The world’s population is aging but is also more connected than ever before, which is why New Zealand Avocados is focusing on engaging with consumers in the digital world says CEO Jen Scoular.
“Fifty-five per cent of the world’s population live in cities and 55 per cent of the world’s population is in the Asia Pacific regions,” Jen told the Horticulture 2017 conference in Tauranga.
Consumers have become “over-connected”, with half the world population also having access to the internet, despite the fact that almost a quarter of those on the planet are over the age of 50.
“Many older people are ‘connected’ because they want to see what their grandchildren are doing.” However, they quickly learn to use the internet and social media for other aspects of their lives, including what they buy.
Understanding those and other dynamics are important in deciding where and how to market avocados she says. Not only are consumers connected, they are also more aware that eating habits directly influence their quality of life and increasingly people are wearing devices to monitor wellbeing as well as physical fitness.
“This trend is a win for avocados.” That’s because avocados are a nutrient-dense fruit that plays a major role in healthy diets, contributing almost 20 vitamins, nutrients and phytonutrients. Also, avocados are an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats, are cholesterol-free and have naturally low levels of sugar and sodium.
New Zealand’s natural beauty and wonderful outdoors make excellent marketing images – to the extent that NZ Avocados uses images of snow-capped South Island alps shown behind lush avocado orchards.
Despite the fact that avocados don’t grow that far south, the image speaks to consumers, says Jen. However, that beauty is not exclusive to New Zealand. Many other countries have similar stunning scenery so it’s vital New Zealand differentiates its own avocado story.
It’s also important to understand each market, and focus information accordingly. ‘Social listening’, says Jen is one way of doing that. Social listening is the process of tracking conversations around specific phrases, words or brands, and then leveraging them to discover opportunities or create content for those audiences.
“Understanding what is said across the internet helps detect who your consumers are.”
This method helped NZ Avocados discover that in Japan, consumers want to know about the benefits of avocado in their diet and how to use them, but are not really interested in the story about how and where the fruit is grown.
For other markets, the story of the growers and the environment where fruit is grown is important to consumers.
Growing the local market has also been an important focus too and this has been enhanced by using the avocado character Ollie Avocado via social media, in television advertisements and in-store promotions.
“Shoppers enjoyed having ‘selfies’ taken with Ollie in supermarkets.” Competitions, including those for recipes, are also popular and an excellent ways to engage with consumers online.
Social media and the internet also provide the opportunity to give detailed information about New Zealand avocados, including why avocados are not available year round.
To explain this NZ Avocados has produced a video called ‘Where have all the avocados gone?’
It is vital, says Jen, for the industry itself to remain closely ‘connected’ to its consumers, able to react and adapt to changing trends.