Public Relations Case Study

Mitani Classic Chicken Salt

The Situation

Produced in South Australia, Mitani Classic Chicken Salt has been a staple of Australian pantries and local chicken shops for more than 30 years.

Mitani Classic Chicken Salt is ranged nationally in Coles, Woolworths and selected independent supermarkets for retail customers and in the food service sector through national distributors.

There’s a niche market for chicken salt with the product used mainly to season hot chips, and health considerations seeing the market decline over the last five years before stabilising to current levels.

While the market is relatively small compared to other food categories, Mitani remains a dominant player with around 40% of the retail market and 10% of the food service market.

The Mitani Group (producers of Mitani Classic Chicken Salt) expressed concerns that product sales will likely fall if the company doesn’t invest in the brand and consumer awareness. The brand has lacked significant marketing investment for many years, with existing marketing materials outdated, and lacking brand personality.

Recent investment in the product packaging has provided a platform to reenergise Mitani’s brand marketing.

In addition, the Mitani Group which produces a range of custom branded and non-branded food products for other food companies and retailers, has largely been built off the back of Mitani Classic Chicken Salt.

The Group viewed retaining and strengthening the Mitani Classic Chicken Salt as being vital to the broader success, awareness and credibility of the company.

Therefore, Mitani approached Hughes to develop a retail campaign to help them consolidate their position in the market and maintain shelf space within the major supermarkets by investigating the viability of expanding its involvement in marketing and brand promotion.

Key Considerations

  • Mitani Classic Chicken Salt enjoys high brand recognition in South Australia but relatively low or non-existent brand recognition in the other States;
  • At the retail level, the market is controlled by Coles and Woolworths who can delist the product quickly if adequate sales aren’t achieved;
  • There’s limited market awareness of chicken salt and the uses of chicken salt, particularly for home use, and to date it has been marketed exclusively for use as a seasoning for hot chips;
  • The value of the Australian Chicken Salt market is very low compared to many other food categories, and therefore the campaign spend needs to be commensurate with the value of the market;
  • Using chicken salt at home is a health consideration for many families, with salt often associated with poor health outcomes. In addition, fewer people are cooking chips at home (chip fryers were a common item in kitchens for decades).

Objectives

Prior to commencing work on the campaign for Mitani Chicken Salt, Hughes worked with the client to identify and further develop a series of key objectives including:

  • Raising awareness of Mitani Chicken Salt among key target markets;
  • Growing the home use of Mitani Chicken Salt by current product loyalists;
  • Encouraging the trial of Mitani Chicken Salt by new customers;
  • Broadening the use of Mitani Chicken Salt beyond hot chips;
  • Providing Coles and Woolworths with the confidence to continue ranging Mitani Chicken Salt;
  • Driving sales.

Target Markets

  • Current Mitani loyalists (retail customers) with the aim of broadening their use of Chicken Salt in their home cooking i.e. As a seasoning for BBQ meats, dry marinade etc.
  • New retail customers with the aim of encouraging them to trial Chicken Salt in their home cooking.
  • Major supermarkets – Coles, Woolworths and large independents.

Campaign Strategy

Hughes strategy was based upon broadening its application and appeal by inspiring home cooks to use Mitani Chicken Salt as a ‘general-purpose seasoning’.

The rationale being that if we could lift Mitani Chicken Salt out of the relatively small chicken salt market into the much larger seasonings market then the potential to grow the brand and product sales were much greater. 

It was also based on budget and not being able to justify an above the line campaign which ruled out traditional advertising such as TV, print and radio.

Hughes developed a content marketing strategy centred on showcasing how Mitani Chicken Salt could be used through a series of short recipes and cooking demonstration videos which were then targeted to key audiences through paid and owned social and digital media.

Elements

Creative Concept

Hughes created an overarching creative concept under the strapline of Season and Savour.

The concept was designed to lift Mitani’s brand personality and be consistently applied across all digital and social media. All the visual elements of the concept were developed to align with the revamped product packaging.

Recipe Development

Hughes worked with Mitani and engaged a consultant chef to help develop and refine a series of seasonal recipes using Mitani Chicken Salt.

The recipes were designed to be easy to follow for the amateur cook but also to encourage and inspire people to think differently about how chicken salt could be used in their home cooking.

It was also imperative that all the ingredients for the recipes could be purchased from any major supermarket.

Videos and Photography

Hughes’ in house videographer researched and developed a unique visual style for the videos with influences from videos hosted on popular sites and channels like Buzzfeed Tasty and Delish.

Each video featured a simple recipe and cooking demonstration to give home cooks ideas and inspiration for using Mitani Chicken Salt. They were also designed to be easy to follow.

We researched a suitable location for filming the recipe videos and scoped the technical requirements (camera, lighting, staging etc) for the shoot, which were then tested prior to filming.

In addition, we identified and engaged a photographer with the right style and food photography experience for the shoot.

Website

Building on the work undertaken on the packaging redesign, Hughes designed a new consumer facing website for Mitani to:

  • Refresh and modernise the brand communications;
  • Communicate Mitani’s story;
  • Promote the key product ingredients and benefits;
  • Inspire home cooks to use Mitani Chicken Salt in their cooking with easy to follow recipes, high quality food photography and the videos.

Concept designs were developed for the site and refined with the client before being built ahead of the campaign launch.

The new Mitani Chicken Salt website

The Mitani graphic design case study

Social and Digital Media – Shared and Paid

Hughes developed a social and digital media strategy for Mitani Chicken Salt to build their online presence and engagement through organic and paid activity.

The strategy focussed on maximising reach and engagement for the recipe videos and creating a sustainable online presence for ongoing development.

We first established social media pages (Facebook and Instagram) and developed their presence with organic posts and content.

The campaign evolved to running paid campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Google Video Adverts to maximise national audience reach and views for the videos and photo posts.

Mitani Facebook page

Mitani Instagram page