Consumer awareness of U.S. red meat is growing as digital marketing efforts reach millions of international consumers through extended promotional campaigns. Consumer-direct campaigns also facilitate the development of new partnerships with importers and distributors in export markets. Extended digital campaigns took place through the summer in Japan, China and Singapore, which were developed to capitalize on marketing strategies unique to each market.
In China, more than 2 million consumers were reached during promotional events for U.S. beef that spanned several holidays over three months. USMEF partnered with Wow Prime, one of the largest foodservice groups in China, to feature U.S. beef cuts in its online store at JD.com, China’s largest online retailer. With funding from the Beef Checkoff Program, the effort included banner ads, optimization of shopping and search recommendations and team leader incentives for buyer groups on JD.com’s app.
“We are working to increase consumer awareness of grain-fed U.S. beef on top social media and e-commerce sites,” says Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China. “The campaign was also a success for our importer partners as sales volumes increased 58% year-over-year.”
In Japan, USMEF utilized 100 Japanese influencers to reach 12 million consumers during a six-month campaign to position U.S pork as a “center-of-the plate” meal option.
Through Instagram, which is one of the best social media platforms for food visuals in Japan, the influencers emphasized the quality and versatility of U.S. pork loins including thick-cut, block-cut and thin-sliced cuts. Unique meals were developed for special occasions such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, at-home barbecuing and Day of the Ox. Funding from USDA’s Market Access Program, National Pork Board and Nebraska Soybean Board supported the campaign.
Online “word-of-mouth” is very effective in Japan as consumers often base decisions on what experts say or the trends being set by influencers.
“The influencers focused on the superior flavor of U.S. pork, which is better revealed through recipes that feature thick cuts of pork,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF director in Japan.
In Singapore, USMEF initiated an All-American Meat Fest for two months on Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce platform. With funding support from the Beef Checkoff Program and National Pork Board, USMEF partnered with nine importers during the promotion which featured several U.S. beef and pork cuts.
“We’re working to increase the presence and availability of U.S. beef and pork through online channels in Singapore,” says Sabrina Yin, USMEF-ASEAN regional director. “We are also developing new partnerships with large importers who used to specialize in serving the foodservice sector. These importers are now looking to reach consumers directly and we are making sure that U.S. beef and pork are a part of their online sales plans.”