Cas­ta­nia nuts: Tap­ping into the pub­lic’s heart through au­then­tic brand sto­ry­telling

ArabAd - - CONTENTS -

“His­to­ri­ans and ar­chae­ol­o­gists will one day dis­cover that the ads of our time are the rich­est and most faith­ful daily re­flec­tions any so­ci­ety ever made of its whole range of ac­tiv­i­ties,” the father of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and me­dia stud­ies Mar­shall Mcluhan once said.

And it seems this day has right­fully come, now that brand sto­ry­telling is pro­claimed by ex­perts and the lay au­di­ence alike as one of the most au­then­tic means of cre­at­ing long-last­ing en­gage­ment with cus­tomers in to­day’s in­creas­ingly sat­u­rated ad­ver­tis­ing world.

Look­ing at the trend from a lo­cal per­spec­tive, Cas­ta­nia Nuts has been a mar­ket leader when it comes to cre­ative sto­ry­telling thanks to its on­go­ing “Kel 2a3de fiya Cas­ta­nia” (“ev­ery get-to­gether calls for Cas­ta­nia”) plat­form, which kicked off al­most a year ago with an up­beat one­minute ad show­cas­ing its prod­uct across dif­fer­ent day-to-day sit­u­a­tions and totals six spots to date, each tied to a cul­tur­ally rel­e­vant na­tional oc­ca­sion.

Arabad reached out to Cas­ta­nia Nuts’ CEO Peter Daniel and Beirut­based in­de­pen­dent agency Op­er­a­tion Uni­corn, and the cre­ative team be­hind the cam­paigns, for first­hand insight into the brand’s cur­rent con­tent strat­egy that has so far proved to hit the mark with con­sumers.

Be­yond the Prod­uct: Con­vey­ing a Re­lat­able Ex­pe­ri­ence through Lo­cal­lyfla­vored Sto­ries

Dig­i­tal me­dia and in­ter­ac­tiv­ity sig­nif­i­cantly changed the dy­nam­ics of how con­sumers see and pay at­ten­tion to brand mes­sages nowa­days, a mas­sive shift that has pushed mar­keters to be­come in­creas­ingly in­no­va­tive in turn­ing these new tools to their ad­van­tage.

Draw­ing upon the vi­brancy of Le­banese cul­ture, Cat­sa­nia’s ads fea­ture real peo­ple in­ter­act­ing with nuts in their every­day en­vi­ron­ment, amount­ing in mem­o­rable lo­cally-fla­vored pos­i­tive vibes. “We are try­ing to es­tab­lish the fact that Cas­ta­nia is present in our gath­er­ings, by show­ing mul­ti­ple and sto­ry­telling ads of peo­ple en­joy­ing their pack of nuts in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions, sce­nar­ios, oc­ca­sions [and] events,” Daniel told Arabad.

“The main el­e­ment that has paved the way for the kind of sto­ry­telling we have been pro­duc­ing for Cas­ta­nia is the new brand tagline we laid out,” stated Nathalie Masri, Op­er­a­tion Uni­corn’s Co-founder and Cre­ative Di­rec­tor. “This al­lowed us to in­tro­duce and keep the brand rel­e­vant in any form of so­cial gath­er­ing or oc­ca­sion all while cre­at­ing sto­ries around it with­out hav­ing to fo­cus on the prod­uct as the fo­cal point of in­ter­est.”

Re­ly­ing on hy­brid tal­ents rather than head­count, the small team has got the flair to bring out the mag­i­cal side of ev­ery brand, this time through fea­tur­ing com­mon sce­nar­ios where the prod­uct is sub­tly em­bed­ded in the story in­stead of be­ing pushed straight in the viewer’s face with a pro­mo­tional mes­sage. “Cas­ta­nia has been

present in the mar­ket since 1983. We have al­ready es­tab­lished the fact that it of­fers pre­mium qual­ity and tasty nuts. Since con­sumers nowa­days are brand ori­ented, we are fo­cus­ing on re­in­forc­ing the brand im­age into the mind of con­sumers not just to be their fa­vorite nuts but rather their loved brand,” Daniel ex­plained.

De­spite fea­tur­ing dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios, one thing that ties the spots to­gether is that each of them de­picts a life­style scene ev­ery Le­banese house­hold can re­late to us­ing funny char­ac­ters and good-na­tured hu­mor. The se­ries also trans­lates eas­ily on so­cial me­dia given its per­sonal/re­al­is­tic un­der­tones.

