Branding & Marketing for Big Box Grill Manufacturer
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2016 - Today
Elevating A Product Company Into A BBQ Grill Brand People Know and Love
Prior to engaging with Magnetic, Nexgrill had been carving its way into major U.S. retail aisles as a value brand heavily focused on product. While the gas grilling brand was generating gradual success on its own, the leadership team was ready to take the next step, and elevate Nexgrill as a household brand name in the outdoor cooking space.
For decades, the U.S. grilling and outdoor cooking market had been dominated by long-time titans, Weber and Charbroil. What you learn by studying these brands is that grilling (or grilling advertising) hasn’t really changed that much in ages. It’s all backyards, burgers, sizzle, and America. And while success still meant incorporating those elements, we uncovered an opportunity to position Nexgrill in the fluid landscape of U.S. food culture.
Gather Round Flavor Scouts And Tastemakers
With roughly 60 people on hand, this brand workshop with Nexgrill was easily the largest in our history. We heard from employees who were ready to change, were passionate about the company but wanted to challenge the grilling landscape. And at its core, that’s where the threads of brand strategy began to form. We discussed how food culture is always changing, yet grilling (or at least how grills are marketed) are a sea of sameness: dudes in backyards, high-fivin’ and grippin’ tongs with a burgers or steaks on the grill.
Everyone in the room that day agreed that grilling is so much more than what is is being portrayed. What we see, experience, grill and share is so much more interesting. We all felt the need to choose a different path. They were hungry for change.
Claiming Our Seat By The Fire
Returning from the findings presentation and our workshop with the Nexgrill team, we came back to the office fired up with ideas. The kindling was lit and you could feel the warm glow of big ideas flowing from everyone as we began to re-invent the Nexgrill brand. Could we really challenge the powers that grill for more market share? We'd see, but all we knew was this was the beginning of something special.
After a series of ongoing outdoor BBQ brainstorms, late nights and plenty of meat sweats, what surfaced were three critical insights that steered the weeks to follow:
- Grilling = America. The nostalgia, the togetherness and the food have culminated in a backyard culture that feels quintessentially American. How do we tap into that classic feeling while feeding a food culture that’s ever-changing?
- Influence Creates Demand. The proliferation of online reviews, influencers and recommendations means consumers are more educated than ever. How could we leverage digital content and conversations to guide people towards Nexgrill both online and in stores?
- Food With A Story Just Tastes Better. It’s true. Whether it’s the legend behind grandma’s cobbler or the tale of the fish you wrestled in the boat at the lake last summer, when food comes with a story, there’s something intangible about it. So how do we tell stories that may not always start at the grill, but always end up there?
Discovering Our Rally Cry
Now was time to create separation by broadening the traditional perspective of grilling. Nexgrill was ready. We were ready. The market was ready.
It was during a conversation with a Nexgrill product expert as he explained how versatile some of the grills were, you could really let you grill whatever you want that started to reasonate with us. With the ability to cook virtually anything, and a hunger to explore something new, Nexgrill is about more than feeding your family. It also feeds your curiosity for food, your culture, your desire to connect and share it with others, your love for trying something new, and in a sense, discovering a place you belong. And with those magical little nuggets of insight, we arrived at Nexgrill’s new rally cry and tagline: Hungry For Different.
Creative Development — Designing A Visual Aesthetic That Inspires Grilling Off The Beaten Path
Bringing Nexgrill’s True North to life meant cooking from scratch. It started with designing a new visual aesthetic that we could apply across every brand touchpoint, from retail shelves to video content to a totally reimagined website. What resulted is a brand that’s far greater than the sum of its parts.
Among other elements, the distinctive red line is a major component of Nexgrill’s design language. It symbolizes the brand drawing our line in the sand – that from this point forward, we’ll no long portray grilling as the same old burgers and dogs we’ve grown accustomed to. With that we set out to re-define the backyard, who's in it and what they've got grillin'.
Establishing A New Narrative For Nexgrill
During the brand strategy we focused on creating a new narrative to tell the story of the brand we're aspiring to be. Usually that comes to fruition in the form of a brand video. This was a big step for a product brand to step out of their comfort zone and focus on the emotion of why we grill and the part we play in delivering a critical component for consumers.
With Nexgrill at the centerpoint of every grilling experience, we realized what we represented was much bigger than us or any other grill brand out there. So we lit what we called "the fire that attracts" with the sole purpose of fullfilling humankind's need for acceptance and belonging. We needed to make a statement and put the world on notice that Nexgrill has arrived.
With so much riding on a video of this magnitude, we pulled out all the stops, coordinating a massive production of talent, gear, food, location, and a grill culture that conveyed what “Hungry for Different” really means.
