No SAKE pun this time; this is serious research

Zenkuro Sake and Appleby Farms are two New Zealand companies which either produce an identical product or operate with a similar point of difference to my fictitious start-up, Tsuta Sake (see previous blog for more info). Both companies are new to the market, selling their product for less than five years.

Zenkuro Sake

Zenkuro Sake is the only commercial sake brewery in New Zealand and is based in Queenstown. It markets itself as using only the finest water from the Southern Alps and the finest polished sake rice. Zenkuro Sake is currently available in New Zealand, London and Japan.

Zenkuro’s website is the main portal for communication. The site is in English and Japanese. It contains plenty of information about the company and their range of sake products and you are even able to purchase products through their online shop attached to the site. Links to promotional articles and other websites that consumers may find of interest are active.

A Facebook page is updated regularly and has roughly 760 followers.

An Instagram page mirrors Facebook and is updated with relatively identical content. There are slightly more followers on Instagram.

Both Instagram and Facebook have images of new product, attendance at markets, announcements of any promotional material and are filled with positivity.

Zenkuro operate a Twitter account, however it has not gained much of a following. It appears to have more Japanese content on it and perhaps is used as the main social media channel for the Japanese followers as Twitter is a popular platform there.

Outside of social media, Zenkuro Sake:

Offer a digital newsletter available to email subscribers

Drive around in a promotional car

Attend food shows and markets

Provide taste testing

Have been featured on radio and television and in magazines and newspapers

Sell merchandise such as soap, created from the by-product of rice fermentation.

Use the PechaKucha platform to explain the sake fermenting process.

Their communication strategies would indicate that their target audience are older, slightly more affluent, civilised drinkers with a penchant for travel and quality. The platforms used are ideal for their target market and offer a good reach.

Appleby Farms

Appleby Farms is a Nelson based ice cream manufacturer. It was founded by four local families including two dairy farmers. Appleby Farms operate with a cow to cone philosophy. They own their farms, use their own milk supply (A2 variety- a unique selling point on its own) and are involved in every aspect of the supply chain.

Their website emphasises their cow to cone philosophy. It is loaded with photos and information about their products. You cannot purchase from their site, but can contact them and access their social media channels.

A Facebook page with roughly 1993 followers is regularly updated and is used for competitions.

An Instagram page to be used more for promotional photos. There are similar numbers of followers for both Facebook and Instagram. Appleby facilitate interaction, encouraging consumer generated feedback on their social media

Outside of social media, Appleby Farms appear to be very active, promoting their business through:

Supporting local community ventures such as the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary.

Attending fairs, selling their ice cream in carts and caravans.

Engaging with customers in the supermarket.

Painting the exterior of several cafes with their branding.

Working with food bloggers and placing paid content in publications like Wild Tomato.

Employing a marketing company ‘phd3’ to be in charge of their brand, packaging, illustration, storytelling and creative direction

Ice cream is universally loved, but the market is saturated. Appleby farms currently produce a premium product offering a range of unique flavours for the domestic consumer. Their communication strategies help connect them with the wider community and share content which is relevant to the audience. Appleby ice cream appeals as a delicious treat, aimed at lovers of fine food and people willing to pay slightly more for all the ingredients being sourced locally.

Final Thoughts.

From this comparative research there are several effective approaches I can take into consideration when promoting my big idea. They are as follows:

1. Take as much time as you need upfront to plan well. Do your market research and make sure you have some competitive advantage that you can sell.

2. Creating a presence in the community is important. Word of mouth is powerful.

3. Maintain a social media presence and respond to comments promptly. For a business concept like Tsuta Sake, operating a Facebook and Instagram page will initially suffice, eventually opening a Twitter feed for the Japanese market when the time comes for expansion. An informative and attractive website is essential.

4. Maintain a good image. Use a marketing company to steer the direction of brand/ packaging and creative direction while you focus on producing the product and running the business.