As a re­sult, the ads are snappy, fun to watch, and ex­ude the kind of ef­fort­less, doesn’t-take-it­self-too-se­ri­ously con­fi­dence that most brands as­pire for, help­ing build a deeper con­nec­tion with con­sumers and grow affin­ity to­wards the brand. “The au­di­ence is re­act­ing very well to our re­cent con­tent,” Daniel noted, af­firm­ing Cas­ta­nia’s plans to pur­sue this strat­egy at least un­til the end of this year.

Strate­gic Shift: Mov­ing from Real­time Mar­ket­ing to Cul­tur­ally In­sight­ful Mar­ket­ing. Any brand that as­pires to be loved by the con­sumer to­day should pro­duce con­tent that en­tails some kind of cul­tural cur­rency or cul­tural im­pact. And Cas­ta­nia has been con­sis­tent in this ap­proach, by show­cas­ing mo­ments that can eas­ily be­come part of the cul­tural con­ver­sa­tion.

“We try to show as many oc­ca­sions as pos­si­ble where two or more peo­ple gather around a bowl or pack of Cas­ta­nia. A suc­cess­ful ad would be even more pow­er­ful if it [man­ages to] grab a hap­pen­ing oc­ca­sion or event that is not a pre-de­fined one like Valen­tine’s, Christ­mas, etc.,” Daniel ex­plained. “We have suc­cess­fully done that with our Le­banese elec­tion day.”

The ac­claimed spot fea­tures a guy at­tempt­ing to ex­plain the new elec­toral law to his friend over a game of backgam­mon by mov­ing around a pile of Cas­ta­nia nuts to il­lus­trate each of the con­fus­ing no­tions, while he can’t bring him­self to re­sist eat­ing some along the way, a sto­ry­line that suc­cess­fully bor­ders on Le­banon’s end­less so­cio-po­lit­i­cal sub­tleties to in­duce a chuckle at the end.

Just like its pre­de­ces­sors, the spot ends with the brand’s sig­na­ture plat­form “Ev­ery get-to­gether calls for Cas­ta­nia ”to re­in­force its im­pact. “Cas­ta­nia’s re­cent ads are tied to spe­cial oc­ca­sions par­tic­u­larly be­cause this plat­form al­lows it to. An­other an­gle we con­sider to be key in cre­at­ing suc­cess­ful real-time mar­ket­ing is the re­liance on cul­tural in­sights that are rel­e­vant to the masses in or­der to cre­ate re­lat­able and suc­cess­ful sto­ries,” Masri ex­plained.

“When you’re a mar­ket leader and a pioneer in your dis­tri­bu­tion na­tion­ally, it is strate­gi­cally sound to switch from prod­uct ori­ented com­mu­ni­ca­tion to a more sto­ry­telling ap­proach, es­pe­cially given the brand prom­ise we adopted re­cently, and in fact this switch has ce­mented Cas­ta­nia as a brand im­mersed in lo­cal cul­ture.”

And while it wasn’t par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing for Cas­ta­nia to break out of the norm of fo­cus­ing on the prod­uct it­self and ven­ture into cre­at­ing au­di­ence-cen­tric sce­nar­ios that re­in­force its un­der­ly­ing val­ues, the chal­lenge now is to keep it cur­rent and rel­e­vant in a way to keep sur­pris­ing peo­ple.

“The au­di­ence’s re­sponse has been very wel­com­ing, es­pe­cially that all the ads we’ve pro­duced in­cluded highly re­lat­able cul­tural in­sights. For ex­am­ple, Ma teshb30 bzourat jeye el2akel” (don’t fill your stom­ach with nuts, the food is on its way) is a very com­mon phrase that all moth­ers and aunts say at ev­ery fam­ily lunch or din­ner, and more no­tably on Christ­mas Eve,” Masri added.

“So ob­vi­ously, we be­lieve this is the way to go for brands be­cause they are re­quired to bet­ter ar­tic­u­late what they stand for and what they are about in a way that stands out from the clut­ter of con­tent that gets dif­fused on­line.”

Since con­sumers nowa­days are brand ori­ented, we are fo­cus­ing on re­in­forc­ing the brand im­age into the mind of con­sumers not just to be their fa­vorite nuts but rather their loved brand. Peter Daniel CEO of Cas­ta­nia Nuts When you’re a mar­ket leader and a pioneer in your dis­tri­bu­tion na­tion­ally, it is strate­gi­cally sound to switch from prod­uct ori­ented com­mu­ni­ca­tion to a more sto­ry­telling ap­proach, es­pe­cially given the brand prom­ise we adopted re­cently, and in fact this switch has ce­mented Cas­ta­nia as a brand im­mersed in lo­cal cul­ture. Nathalie Masri Op­er­a­tion Uni­corn Co-founder and Cre­ative Di­rec­tor

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