A Brand in a “Pickle”

Imagine your product is a pickle. You live in a low engagement category, have a tight marketing budget, and need to create an impactful strategy for a brand that’s over 100 years old – what do you do? You could push out coupons, change the packaging, have a promotion, and so on. Or you could reignite your brand by turning to an unexpected data source for unanticipated consumer segmentation strategy and growth opportunities.

The Situation

Claussen was literally “in a pickle” as a mature brand.  The marketing budget wasn’t going to change, but the brand’s approach to better understanding their consumers, and their category could.

The Opportunity

Because consumers talk about their passions in online communities, understanding those conversations is a valuable resource for innovation.  Claussen unearthed opportunities for new product innovation, brand positioning and communication based on a fresh, deeper understanding of existing customers and more thorough understanding of usage occasions and category excitement.

The Analysis

We analyzed conversation about pickles and discovered a multitude of uses among foodies and dieters.  Pickle juice is used as a secret ingredient in brining and marinating meat dishes, a passion for summer gardeners, and low-carb dieters swear by snacks made by slathering a pickle spear in cream cheese and wrapping it in a cold cut.


Find the hidden passion

ryan-cant-win-without-his-pickleAnother surprising topic emerged around pickle juice, generated by a surprising consumer segment.  Pickle juice has been a latent super food (Nolan Ryan even attributed his success to it in 1968).

Consumer conversation showed terrific energy around pickle juice in communities from mixologists to fitness buffs  to pregnant women.

It even showed up in communities of people focused on frugal living.

pocket-knifePickle juice is fun to talk about because it is a veritable Swiss Army Knife, full of hidden and surprising uses giving Claussen the energetic hook to revitalize their marketing for the brand.


Putting it to work


Claussen launched a new campaign primarily in digital and social channels and generated impressive returns.  They used the power of micro marketing to uncover the high-passion needs of smaller customer segments.

As Seth Godin says in his review of micromarketing,

“stop demanding the web conform to your desire for mass—and instead realize that mattering a lot to a few people is worth far more than mattering just a little to everyone.” —SETH GODIN, author of Linchpin

As for the results, Claussen:

  • Grew market share by 0.4 share points while competitor’s share declined 0.8 share points
  • Introduced a new Hot & Spicy pickle
  • Grew Facebook audience by 25x in just 4 months
  • Attracted 1M viewers in the first month of their YouTube campaign
  • Generated twice the payback using social media of their traditional Print and Online Banner Advertising by company measures

3 Steps to Reignite your Brand

  1. Explore new data sources to find untapped growth opportunities.
  2. Activate your strategy against what consumers are passionate about.
  3. Optimize as you go to give your strategy room to expand.