Thursday, July 23, 2015

Insights to Strategy: The Story of Chobani

Sonia Dalvi, Brand Manager of Shopper Marketing at Chobani, opened up the session with a genuine introduction of Chobani’s founder, Hamdi Ulukaya.

“If I’m going to have peaches in my yogurt, then they’re going to be peaches, there is just no other way.” – Hamdi Ulukaya, founder if Chobani

She continued through the history of Chobani and the vision of the company. 

History: Turkish by decent, Chobani’s president wanted to provide better food options to people.
DNNA- deliecious nutritious natural and affordable- characteristics Chobani wants to leverage across. Usually price point is off, or products are healthy yet taste bad.

**call out important nutritionals, colors are important, being transparent with the consumer is most important

When she first started, Sonia was given a shopper insights project. This came to be a very insightful experience providing invaluable information that the company had not even thought about. 

Through completing the project, she came up with a few guiding principles. 

1.       1. Shopper insights= a journey, not a destination
a.       Think more than just
2.       2. If it’s not actionable, it’s just academic
b.       There are valuable insights for both internal and external teams. Keep insights relevant for all involved
3.       3. One size does not fit all
c.       They wanted to connect with the growing millennial shopper but growing as a brand think of all the shopper groups at your disposal and you can even segment within that group.

She continued to describe the project, first defining the goal and parameters. 

What was the goal?
                How can yogurt become a destination again- fun

Who is the shopper?
                Who are the influencers- how does she navigate, what value does she bring to the category

Focus on IN THE MOMENT research:
                Qualitative and quantative elements to discover how is the shopper environment is influencing her decision making.

Pre-shop is critical in the category- yogurt consumption is highly planned and purchased out of habit. You must drive awareness before she enters store. Use media content, online coupons, ads to remind all to drive trial. 

Brand and flavor are key influencers as they are the most important factors in the category. Consumers had a specific set in mind before even getting to the shelf.

Shoppers spend minimal time at shelf vs other food categories. The shelf is confusing with so many options so make your brand the "go-to" leaving no time for guessing. 

Are there differences by region?

East coasters are planners- they know Greek and know their brands- they do their research and make informed decisions. 
West coasters are newer to Greek- they have a wide consideration set and value global ingredients. For this reason they are prone to impulse purchases which is highly uncommon in a non-impulse category. Chobani ensures they capitalize on this. 

Shoppers desire portability- the on the go pouch option is really valuable in this space.

Shoppers’ desire for yogurt extends beyond breakfast. Full fat yogurts are growing – expanding consumption was a big theme.

Now what

After deriving the insights, Sonia next had to turn this into a strategic plan. She kook these results and worked with marketing team to revamp their story and strategy. They focused on a few key elements:
                Pre-store connection
The emotional connection with yogurt- how does it make you feel? Driving this buzz and excitement was a powerful tool they utilized.

Cluttered shelf makes it hard to break through- extenuating the packaging and logo and also call out the nutrition facts.

                Engaging consumers in store to drive brand
                                Colorful powerful way to engage the consumer though in store danglers and setups.

The key was to build solutions around entire path to purchase.

She left us with some takeaways: 
-        - Strong vision and mission can aid navigation in a  competitive category
-        - Contextual “in the moment” research is an effective tool to both understand and change behavior

-        - Research provides the most value when it is actionable and used to connect with shoppers through integrated programs

Janel Parker, Market Research Consultant at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in Marketing and Psychology from Cornell University. Her previous experience at a social media agency combined with her knowledge from SKIM provide for a unique understanding of the relationships between social media and marketing. She can be reached at

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