We're A Long Way From The Back Yard
Nexgrill prides themselves in being good partners and supporting its retail partners with informative content, which meant developing aspirational lifestyle videos, adventurous recipes and product videos for every grill in its lineup. And we delivered beyond expectations. Retail partners like Home Depot and Costco were all too happy to incorporate all this new video content on their websites for their customers.
Taking it one step further, we needed to deliver on our promise of "Hungry For Different" so we developed a branded content series of called - "Beyond The Flame". It was time to look beyond the typical backyard where grilling has been confined to for years. We set out to curate human stories about real people from all walks of life that shared the lives of these charismatic adventurers, chefs and influencers. Stories of real people pursuing their passions, exploring unfamiliar territory, and bringing their inspirations back to the grill.
Recipes To Inspire And Delight The Tastebuds
Who doesn't love a good recipe? We're all constantly searching through pinterest hunting down that next dish to impress friends or family. So, we set out to create our own amazing new recipes with a twist and blended them with a great story... after all food with a story taste better right? We made all these recipes ourselves and captured photography assets to share in social, on the website and as part of the "Beyond The Flame" series. So all you daredevils with tongs, it's time to fire up the grill and join us on a flavor adventure that'll leave your mouth watering.
A Digital Experience With All New Ingredients
We knew the website experience needed to be special. When we imagined what could help Nexgrill.com make a big statement online, we began with two client goals:
- Establish an ecommerce site that can feed visitors to Nexgrill’s retail channels to purchase.
- Introduce and embody the “Hungry for Different” mentality.
The path forward began to crystallize. Time to cook up a fresh new recipe for the website and with all of our new favorite ingredients. What happened after was one of Magnetic’s most impressive digtial collaborations to date. We combined the collective brainpower from all facets of our team - strategy, creative, video, copy, content, web development, search and social.
The result was as delectable as a pefectly seared ribeye on a Sunday aftenoon. Nexgrill.com would become a modern, inspiring, all-in-one community for grilling culture. And if that weren’t enough, we globalized the site into 14 different languages to make the brand accessible all over the world.
Social Media Engagement
Starting with almost no social media community, Magnetic worked with Nexgrill’s customer service and social media leads to establish a complete social presence across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter. Our goal was twofold: 1) Grow Nexgrill’s social followers, and 2) repair and elevate a fractured online reputation.
We published stories, recipes, and grill tips to grow the brand’s community, and cross-pollinated them with PPC and paid placements to invite more taste makers to our table.
Today, we continue supplying monthly social content to each channel, managing Nexgrill’s entire social calendar, tying posts back to buyer personas, and feeding our communities with fresh, tasty, timely content.
Event Activation - The Best Way To Make Friends Is To Grill For Them
Part of the fun of working with a grill brand is how many clusters of culture you can reach. To march out Nexgrill’s brand beyond the backyard, we sought out events where Nexgrill can showcase its products and engage face-to-face with grillers of all variety.
We designed, coordinated, managed, and manned several events on behalf of Nexgrill, including a Spartan Race in Big Bear, the Mammouth Villagefest Music & BBQ Festival, the American Cornhole League Championships in Coney Island, and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
With a year of development and maturation, Nexgrill’s brand was targeted for strategic partnership by the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. As official grill sponsor, Nexgrill would align its brand with America’s #1 rated sport, and Magnetic would roll out a full-on fan engagement playbook including a pre-game many a tailgate extravaganza to remember.
We built a site for Jaguars-themed Nexgrill. We even traveled to Jacksonville to give away custom-branded grills with the Nexgrill team. And it was all surrounded with social media content. Instagram stories, Facebook videos, promotional giveaways, the whole 9 yards.
Search Marketing Optimization
Prior to partnering with MAG, if you searched “Nexgrill”, the website barely ranked on page 1 of Google. After digging deeper into their site, we uncovered opportunities for Nexgrill to rank highly across the entire grilling category.
Today, not only does its brand name rank #1 when searched, but Nexgrill is also ranking highly for category terms, grill tips, accessories, grill recipes, and many other lifestyle terms associated with grilling culture.
A Few Impressive Results
This Recipe Is Still Being Perfected
Combining brand strategy, creative development, and digital engagement, Magnetic guided Nexgrill from a price/value grill company to a brand-first organization, positioned to sell, engage and delight on a global scale.
We’re thrilled to share how this brand has come to life during our partnership with Nexgrill and we're delighted to share in their success. The trust shown between client and branding agency has been one of the major joys of our professional tenure, and we can’t wait to continue on this adventure with the Nexgrill brand.
- Research & Discovery
- Brand Development
- Brand Strategy
- Creative Strategy
- Creative Development
- Asset Creation
- Video Production
- Analysis & Definition
- Marketing Strategy
- Campaign Execution
- Measure, Report & Iterate