“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Muesli-Maker's Savvy Marketing put her Business Name on Everyone's Lips
Briefly tell us about your business and how you got started.
Upon completion of secondary school, l was invited to work part time for a small muesli-making business, which sold its muesli to local cafes and food stores. In 1991, when I was 18, my employers announced they were selling the business, which placed my job in jeopardy. I loved the job and a little voice inside my head said, “You could do this! You love the muesli and you make it already!”. When no other offers were received they accepted my offer of $1000 with a co-worker and the business was ours!
What have been your major achievements?
Winning the 2007 Ernst and Young Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
On a personal note, my three beautiful children are my pride and joy.
What have been your major challenges?
There were plenty of challenges along the way. I was knocked back by the supermarkets time and time again, but had to pick myself up and be persistent. It finally paid off when Carman’s was listed in Coles, which was soon followed by Woolworths. Perhaps one of the most important things about being an entrepreneur is to be persistent. You will always come up against obstacles so you need to keep fighting for your brand. Back in 2002 one of the supermarket chains chose to delete our lines due to slow sales. I was devastated, but worked so hard on increasing sales and never gave up. They reinstated us 18 months later.
Who has been your greatest mentor?
Different people have helped me along the way. As the business is growing and changing so too do the types of people I turn to for advice.
It’s wonderful that now I can return the favour and mentor other up and coming entrepreneurs. I know how valuable it is.
What have you found to be the most effective means of marketing your business and why?
We have always found word of mouth to be our most successful method of marketing. We encourage people who love our product to tell a friend, and ask people to contact us if someone has recommended our products to them – we then surprise them with a personal thank you.
What have you found to be the most effective means of branding your business and why?
We like to keep a consistent look with our packaging so that customers recognise the Carman’s brand easily. In a sea of multi-colour packaging, our simple black boxes stand out and are instantly recognisable.
There are many ways for our customers to engage with the Carman’s brand especially with our clear values, packaging which raises awareness and encouraging feedback for a personal customer connection.
What is one thing you have done in terms of marketing you have been proud of and what were the results?
We recently sent a mail-out Australia wide to everyone with 'Carman' in their name with a sample of our products and a Carman's shopping list for their fridge. People absolutely loved it! The response from everyone was overwhelming and positive; we received letters, emails and phone calls of thanks.
We try to think outside of the box and be creative with our marketing.
What is one thing you have done in terms of branding you have been proud of and what were the results?
We updated our packaging almost 12 months ago and we are very proud of the results. We decided we needed to be easily identifiable on the shelf, while it was critical to retain enough of the earlier image for existing customers to immediately recognise the brand. We wanted the packaging to reflect the core values and philosophy of Carman’s as a company which produces wholesome products, protects the environment and cares about keeping its customers happy.
Carman’s has enjoyed a 25% increase in sales since the new packaging was implemented. We have also received 100% positive feedback to the new ‘look’.
How do you stand out from your competitors?
The main differentiator is Carman’s commitment to using healthy, good quality Australian ingredients in our products. I think these days more than ever people want to buy Australian grown and made. Carman’s appeals to the ever-growing health conscious market - while it’s good for you, it’s also delicious!
Where would you like to see your business in five years from now?
My main objective is to manage the next 18 months effectively. The growth Carman’s is experiencing has been astounding. I want to ensure that the company’s structure supports this growth, and that the company’s core values and culture are not compromised. I believe the journey we are on is only just beginning, and I’m so excited to see how the next few years unfold.
What are your Top Five Strategies for Success?
- Think of the people you work with as another family; delight your customers constantly and your business will quickly thrive.
- Have a crystal clear vision of where your business is heading and refer to it every day when decision making.
- Write lists, prioritise and clear your inbox every day. Learn to say ‘no’ to things that are not important, so you can work ‘smarter’ rather than ‘harder’.
- ‘Drive it like you stole it’ – sometimes you just have to trust your instincts, dive into the deep end and go for it!
- Love what you do! Your passion, drive and enthusiasm will determine your business’ success.
You might be interested in this upcoming event...
NEW: Social Media for Small Business Webinar Series
Practical ways to use social media to grow your business
Online Webinars - Starting 28 May 2013
NEW webinar series: designed to dispel the myths about social media and arm small business owners with skills and know-how to make social media a powerful force for business development and bottom line results.
Experts will present practical ways to use social media to:
- Build brand awareness for your organisation
- Network and make connections all over the world
- Build your personal profile and position you as a credible authority
- Drive traffic to your website, blog or social networks
- Convert social media followers to leads and leads to customers
- Grow you reach with suppliers, staff, resources, alliances, sponsors