Long-Term Marketing Excellence 2021 – sponsored by ICG

Although they may have a big shiny factory called Peanut Butter World, Pic’s are no ordinary ‘corporate’ company. They like to do things differently, especially their marketing.

Building community with food

The challenge

Keeping the little guy values at the heart its marketing is fully aligned with Pic’s founding values. Founder, Pic, built his peanut butter through word-of-mouth from people that love the stuff, not some fancy-pants marketing people. No lies or stretched truths, just real people having a good honest chat. 

This is in line with Pic’s core business values of People and Community, which have run hand-in-hand with its marketing efforts over the years. Its marketing strategy is focused on PR, packaging, social media and attending events. And most of it on a shoestring budget.

The response

Pic’s approach is unique. Within the category, most brands fit into a category of: Cheap product – cheap branding; Cheap product – premium branding; Premium product – premium branding. Living up to its charmingly contradictory mantra Pic’s do things differently: Premium product – cheap branding.

Pic’s sees the jar like a newspaper to read over your morning coffee. And it has the added bonus of a hidden poem under the label – to surprise and delight customers when they scrape the last of their peanut butter from the jar. A simple thing like a label is an opportunity for the brand and something its endeavour to make the most of – most recently adding a QR code for customers to read about the exact peanuts used in their jar.

The result

Long-term brand building the old fashioned way. Pic’s have never used billboards or expensive TV ads to sell its products. Its two most powerful marketing tools are: One, Pic and his enthusiasm for good peanut butter. Pic started spreading the word at the local market and never hesitated to tell his story to aircrew, uber drivers, and unsuspecting punters at the pub who would find themselves with a jar of Pic’s finest. Pic also rallied his early customers to act as a salesforce, encouraging them to ask their supermarkets to stock his products. Much more cost-effective and persuasive than paid salespeople.

Two, the publication on a jar. Pic’s use the jar itself to tell its story, talk about its latest ideas, muse on the world, invite people to visit them at the factory and generally encourage a dialogue with Pic’s customers.

The past three years has seen the brand harness the power of advocacy from both its internal and external customers. 

The brand also believes advocacy and WOM are two of its most powerful and cost-effective marketing weapons. Pic’s have 52 Peanut Butter Makers (PBMs). Not only are they at the local Nelson Market every weekend, but they also have customer touch points at Peanut Butter World, their team spinning yarns on social media, the warehouse and factory teams, the sales team at a trade shows, the food show teams (a mix of marketing, sales and factory team members) spreading the word. They also have Pic’s Peanut Butter Eaters (Picsters). The brand treats its customers like family, who have in turn rewarded Pic’s by introducing them to their friends, demanding their supermarket stock their products, sending jars to Kiwis overseas, raving about Pic’s on social media, and generally displaying a brand love rarely seen for grocery items.

Category: Long-Term Marketing Excellence

Company: Pic’s Peanut Butter

Marketing Initiative: Building Community With Food

Marketing Partners: Augusto

Judges’ Comments: “Pic’s brand essence remains central to their business and they’ve stayed true to values over an enduring period. Pic’s is an early disrupter to the category and un-waiving focus on core product and brand competencies – a Steve Jobs of peanut butter. Great outstanding market share outcomes.”

Finalists: Lion (two times finalists), Meridian
and Powershop

This article was first published in the 2021 December/January issue of NZ Marketing magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine, here. Or read the other winner stories, here.

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