The TikTok case: How food brand Cookie Bros multiplied sales with young influencers
Cookie Bros – a ready-to-eat cookie dough snack - is a young German start-up with an incredible success story and products with an addictive factor. Cookie dough without egg to simply snack on sounds like a dream, but since 2017, it has become reality. We talked to Co-founder and CMO Mark Mühürcüoglu and asked him about the latest success story of the start-up: the incredible development of an almost unnoticed TikTok campaign.
Mark, for a lot of companies, TikTok is still a rather unused social media platform. How did you discover TikTok for your food brand and what were your expectations when you approached the platform? "I used to be a social media manager myself, so I knew TikTok right from the start, even when it was still called Musically. But in the beginning, many artists or influencers migrated from the platform and initially focused more on Instagram, so TikTok was not interesting for me for my own marketing, as I didn't think it was relevant.
With Cookie Bros, we've been working intensively with blogger samplings since the end of 2019, because we like to try different things and see if they have an effect. We sent out test packages and used them to sample the TikTok community, among others, and just wanted to see what would happen. The expectations were actually zero. But then all of a sudden the whole thing worked really well and the TikTok users reacted incredibly well to our products, so we realised: "There seems to be quite some potential here after all."
What did your approach on TikTok look like in concrete terms? "We didn't do anything particularly unusual, but answered the most frequently asked questions, such as "where can we buy the products" or "which flavors do you have"? We did this in videos of course, according to the way it is usual on the platform. We also used the bloggers as testimonials and spread our message via them. We sampled so much that the customers almost couldn't get past us, and it totally worked." Which (fnancial) outcome did you achieve with your campaign? "The reach that we were able to achieve on TikTok in a very short time of only about 4 months really blew us away - we now have about 60k fans and customers on the platform. The users there are not "only" followers for us, but real fans and loyal customers, we can see that in the sales figures. We were able to address a completely new target group, which we never thought was relevant for us before (because there is supposedly no buying power and no buying decision - but we were wrong). The young TikTok users have practically overrun the food retailers and wanted to buy us everywhere because the product was so hyped. Through this huge B2C reach, we were able to convince not only the consumers themselves, but also retail, because people were constantly asking for our Cookie Bros products and we got the calls and listing requests free of charge - so you could say that the TikTok users have actually taken over our sales job. In a very short time, our listings have climbed from about 1,000 to about 8-10,000 stores, which of course brings an enormous and sustainable sales uplift - at the beginning about a sixty-fold increase in our production! And fortunately we also see that the shelf rotation is good and that people continue to buy us, so the listings remain in place for the long term and we are now selling our products in a six-figure sales range monthly."
What can you recommend to other food brands that want to try TikTok? "I can only recommend (and this doesn't only apply to TikTok) not to kill any tool or channel without having tried it. A statement like "TikTok doesn't fit our needs" doesn't help, you should test it first and several times before you take such a statement for granted. But it is very important to always get involved with the target group that is already present on the respective channel.
You have to try to convince the target group of your product in a way that suits them. It is not the target group that has to adapt to the general conditions of the brand, but vice versa. The content that you play on TikTok must really interest the teenagers who are on there and it has to be relevant for them, otherwise it's all useless."
Interview held by Katharina Wagner, General Manager of SPOONFUL Food + Beverage Marketing.