Popcorn is one of the few products in Germany that is not ready packed in 20 flavors in the supermarket. Quite different in the UK or the US. And from there, the founders of pop popcorn have also imported their idea. Whether the product and the online shop can prevail in Germany? That’s exactly what LEAD asked Sarah Mittiga, Head of Sales & Marketing at Popkornditorei Knalle in Berlin.
LEAD: Popcorn that’s cinema! How in the world do you expect to distribute Popcorn online?
Sarah Mittiga: Our founder Lucie, who worked for a long time as a patissier in the luxury hotel business, has set up her own business and opened a café. Christopher, the second founder, was a regular guest there. He has been traveling a lot in the US and UK. There he saw that popcorn is sold in the supermarket as usual. And he asked if Lucie did not even want to try that for her cafe. She then experimented diligently and placed herself with the result in the market hall 9 in Berlin. After a short time, all popcorn was sold out. And the idea of becoming independent with the sale of luxury popcorn came to fruition.
LEAD: Being self-employed means for a lot of people to collect money and find investors. How do you see that with pop popcorn?
Sarah: If you have money in the background, you can try more. We are very careful here – especially with sponsoring requests. We mostly dismiss everything because we believe that this does not really bring us the breakthrough. With investors behind you, you can just try more in marketing. But if you have the right experts together, you can do it without venture capital.
LEAD: How did you do it?
Sarah: In 2016, the KaDeWe discovered us at the Berlin Food Week. The KaDeWe is well known for its extraordinary specialties and since last year we have a shop there in the shop. And we try to expand this concept further. Later we were discovered in the KaDeWe by Breuninger. The department store has specialized in high-quality food as well as selling fashion. At Breuninger in Stuttgart, we are now in person in their shop three to four days a week, at Breuninger in Freiburg on Friday and Saturday.
LEAD: What significance do these cooperations have for you with the offline trade – ie with real shops?
Sarah: We need the interaction between offline trading on the one hand and online shop on the other. We want to convince with extraordinary popcorn varieties. But you can not replace this on-site tasting moment online. Because our popcorn plays with the tongue – on sweet follows salty, then spicy. Only the tongue feels the fine enamel and then penetrates to a crunchiness, which makes just star cuisine – this taste experience must experience the customer simply. Online is then rather there to provide for the replenishment. But one thing does not work without the other.
LEAD: What does your clientele look like?
Sarah: Popcorn is cinema for us. Pop is opera. You treat yourself something. We like to talk about modern snacking. Our customer does not want the standard chips from the supermarket. He wants something good, something special. Our target group is currently 65 percent female and between 22-50 years old. And we also have corporate clients. Companies like Xing or Porsche buy our products, for example, for their customer events. And hotels and bars are also very interested. One of our next steps will therefore be to separate the B2C shop and the B2B shop, because B2B customers simply have very different requirements. Keyword: pack sizes. Keyword Rights Management (Who is allowed to order, does the boss need to approve the order, company discounts, etc.).
LEAD: As marketing channels, you rely on shop-in-shop concepts in large department stores and on your online shop. What role does social media play?
Sarah: We do a lot on Facebook and Instagram. And we experiment with the shopping function on Instagram. Instagram is not an alternative to the webshop for us. We think Instagram should remain an information and inspiration platform. There we play our products several times. But of course we do not always show the shopping symbol, because we do not want to sell intrusive, we want to inspire on Instagram above all else. But of course, the buy button on Instagram is very chic, because the purchase decision process is shortened considerably.
LEAD: Are you also cooperating?
Sarah: Yes. In the past we already had cooperations with Veuve Clicquot, Hugo Boss and the cookhouse. The cooperation only has to fit thematically. In the cookhouse our popcorn was used as part of a dessert. And in January there will be another bang dessert in the cookhouse.
LEAD: Shop, Cooperations, Instagram, Webshop: What is the most important channel for you?
Sarah: Most important to us is Word of Mouth. We rely on loyal customers. Because we only have a small marketing budget. And referral marketing is just an extremely cheap channel. Fortunately, because of our product, we have very low costs on Facebook and at the same time have very good engagement rates. Even though we only have 3,000 followers so far. We like to stay in direct dialogue with our customers: we ask you e.g. Whether you liked a new recipe or which ingredients you want.
LEAD: What are your current marketing goals?
Sarah: building awareness and reach. This works well with sweepstakes. We get an average of 100-200 new followers per competition. What we do not want: bought followers. We grow organically.
LEAD: How do you feel about Content Marketing? We noticed that you do not have a blog.
Sarah: We are currently working on the relaunch of our website. For 2019 we also plan a blog. Here we would like to tell more about the people behind bangs as well as delicious recipes. We took the old blog off the net because of the DSGVO. Our blog should inspire and show the faces of the company.
LEAD: How do you basically build a marketing campaign – e.g. for a new caramel popcorn? Is your brand development (brand Knalle!) Or performance (sale of caramel popcorn) in the foreground? Or maybe you are pursuing both goals in parallel? If so, on which channels?
Sarah: We follow both goals in parallel. Each variety has to fit the brand and is presented to the customer in our style. We usually test new varieties as seasonal products. If the variety performs well, the variety is taken over – that happened the other day with the variety Tonka bean coconut (vegan).
LEAD: We wish you every success with the concept. And hope that there will soon be the opportunity to taste you nationwide.
Strong marketing for strong brands
Digitalization should bring growth, but not just for the big players. The middle class also uses this opportunity for itself. Only how, is the question. For example, how does Sport Schuster act in terms of marketing? The LEAD Bookazine 3/2018 shows how small and medium-sized businesses shape marketing in the digital age. Customer needs and own values - that’s why it should work.