This year the hazelnut based sandwich spread Nutella turned 50, and its huge fan base has been celebrating with events across the country. Using the tagline “Spread the Happy,” Nutella has crossed the threshold from being a simple food product to national obsession, and its use of a unique marketing mix to rise to the top could be a case study for entrepreneurs on how to run a business, and how to use effective marketing strategies.
Consider this: a jar of Nutella is sold every 2.5 seconds. The company’s Facebook page has more followers than Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling and First Lady Michelle Obama – combined. And its owner, Michele Ferrero, is the richest man in Italy, according to Bloomberg.
But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, when Nutella came to the U.S. in 1983, it struggled to develop marketing strategies that break into the American market that was unfamiliar with hazelnut spreads.
While its popularity grew steadily, the product really took off after the company employed three smart branding strategies:
1. It focused on the breakfast market.
When Nutella came to the U.S., it branded itself as an alternative to several things, such as chocolate, jam and frosting, says Jason Biddle, branding expert and content developer for U.S. Imprints. Customers in other countries had already discovered its many uses, so the Nutella product strategy included the assumption that the U.S. market would quickly grasp the concept.
“But consumers just weren’t convinced that the signature spread was the miracle end-all-be-all type of product that it was claiming to be,” says Biddle about breakfast at the center of Nutella’s marketing mix. “Nutella was trying to be all things to all people and consequently became nothing to no one.”
In 2009, Nutella began focusing its branding strategy and target market almost purely on becoming a breakfast staple – something put on toast, waffles and bagels. This marketing strategy helped consumers understand the product’s best use as part of a balanced breakfast, says Biddle.
“It gave them a concise call-to-action of ‘eat this with your breakfast’ instead of its previous catch-all call-to-action of ‘eat this with everything,’” he says about this revolutionary marketing strategy.
2. It tapped into a universal desire.
The second branding strategy in Nutella’s marketing mix proved to be controversial. Nutella was marketing itself as being part of a healthy diet. While the company never explicitly claimed the hazelnut spread was healthy in and of itself, it did cleverly branded the spread to be associated with a balanced diet, says Biddle.
“Nutella did this so well, that the parent company Ferrero had to change its advertising and settle a $3 million on a class-action lawsuit for deceptive advertising,” says Biddle about focusing on health as part of Nutella’s marketing mix. “It’s actually the healthiness aspect that led so many parents to incorporate the spread into their children’s diets, and Nutella managed to get a foot in the door in the homes of its target consumers.”
3. It capitalized on social proof.
Once the spread was in homes, curiosity led consumers to experiment with using it on other items, and soon people began sharing their creations on social media. This helped prove that Nutella was more than just a breakfast spread without Nutella having push that point (as they did unsuccessfully in the beginning), says Biddle.
“Social proof helps convince potential customers,” says Biddle. “It’s a case of, ‘If Susie is using Nutella, then maybe I should try it, too.’ Nutella’s strategy for growing this foundation of fans into a thrall of followers can be seen in its focused social media efforts.”
Nutella uses its social media pages to foster engagement with consumers. For example, in honor of its birthday, Nutella launched a “50 Years Full of Stories” global campaign, asking fans to share memories of using the spread. Those who shared stories via text, email or video received a personalized label and were eligible to win prizes. Nutella’s marketing strategies also focus on visual-heavy platforms such as its Tumblr, Facebook and Pinterest pages.
“At this point, Nutella’s ability to grow its market share is based on the product itself,” says Biddle. “Consumers may justify purchasing Nutella by taking the stance that the spread may not be healthiest but there are worse things to eat, like donuts and cinnamon rolls. And when it tastes as good as it does, it’s hard to give it up.”
The Nutella Marketing Strategy: What can we learn?
As the world’s leading hazelnut spread, Nutella has become a household name and a beloved treat for people of all ages. The success of Nutella can be attributed to several factors, including its unique taste and high-quality ingredients, but one of the key drivers of its success is its branding and marketing strategy.
In this article, we explored three branding strategies that made Nutella a business success, and how these strategies can be applied to other businesses. Additionally, we will explore the Nutella marketing strategy and how it has contributed to the brand’s success.
When it comes to the Nutella marketing strategy, there are many more key elements that have contributed to the brand’s success. One of the most important elements of the Nutella marketing strategy is its focus on social media. Nutella has a strong presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where it regularly posts engaging content that resonates with its target audience. By using social media to connect with its customers, Nutella has been able to build a strong community around its brand.
Another key element of the Nutella marketing strategy is its use of influencer marketing. Nutella partners with influencers who have a large following on social media to promote its products. These influencers create content that showcases Nutella in a positive light and encourages their followers to try the product. This has helped to improve Nutella’s marketing mix, increasing brand awareness and driving sales for the hazelnut based sandwich spread.
In addition to social media and influencer marketing, Nutella also invests heavily in traditional advertising as part of its marketing mix. To help their brand succeed, Nutella has created a number of memorable ads over the years, including its iconic “Spread the Happy” campaign. These ads have been a crucial aspect of Nutella’s marketing mix, helping to build brand awareness and reinforce Nutella’s position as a premium product.
Nutella’s branding and marketing strategies have played a significant role in the brand’s success. By creating a unique product, leveraging nostalgia, and developing a strong visual identity, Nutella has established itself as a premium and beloved brand. The brand’s marketing mix that includes social media, influencer marketing, and advertising have also contributed to its success.
Overall, Nutella serves as a great example of how a well-executed branding and marketing strategy can lead to long-term success.