GLOBAL MARKETING OVERVIEW

The California Prune Board focuses on driving global demand for California Prunes by building top-of-mind awareness among consumers, the trade, and health care professionals. While we continuously do this work here at home in the domestic marketplace, we also identify markets worldwide to grow the demand for California Prunes and strive for premium pricing. The communication and marketing teams across the globe develop and execute marketing campaigns that target these key audiences and provide the greatest return on investment.

In 2018/19, California Prunes was granted $2.91 million in Market Access Program (MAP) funding as supported by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The program included funding for branded marketing strategies of processors contributing at least 50% of the total cost of the advertising and promotion of their brands. MAP funds also support prunes (NC and pitted), juice and derivative promotion (concentrate, purée, paste, extract, diced, powder).

The CPB continues to earn a “highly effective” rating from FAS in its role as a MAP participant.

Global Marketing

MEASURING SUCCESS

The California Prune Board launched a comprehensive initiative to bring enhanced measurement alignment in both domestic and international markets. The goal of the effort was to create greater consistency via a strategic, holistic approach that:
• Highlighted the performance of communications and marketing based on inputs from the various markets and regions
• Measured the outputs and outcomes of marketing and communications activities on business goals, including increased consumption of California Prunes
• Leveraged data-driven analysis to inform ongoing strategy and activities Highlights from the year-end measurement report are included here.

Read More. 

Global Marketing

EMERGING MARKETS

The CPB looked toward several emerging markets for future exports including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Research found that 2018/19 was a strong year for prune sales in the United Arab Emirates, with 1.451 MT, the highest volume over the last five years. In FY 2018/19, CPB started consumer focus groups to gather additional knowledge of the market potential and plans to build further brand awareness through trade shows including Gulfood 2020, INC 2020, and dedicated trade advertising efforts.

United States

Global Marketing

Armed with market research indicating the lack of top of-mind awareness is a significant barrier for California Prunes in the United States. The 2018-2019 domestic program delivered steady “reminders” and enhanced visibility about the amazing taste, versatility, and nutrition of this one-of-a-kind fruit. Via an integrated approach, the program equipped highly credible, well-connected third parties – such as social media influencers, registered dietitians (RDs) and chefs – to help ignite the conversation about the many wonders of California Prunes.

Learn more here.

MARKET SUMMARY

Reaching: Consumers, Health Care Professionals,
Foodservice/Culinary and Trade

Public Relations | Advertising | Social Media

Activity Overview

Global Marketing

The California Prunes Experience:
Harnessing the substantial reach, power and popularity of social media influencers, CPB partnered with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and California Prune growers themselves to create an immersive event – literally from tree-to-table – that inspired top-quality photos, recipes, usage tips, videos and more in praise of California Prunes.

Global Marketing

Pairing Potential:
Focused on building media relationships and paving the way for future coverage, the CPB met with editors at Meredith Corporation in its famed Des Moines test kitchens to showcase the remarkable flavor pairing potential of California Prunes along with the expert craftsmanship that goes into each and every piece of fruit.

Global Marketing

Inspiration for Preparation:

Engaged with foodservice editors at the International Foodservice Editorial Conference (IFEC) to inspire use of California Prunes in foodservice applications, while partnering with Chef’s Roll – a global social media network for chefs – the CPB created dynamic new videos illustrating the vast culinary potential of California Prunes

Global Marketing

Nutrition in the News:

The CPB assembled a best-in-class team of RDs to shine the nutrition spotlight on the digestive and bone health benefits of California Prunes, translating into coverage in high-profile outlets such as Prevention, Reader’s Digest.com, Livestrong.com, as well as numerous major-market broadcast segments.

European Union

Global Marketing

The EU is our largest export market and remains essential to defend our market share in this region. Prunes have been an established part of European diet for generations. In fact, California Prunes derive from the French d’Agen variety. Our challenge is to communicate the premium quality of California Prunes against lower-priced imports from other origins.

Learn more here.

MARKET SUMMARY

Reaching: Trade, Consumers, Health Care Professionals

Public Relations | Advertising | Social Media

Activity Overview

Global Marketing

Partnering with the Best Italian Chefs:

The CPB teamed up with the Association of Italian Chefs, each member being renowned for their cuisine in high-end restaurants. We combined California Prunes with other premium quality ingredients, to produce dishes that showcase the fruit’s versatility and taste.

Global Marketing

Reaching Health-conscious Consumers:

We brought California Prunes to health-conscious consumers at the Italian “Rimini Wellness” event. Through advertising, sampling and cooking demonstrations with our chocolatier, chefs, health and fitness influencers, we highlighted the health benefits and delicious taste of California Prunes.

Global Marketing

Enthusing the Trade with Delicious Food Pairings:

CPB teamed up with a celebrity chef to inspire trade contacts with innovative pairings of California Prunes with a range of delicious sweet and savory complementary ingredients.

Global Marketing

Year-round Influence:

Over 50 million consumers were reached this year through high-profile sampling activity at health events, year-round media coverage on radio, in traditional press, and through social media platforms. Opinion-leading influencers were carefully selected to add weight to our message.

Canada

Global Marketing

Canada is the third-largest market, in terms of both volume and value, for California Prunes; however, exports of Chilean prunes are
increasing. To protect and grow its Canadian market position, efforts were focused on building preference for California Prunes by differentiating their superiority.

Learn more here. 

MARKET SUMMARY

Reaching: Trade, Consumers, Health Care Professionals

Public Relations | Advertising | Social Media

Activity Overview

Global Marketing

Premium Pairings:

To convey the premium status and versatility of California Prunes, an advertorial was secured in Food & Drink, one of Canada’s leading magazines. A collaboration with notable Canadian Sommelier Allison Vidug paired a delicious California Prune recipe with a California Zinfandel. The branded advertorial achieved more than 2 million impressions.

