess.
CMO.com: Would you say marketing has an impact on the overall business at Oberto’s?
Yahn: It has a significant impact, especially over the past 18 months. We’ve been spending a lot of time developing what we call our “lighthouse” identity, which is our way of developing an emotionally differentiated positioning to stand out from the competition and get consumers to re-evaluate not only Oberto, but the category itself. We’ve seen that manifest itself through a new packaging design that we launched in October and now a major multimillion-dollar media campaign kicked off [in early May], all of which was designed to drive more awareness of Oberto’s and a different perception of the brand and category as well. Oberto's is a better-for-you snack for folks who are highly active.
|The campaign's message communicates that hard work pays off.|
CMO.com: Can you tell us more about the campaign? What’s the strategy? Who are you targeting?
Yahn: We are targeting any consumer who wants to maximize their active lifestyle. So think about weekend warriors and those who realize they want to do better things for their bodies. Health-conscious consumer realize that in order to get the most out of their bodies, they need to put the best fuel in, and these are consumers who generally know that protein is a good source of fuel. Oberto is the leading, all-natural brand in the category, which means we have no artificial ingredients or preservatives. The campaign is designed to communicate that to consumers. So we are talking to them in a way that’s completely different than what anybody else is saying because we are talking about it as a better-for-you snack.
We went out and partnered with world-champion cornerback Richard Sherman, U.S. men’s national soccer player Clint Dempsey, all-pro linebacker and football analyst Brian Urlacher, pro snowboarder Louie Vito, and sports television personality Stephen A. Smith of ESPN. The athletes have credibility with their fans as being folks that put a lot of work into and know the benefit of clean, lean protein in their workouts. They’re believers in the product. Then we have Smith, who is just a great personality and is able to communicate our message in a fun yet engaging way.
We have a big TV campaign out there now. The ads started running last week and will continue to run through the remainder of the year. We are going to have a print component, too, and a sizable digital component. We really kicked off the campaign with a big social media push. We released what we call a teaser ad on ESPN of Sherman talking about NFL draftees waiting by their phones to see if all the hard work they put in has given them a ticket into the NFL. It’s supposed to support our tagline, which is, “You get out what you put in.” He congratulates all the recent NFL draftees.
To complement that video, we also did an interview with Sherman on our Web site, where he talks about his draftee experience. He did a lot of tweeting, and we did the same. We also released the video on YouTube and ESPN and had a lot of good reviews. The campaign has had phenomenal results thus far.
CMO.com: How will you measure the results of the campaign?
Yahn: We’ll be looking at what kind of impressions we are getting. We know how many outlets this got picked up by. As we do digital campaigns, we can specifically look at how many people are viewing the ads and then going to our Facebook page or the Web site. For the larger campaign—which centers on the TV spots—we will do a brand tracker. We know what our baseline level of brand health is, and we’ve looked at that from a market-to-market basis. We will be able to do a similar follow-up in a little while to see if we moved the needle. And, of course, we will be able to track our velocity as well. So we have a variety of different measures to see the impact of the campaign.
CMO.com: What is the biggest challenge for the head of marketing?
Yahn: Trying to figure out where your target is consuming media. Media has become so fragmented these days. We chose TV in our campaign because it really gives us the ability to broadly reach our consumer and do so frequently in a quick way. But, digitally, we know that’s where consumers are moving more and more. We know we have to be there. What’s difficult is it’s fragmented and the popular sites change. What’s popular now will be different in two to three months. How do you know where you need to be? We’re working with a variety of agencies that help us stay on top of these trends.
CMO.com: Everybody’s saying that today’s marketers need a new skill set. Can you talk about that?
Yahn: When I was working at companies like Colgate, Unilever, and Nabisco, you knew TV was the way to go. You knew that if you did a big ad campaign, that meant pushing it out via TV and maybe print. Digital was just starting to come around. Now it is so fragmented. There is a different skill set for the heads of marketing. You need to know the consumer and where they consume media. You need to be on top of trends or even ahead of them at times. Today that’s difficult; Facebook comes out and it is the new thing, [and then] suddenly it’s out and Instagram is in. Having to keep up with all those changing trends is something that’s very different than what marketers had available to them in the past. There were just a few places in the old days for marketers to distribute their ads.
You have to be looking to hire someone who knows the social media space and can engage with consumers 24/7. Gone are the days when you push out a campaign and follow up with it in a few weeks. Today you have to engage all the time, know how to respond, and how to create the conversation. The brands that are most successful today are those that are creating a good experience and also engaging with consumers in an authentic way.
CMO.com: If you had all of your peers from competing brands in a room, what one question would you ask them?
Yahn: What type of social media marketing is the most successful for your brands; and how have your activities with it helped elevate your brand awareness and reputation?
CMO.com: How would you answer that question?
Yahn: Twitter really helped us get our message out in a big way with and generate a strong conversation around the launch of our newest campaign, especially through the use of our brand ambassadors reaching out to their followers and pushing consumers to our Web site and new videos. We are starting to reach out to bloggers who have a high affinity with the relevant activities in which our target consumers are participating. These folks have large followings of active consumers who are looking to these credible sources for insights and smart choices on how to live a healthier lifestyle and get the most out of their bodies.