Marketing Week (MW): What have you learned through Facebook?
Graeme Nash (GN): We use it for insight, rather than trying to put a financial value on it. We get a lot of requests on Facebook – that is where you start to understand [customers] and reap the benefits.
For example, 12-year-old Harry Caldwell campaigned to get us to open a shop in his home town of Lydney in Gloucestershire. Harry got his MP involved and it really built momentum. When the shop finally opened we invited Harry along to cut the ribbon.
We’ve also run campaigns such as those that get people to vote to keep products. An example of this is the Mexican bandit baguette, which we first produced as a limited edition and is now in our top 10 products sold.
We have about 360,000 likes on Facebook and that is where our fanbase is. It is a rich source of information and helps some of those product decisions.
The fact it is instant means you can react and do something about it. Traditional research methods may not give you that speed of reaction.
MW: Who within Greggs responds to comments on your Facebook page?
GN: The customer care and brand communications teams, depending on the nature of the comment. It is important that we have conversations with people and try to put things right for them. It is an instant feedback mechanism and we’ve got to try to respond well. It is a challenge that many brands have at the moment, but we are trying to react and learn as we go.
MW: How else does Greggs use insight?
GN: We invest in products, tasting and brand research, in order to understand the market and our competitors. It is a constant flow of activity. The challenge for us is how to feed that back into the business in terms of what is actionable. Things like Facebook are great, but understanding how behaviour is changing takes a bit more time to filter through.
MW: What’s the strategy behind your recently launched mobile app?
GN: It includes a store locator, menu and links to Twitter and Facebook. We want to be accessible and if people are accessing social media that way, we need to be part of that.
Location is key within that. We know from our website and data tracking that is one of the most important things for customers. There is probably a million fancy things we could do on the app, but we just want Greggs to be as accessible as it possibly can be.