What is HelloFresh?
I’d be surprised if you hadn’t already heard of HelloFresh, particularly over recent months. But if not, then for a bit of context, it’s a home delivery meal-kit subscription service, founded in Germany, in 2011. We can all appreciate why it has become so popular throughout 2020, but fortunately for them, their main climb to market leader position had actually taken place prior to the pandemic. With primary sales in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, HelloFresh also operates throughout Europe and aimed for expansion there.
In order to do this, they chose to work with two different agencies to create influencer marketing campaigns that would help them to achieve growth goals. We are going to look at two different types of influencer campaigns, and how HelloFresh has benefitted from both a one-off and a long-term campaign.
Surprisingly for HelloFresh, after their launch in Germany, they grew the quickest in the US over the following twelve months. Although the fresh food subscription service took off in the US throughout 2012, it did not quite appeal to the European market so quickly.
For the first few years, the majority of the company’s focus was on growth in the US, trialling in Europe, but sometimes failing. Profits were slowly being made in the UK but, for example, the product was removed from the market in France, due to the losses here.
Working with influencers was a marketing strategy that had been showing significant results for the company so far. HelloFresh took a dive into influencer marketing years back, when it was all still rather new. They worked with nano and micro-influencers, as well as celebrities, in the US to promote the product – and it worked!
So, with all of this being great for HelloFresh in the US, the company decided to work on its growth strategy in the UK and European markets. Influencer marketing was becoming more apparent in these countries too, so this seemed like the way forward for HelloFresh. So, they set their goal for increased content creation and brand awareness in the UK and EU territory, through the use of influencer marketing and affiliate campaigns.
What was their approach?
In order to reach these objectives, HelloFresh worked with different agencies to help ensure that their influencer marketing campaigns would make enough of an impact to expand in the European market, as they did in the US.
HelloFresh has been working with the agency Silverbean for quite some time now, creating its long-term affiliate program across several countries. We are going to assess the results of this partnership, and see how a long-term partnership is beneficial for influencer marketing.
As well as working with Silverbean for several years, HelloFresh hired the agency IMA to create a one-off influencer marketing campaign in 2019. This was a highly successful short-term campaign following a different approach, which we will evaluate and compare the results of.
The Influencer Marketing Agency
The Influencer Marketing Agency (IMA) was founded in 2013, with big ambitions to become one of the leading agencies in the Influencer Marketing industry. Welcoming experienced professionals from digital advertising and media, IMA grew their services and began working with some big names such as Under Armour, Phillips, Moncler, and of course – HelloFresh.
IMA explains their agency cause as to create "authentic connections," stating that they will “dig into the real story of a brand and the true motivations of their campaign”. This is exactly what they did with the HelloFresh Campaign in the UK.
IMA - Refresh with HelloFresh
This campaign was launched in 2019, working with 15 micro-influencers in the UK and Davina McCall as the celebrity face of the campaign. #RefreshWithHelloFresh asked this group of influencers to take part in the 21-day campaign, trying out a broad selection of HelloFresh recipes.
The influencers each posted content across their social media platforms throughout the three-week campaign, with a range of appealing photos and cooking videos. The hashtag #RefreshWithHelloFresh was used in combination with this content, to encourage engagement with the influencers’ audiences.
As mentioned before, the objective of this one-off campaign was to increase content creation and brand awareness, in order to achieve growth in areas outside of their leading US market. For this campaign, they specifically targeted the UK market.
IMA and HelloFresh tactically planned this campaign to work with influencers from the demographic that reflected the company’s audiences. So far, they have been hugely successful with consumers within the 20s to 30s age range, primarily female, and typically with interests in cooking, health, fitness, home, and lifestyle. A big part of HelloFresh’s audience is from the "mommy" category, with moms looking for a quick and healthy way to whip up a meal for the family.
Looking at the video on the HelloFreshUK YouTube channel, it achieved 2.6K views, which is far above the average number of views for previous videos on their channel. But, if we dig a bit deeper, we can take a look at why Davina McCall was so successfully selected as the face of this campaign. Heepsy data can help us to understand.