Global Marketing

Television Coverage:

Part of the media relations strategy included 10 television segments showcasing California Prunes. During the segments, nutrition or food-focused spokespeople shared the health benefits and versatility attributes of California Prunes. The broadcast opportunities contributed to the Canadian media program, achieving more than 55 million impressions with more than 55% of content referencing
California Prunes.

Global Marketing

Reaching Canadian Women:

To reach its target audience, the CPB exhibited at the Toronto National Women’s Show where more than 35,000 millennial women gathered. Canada’s California Prune dietitian ambassador, Cara Rosenbloom, led an educational culinary demonstration, creating a Balsamic Roasted Beet and Prune Salad. During the three-day show, 5,000 samples of California Prunes and 2,500 informational tip cards were disseminated.

Japan

Global Marketing

Japan has long been California Prunes’ largest single export market, where consumers prefer the larger size premium fruit. To boost consumption, the CPB put into action new promotional activities to drive top-of-mind awareness, putting California Prunes in the context of a healthy lifestyle.

MARKET SUMMARY

Reaching: Consumers, Trade, Food Professionals

Public Relations | Advertising | POS | Social Media

Activity Overview

Global Marketing

Experiencing the Culture of California Prunes:

In August 2018, three Japanese brand ambassadors visited California Prune orchards to meet the growers and experience the California Prune lifestyle, resulting in media coverage about their journey. The Japanese Brand Ambassadors’ visit to California was made into digital signage adverting and placed in commuter trains in Tokyo in November 2018 and March 2019, and station concourses in Osaka in March 2019.

Global Marketing

Gastronomy & Fitness Ambassadors:

UK Brand Ambassador Paul A. Young visited Japan and showcased California Prunes’ versatility towards 73 trade members, food professionals, and avid baking and cooking fans at the second California Prune Premium Sweet Seminar. Brand Ambassador and yoga expert Aya shared her experience with California Prunes on Instagram, earning 935 likes.

Global Marketing

Reaching Japanese Yoga Fans

Brand Ambassador Aya introduced her California Prune lifestyle throughout the year. She was frequently interviewed by the media and in her piece with the Yogini, a bimonthly health and fitness magazine targeting yoga fans with a circulation of 40,000, Aya noted that eating 3 to 5 California Prunes in place of sweets had become part of her daily life to stay healthy and keep her shape.

China/Hong Kong

Global Marketing

CPB saw the escalating tariff war impacting our exports to China/Hong Kong in 2018/19. It is important to see these declines in context. 2017/18 was a significant export year for California Prunes and so the decrease shown in 2018/19, albeit dramatic due to the tariffs, are still comparable to the 2016/17 total exports (prior to the tariff year), illustrating there is still headroom for more exports in this previously growing market. China’s overall market size and demand — fueled by the growth of Tier II and III cities, rising income levels, and lifestyle changes for citizens that embrace exercise and healthier foods — provide future opportunity for our product.

MARKET SUMMARY

Reaching: Consumers, Trade, Health Care Professionals

Public Relations | Advertising | POS | Social Media

Activity Overview

Global Marketing

Reinforcing the California Difference:

CPB continued to strengthen relationships with the trade to build confidence and sustain loyalty towards California Prunes in the market. The message to the trade was focused on reinforcing the high quality of California Prunes and differentiation from other competitors.

Global Marketing

In-Store Promotions:

With the rise of upper-middle-class consumers and a new generation of affluent Chinese consumers, there is more interest in “all natural” and more nutritious foods. Consumers were introduced to the premium quality, versatility and nutritional benefits of California Prunes through sampling and collateral, delivering our key messages at major retailers for a two-week promotion. While boosting sales, the promotion has also kept California Prunes visible on shelves, demonstrating CPB’s eagerness to provide critical support in this otherwise challenging trade environment.

South Korea

Global Marketing

Since the launch five years ago, California Prune exports have grown incrementally in South Korea and there is evidence that this market has an appetite for the premium pricing and consistently high quality of California Prunes. Our focus is on educating consumers about the health benefits and promoting culinary usage and product applications to trade customers.

MARKET SUMMARY

Reaching: Trade, Consumers, Health Care Professionals

Public Relations | Advertising | Social Media

Activity Overview

Global Marketing

Reaching Younger Consumers in the Digital Space:

As the top-tier target audience, consumers ages 20-49 with an active and healthy lifestyle, the CPB used social media platforms such as Facebook to increase new fans and leveraged a tie-in with three leading e-commerce players — Kakao, T-Mon and WeMakePrice — to increase sales of California Prune products by 240%.

Global Marketing

An Aging Population:

Targeting consumers over 50, CPB delivered health messages of California Prunes through two highly influential health talk show programs on TV, reaching more than 2.5 million people. As a result, the term “prune” appeared on the biggest portal site, Naver, being ranked among the top 10 keywords searches on the airing date. In addition,  a sampling event was done at a golf resort, delivering the bone health message and the golf clubhouse then added California Prunes to its snack offerings.

Global Marketing

California Prunes on the Menu:

Working with food manufacturers and foodservice players to encourage additional use of California Prune products and menus. CPB Korea collaborated with premium pâtisserie dessert shop chain, The Ménagerie, to include California Prunes in several products. The products were incorporated into a tie-in promotion with Hanhwa Hotel & Resort, a major hospitality business group, which introduced the menu items at its annual Wine Market Place event.