Calbee's recipe for success: fostering community collaboration and consumer engagement

Yuto Odawa

Kappa Ebisen Brand Team,
Marketing Devision (as of 2022)

“Commune enabled direct and meaningful communication with consumers, positively impacting the overall brand loyalty.”

“Commune enabled direct and meaningful communication with consumers, positively impacting the overall brand loyalty.”

Background

Calbee Inc. is a well-established snack and food manufacturer with a rich history dating back to 1949. The company introduced iconic brands like ‘Kappa Arare’ and ‘Kappa Ebisen,’ which later evolved into a series of snacks. Despite having successful long-standing products, the company recognized the need to enhance the preference – the competitive advantages against their competitors – along with its brand recognition and distribution. Given that, in 2020, the company launched a new brand, Zeppin Kappa Ebisen, particularly with a specific focus on mature men who enjoy alcohol.

Shortly after the new brand’s launch, the company discovered a significant fan base, leading to instances where stores carrying Zeppin Kappa Ebisen ran out of stock due to high demand. As part of consumer research for the brand, customers enthusiastically shared pictures of themselves enjoying the snacks with a beer in hand, images that were later leveraged in the company’s marketing campaigns.

Background

Calbee Inc. is a well-established snack and food manufacturer with a rich history dating back to 1949. The company introduced iconic brands like ‘Kappa Arare’ and ‘Kappa Ebisen,’ which later evolved into a series of snacks. Despite having successful long-standing products, the company recognized the need to enhance the preference – the competitive advantages against their competitors – along with its brand recognition and distribution. Given that, in 2020, the company launched a new brand, Zeppin Kappa Ebisen, particularly with a specific focus on mature men who enjoy alcohol.

Shortly after the new brand’s launch, the company discovered a significant fan base, leading to instances where stores carrying Zeppin Kappa Ebisen ran out of stock due to high demand. As part of consumer research for the brand, customers enthusiastically shared pictures of themselves enjoying the snacks with a beer in hand, images that were later leveraged in the company’s marketing campaigns.

Challenges

Despite the incredibly successful launch of the product, the primary challenge faced by Calbee was the lack of a direct connection with passionate fans of Zeppin Kappa Ebisen. Although the product had enthusiastic followers, there was no established platform for direct interaction, and they felt a strong need to create a space where the company could hear its customers to further consolidate their fan-driven marketing strategies. Furthermore, with a new collaborative space with users, the company aimed to address yet-to-be-answered questions about the product’s recognition and preference over its competitors.

Process

Calbee vetted several community platforms and ultimately chose Commune for its community, drawn to its enthusiasm, user-friendliness, and long-term vision. Notably, they identified several competitive advantages in Commune, including its user-friendly platform, facilitating active engagement from end-consumers in the online community. Another noteworthy aspect is Commune’s commitment and prompt consultation support for the company’s community strategy.

Calbee implemented a community space named ‘Zeppin Club.’ The inter-user communication within the community was vibrant, with consumers sharing personal stories and participating in online parties. Community managers are encouraged to share behind-the-scenes stories of product development and marketing campaigns.

Solution & results

With the Zeppin community powered by Commune, an exclusive space emerged where the audience engaged in candid conversations, sharing their mutual appreciation for alcohol and Zeppin Kappa Ebisen.

This community not only served as a platform for direct engagement but also fostered collaborations with fans for product development. The outcomes were substantial, encompassing candid feedback, valuable insights, and heightened brand advocacy. Ongoing collaborations are underway for future product releases, involving user-generated ideas, online ballots within the community, and participation in online focus groups.

Fueled by community support and other marketing initiatives, Zeppin Kappa Ebisen achieved notable success, ranking high in consumer research for NPS despite its brand recognition score, which was initially as low as 30%. The positive impact extended beyond the Zeppin Kappa Ebisen series, contributing to the overall brand’s growth, driving repeat purchases, and fortifying the brand’s negotiating position with retailers.

Calbee’s community team prioritizes engagement as a key performance indicator (KPI) over audience numbers, recognizing that an active community solidifies the foundation of brand loyalty. In essence, the community emerged as a potent tool for Calbee to establish meaningful connections with its audience, amplify consumer engagement, and propel business success.

Talk to our team to discuss community buidling