Most people would associate 2020 as a year of disruption due to COVID-19. But while the pandemic completely transformed lives and businesses in challenging ways, it also triggered an unprecedented boom in digital adoption. To survive and thrive in the new normal, brands and companies started to embrace digital transformation, even businesses that had previously shied from it. From Zoom meetings, contactless payment and delivery, to using artificial intelligence in ensuring a robust supply chain, it took a global health crisis to accelerate the big shift towards a digital first approach in a matter of months. Very quickly, businesses started to grasp the importance of harnessing data-driven storytelling to engage their customers via various digital channels and platforms in order to shore up their bottom line and keep business sustainable.
Positive shift in B2B digital audience behaviour
Recent McKinsey research1 on decision makers’ behavior globally across industries since the pandemic started reveals that the digital shift is here to stay. COVID-19 forced B2B buyers and sellers to go digital in a massive way. What started out as a crisis response has now become a critical component, with big implications for how buyers and sellers will do business in the future. More than three quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions—a sentiment that has steadily intensified even after lockdowns have ended.
The McKinsey research further added that the transfer to digital and remote engagement has been embraced by decision makers in all countries surveyed worldwide. B2B sales leaders have moved from being “forced” to adopt digital in reaction to the widespread shutdowns to having growing conviction that digital is the way to go.
Embracing the value that digital brings to business
Like most businesses, Kerry, a leading Taste and Nutrition solutions provider, has seen significant business value from its digital engagements since COVID-19. From researching products on Kerry.com, immersing in Kerry’s personalized digital content, engaging in webinars and virtual product tastings, Kerry’s customers are connecting digitally online more than ever before.
This has fueled a revolution in the way of working within the company and introduced a new mindset where more internal stakeholders appreciate that digital customer engagements are a vital mix in a hybrid model. One where both face-to-face and digital can go hand-in-hand to create strategic opportunities for Kerry in Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (APMEA). Kerry APMEA’s two-fold jump in digital conversations in 2020, a much larger share of opportunities than 2019, and a significant increase in its digital customer engagement rates, prove that the hybrid model is the go-to approach for Kerry.
Maran G Krishnan, MarComms & Digital Director, Kerry APMEA
Leveraging data-driven storytelling
We have seen how the pandemic has dramatically propelled trends that were already reshaping the B2B digital and content landscape. In today’s context, B2B marketers will need to use a range of tools, from social listening, insights and other data sources, to better understand their customers’ needs first. Then, utilizing this knowledge and understanding, marketers are now able to craft content that is meaningful and relevant to their customers’ needs. This ultimately will drive up the online digital engagement and lead to digital sales conversations overtime.
Kerry’s proprietary consumer insight-led approach has been a key pillar in its customer-focused strategy and a critical advantage to its commercial teams within an already crowded food and beverage sector. The company’s Taste and Nutrition insights range from category-based consumer studies to upcoming F&B trends through KerryTrendspotterTM, a proprietary AI tool powered by IBM Watson, that point the way to the next big innovation in consumer-preferred F&B products.
Translating this insight-led sales approach digitally means that Kerry is able to provide proprietary insights asgated content that can not only be accessed by current customers, but potentially open new business opportunities among prospective customers. Leveraging the data-driven storytelling approach in all its digital campaigns has helped Kerry deliver more consistent and relevant content and messaging that address customers’ needs.
Kerry Taste Charts digital campaign
Our annual Taste Charts campaign is a good illustration of how we harness data-driven storytelling for maximum impact.
Every year, more than 60,000 food and beverage products are launched in APMEA, on top of 200,000 globally. On social media, approximately more than 200 million photos of food are posted daily coupled with an estimate 3 billion video views. This indicates that a lot of innovation is happening in the food space. In our Taste Charts campaign each year, Kerry experts predict flavours and ingredients that will trend in categories such as Culinary, Beverages, Meat, Dairy, Snacks, and Bakery.
We complete an exhaustive study covering the analysis of point of sale data, social media trends, product launches and menu scan insights. We also look at Kerry internal insights and industry reports. Then we analyse the life cycle evolution of flavours and its trends over a decade. The final outcome is a comprehensive list of flavours.
We subsequently categorise the findings into two parts. The first depicts mainstream flavours (top 10 flavours in last five years) and next top 15 flavours over the same period. In essence, this indicates the top 25 flavours which are dominant. Then we look at the fastest growing top 20 flavours in the last three years and last one year. In summary, we have a list of 40 fastest high growth flavours, plus an exhaustive list of 70 trending flavours per category. We also carry similar data consolidated for the last five years.
Through Taste Charts, our expert perspective into the flavours and ingredients shaping the industry helps Kerry’s customers craft a clear, research-backed roadmap for creating new products, or revitalizing existing choices in ways that will delight, surprise and excite consumers.
Paving the way for sustainable nutrition solutions through digital enablement
With more consumers seeking food and beverages that are healthier, great tasting and produced in a way that respects the planet, Kerry remains focused on its goal of creating a world of sustainable nutrition for more than two billion people by 2030. To realise this vision, it is critical that Kerry becomes our customers’ trusted partner ─ and a clear path to achieving that is to continue offering sought-after proprietary insights, robust thought leadership content, and innovative world-class digital customer engagement.