Davina McCall is a celebrity television presenter from the UK, with 1.3M followers on Instagram. More noticeably over recent years, she has dedicated her social media accounts towards her passion for health and fitness.
We can see above that the majority of her followers fall within the 25-35 and the 35-45 age category, and are predominantly female, fitting in perfectly with HelloFresh’s audience demographic, which we can see below.
All 15 micro-influencers that worked on this campaign have an audience that falls within this same demographic, even if they do have a certain specialty of content, such as @the_indigo_house, with Laura dedicated to home decor content.
So, what we can understand here, is that HelloFresh and IMA made sure to carefully plan this campaign, ensuring that the audience of these influencers would be the exact type to be interested in the product. Now, the real question is, did it work?
According to IMA, this campaign created 274% more impressions and 325% extra content. In line with HelloFresh’s goals for content creation and brand awareness in the UK market, this campaign certainly managed to do just that! It’s not just us that thinks this was a great campaign. HelloFresh and IMA won two awards at the 2020 Influencer Marketing Awards for Best Food and Drink Campaign and Most Effective Collaboration or Partnership.
Again, let’s take a look at some Heepsy data. Below, we can see that the HelloFreshUK Instagram account was growing at a fairly slow pace until May 2019, when the campaign occurred, and we see a more noticeable increase in followers. This quicker rise in followers has continued since, telling us that the campaign was a great success in creating brand awareness. These new followers must also be loving the HelloFresh content because we can see that they are definitely sticking around.
Between their teams in the UK and Australia, Silverbean has grown its marketing agency to work with reputable brands across the globe, such as New Balance and Yves Saint Laurent. Since 2002, they have been long established in affiliate and partner marketing, expanding into influencer marketing as social media has advanced over recent years. The company has been working with HelloFresh for a while on several different projects, using traditional marketing methods like print media, as well as online and digital marketing efforts.
Working together with Silverbean, the HelloFresh Affiliate Programme was created. This program welcomes brands and individuals to partner with HelloFresh, with a free sign up for affiliates to begin earning through a commission-based incentive. Silverbean’s goal was to increase brand awareness and increase customer acquisition, specifically focussing on the UK, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
In terms of their influencer marketing campaign, HelloFresh has seen a huge percentage of their new customer sign-ups coming from those that have accessed influencer affiliate codes. This method means that the customer will get a discount on their subscription, while influencers gain a commission from the times that their code is used.
The affiliate programme has been a huge success for HelloFresh to achieve brand awareness and content creation across the European market. There are now thousands of micro-influencers working with the company, posting regular content across channels, most often on Instagram and YouTube, showcasing the product and encouraging engagement.
Jo-Anna is a British mom of two girls, @esme_and_edie, and her account is dedicated to ‘mommy’ content, lifestyle, cooking, and health tips. From this program, Jo-Anna has maintained a partnership with HelloFresh, even having a dedicated story highlights on Instagram for all content HelloFresh-related. Heepsy data allows us to understand the demographics of her audience, aligning perfectly with that of HelloFresh’s.
HelloFresh hasn’t just relied on the content creation of these influencers to reach their goals. The company has really got involved with the use of hashtags to aid the spread of content, creating many of their own for influencers and customers to use. This has managed to engage audiences by encouraging the creation of user-generated content, too. Influencers will tag #HelloFreshPartner in their posts, and of course, follow advertising guidelines by addressing the sponsorship.
Check out these hashtags for some more tasty looking foodie pics, as well as some furry friends popping out of some delivery boxes: #helloathome, #hellofreshpets, and #freshfriends.
When looking at the results from the HelloFresh Affiliate program, we can take a look at a couple of examples. Firstly, we can see the results gained from the affiliate partnership with British celebrity actress and comedian Emily Atack. Her role was not only to create Instagram content, but she took part in a YouTube series with HelloFresh called "How To Master Mealtimes with HelloFresh and Emily Atack."
This three-part series was posted on the HelloFresh UK YouTube channel and social media accounts, over six weeks in 2020. Emily visited the houses of four different families, who are regular HelloFresh customers, to understand how useful HelloFresh is to the dinnertime routine of these families. Of course, Emily managed to put a comedic spin on things along the way!
The first episode alone gained almost 14K views on YouTube. This is much higher than HelloFresh’s usual content on YouTube, with under 1K views for most videos. It’s clear to see that an influencer campaign certainly gains more attention than the channel’s usual content, with the IMA RefreshWithHelloFresh videos also doing particularly well.
Customers are evidently interested in seeing this type of influencer collaborated content, and HelloFresh US has come up with a similar style of the campaign for 2021 with Mindy Kaling, called "Meals With Mindy."
While HelloFresh is working with a large number of nano and micro-influencers in the UK, with the content being posted every single day, let’s look at @newbuildnewmum, for reference of results. Gemma has 9K followers, posting regular "mommy" content to her viewers, who are mainly located in the UK.
If we take a look at her engagement rates, we can see that she is sitting at a 6.2% average, which is particularly high for an influencer within her category anyway. This means that her followers are clearly interested in the content that she posts.
For her HelloFresh content specifically, the engagement is even higher than her average, at 6.5%. So we can understand from this that her followers must be loving her HelloFresh foodie pics, and it is providing successful engagement results for the brand.
We can say without a doubt that the partnership with Silverbean has been a great success for HelloFresh’s growing brand awareness and content creation in the UK market. I mean, they are still working with the agency - so that’s a great starting point! But, let’s take a look at the numbers. According to Silverbean, the results of their partnership over a 12 month period achieved:
HelloFresh managed to be part of another award-winning campaign, with Silverbean winning the Northern Marketing Awards in the Best Food and Drink Campaign category, for their work on the HelloFresh Affiliate Programme.
Why did this work?
It’s clear that HelloFresh has successfully used influencer marketing to become the market leader meal-kit provider.
With this case study, we wanted to look at how agencies can aid the success of either a one-off campaign or long-term partnership, and which of these has given better results for HelloFresh. Whilst working on both campaigns across similar time frames, it’s for sure difficult to establish which campaign has been more successful.
But, what we do know, is that both agencies utilized the benefits of working with nano and micro influencers to reach HelloFresh’s expansion goals in the UK market without having a huge marketing budget.
Each agency thoroughly planned campaigns that ensured the content would reach audiences most likely to be interested in the product, with a deep analysis of influencer’s profiles and their followers. We can see here that you don’t need to be working with big-name influencers to reach a large audience.
Food for thought...
Next time that you see HelloFresh popping up on your social media, you’ll be able to understand the level of thought that has gone into their influencer marketing strategies. Working with both IMA and Silverbean, they have managed to achieve their UK expansion goals of increasing content creation and brand awareness.
What has really worked in this brand’s favor, is managing to do all of this in the time leading up to the global pandemic, placing them in the perfect position. As a home delivery meal-kid provider, their growth figures have only skyrocketed even further over recent months!
This isn’t to say that they can now sit back and relax. HelloFresh has announced its goals going forward, with a large focus being placed on its sustainability efforts in the coming years. They aim to reduce food waste and their carbon footprint, as well as improve packaging.
The key learning from these campaigns by HelloFresh, and their agencies IMA and SIlverbean, is the importance of finding the right influencers to suit your brand. At the end of the day, one of the primary reasons why these campaigns did so well, is not because of the celebrity names that they chose. But, because HelloFresh partnered with a huge number of nano and micro influencers that were able to represent their brand perfectly to an audience that was an exact match to their target.
If there’s two things that we would like you to remember from this (okay - I couldn’t pick just one), it is to not overlook working with nano and micro influencers, and to ensure that you are thoroughly analysing audience demographics to match that of your brands.