What Love Seafood achieved in its first 12 months

Our Head of Marketing shares insights from evaluation of how Love Seafood consumer marketing activity performed during the brand’s first year.

We’ve been monitoring the performance of our Love Seafood activity since October 2020. We track this through quarterly reports compiled internally by our Marketing team and externally by the agencies we work with. We’ve now pulled the data and insight together to assess how the activity performed in its first year.

Love seafood fish in foodservice campaign graphic - photo of fish tacos with text 'Top notch - simply fabulous, the fish tacos were my fave'
We celebrated fish in seafood restaurants as part of our summer of feel good food

Timeline, activity and measures

This reporting includes live activity from October 2020 to September 2021. During this timeframe we delivered:

  • The brand launch and ‘Love Seafood Social’ online festival in October 2020
  • A national, media-focused spring campaign featuring UK species of fish and shellfish
  • A ‘summer of feel-good food’ with cross-channel campaigns celebrating scampi, fish and chips and seafood restaurants
  • Recipe booklets, posters and business masterclasses – all delivered to support trade in 2021 and beyond
  • And a constant drum beat of ‘always-on’ generic Love Seafood activity, across multiple channels for 365 days!

We report against both longer-term objectives and short-term tactical indicators. This ‘long and short’ approach helps us work holistically towards Love Seafood’s strategic vision.  Our three, longer-term objectives are:

  1. Drive awareness of Love Seafood brand and activity
  2. Drive consumer understanding of ‘reasons to buy’ (balanced living, choice and convenience)
  3. Drive consumer consideration and desire to eat more seafood, more often

Each of these objectives are supported by ‘hero metrics' and individual key performance indicators (KPIs) – our short-term tactical measures. We monitored these daily, via a data dashboard. We also check against standard channel measures, including media reach and content engagement. Our year one KPIs are benchmarked against previous Seafish consumer marketing activities and food and drink brand averages.

In addition, we use bespoke YouGov surveys to measure our brand tracking. They provide insight on longer-term attitudinal shifts, as and when they occur in relation to seafood consumption. We carried out surveys in September 2020, May 2021 and November 2021. We’ll continue to carry out brand tracking every six months during Love Seafood’s lifespan.

For each survey, we ask questions on four key areas:

  1. Food consumption in general – looking at consumption of certain food types over the past six months, and whether it has increased, decreased or stayed the same.
  2. Awareness of seafood brands in general – monitoring if consumers have heard of certain seafood brands.
  3. Frequency of seafood consumption – studying how often consumers eat seafood as a main meal, lunch or snack.
  4. General perception of seafood as a source of food – looking at whether consumers agree or disagree with perception-based statements about the value of seafood.

So, how did Love Seafood fare during year one? Here’s a broad, channel overview of what Love Seafood activity achieved in the first 12 months.

love Seafood fish and chips campaign graphic, features kid and adult with fish and chips and text 'fish and chips with a side of salty sea air'
A campaign on fish and chips was part of our summer of 'feel good food'

Reach and engagement performance

  • A combined, earned media reach of approximately 137 million.
  • More than 155,000 targeted consumers visited the Love Seafood website.
  • Our campaign activity featured over 535 times in national and regional press publications.
  • Over 580,000 people engaged with content via social media.

Performance indicators for objectives

Analysis for Objective 1 - ‘awareness’:

  • In general, activity underperformed against our awareness objective. We missed our hero metric benchmarks and exceeded 2 out of 6 KPIs.
  • The strongest area of performance was our organic social reach, which performed above benchmark across all quarters. This is positive news as we were unsure if continued success would be sustainable throughout the year.
  • Our poorest area of performance was our monthly website traffic, falling short of the benchmark – although, creeping towards it in the final quarter. Our ‘share of search’ also struggled, falling short of competitor brands like Love Pork and Love Lamb.

Analysis for Objective 2 - ‘understanding’:

  • Love Seafood activity performed consistently against our consumer understanding objective. We achieved one of our hero metrics and exceeded 4 out of 5 KPIs.
  • Our strongest area of performance was audience attention on the Love Seafood website. This consistently sat above the benchmark. It peaked in July during our ‘Summer of Feel-Good Food’ when we focused on fish and chips.
  • Our poorest area of performance was across our key messaging pull-through. Aside from ‘choice’ exceeding benchmark in Q3, our other key, brand messages (‘convenience’ and ‘balanced living’) failed to pull-through at rates expected.

Analysis for Objective 3 - ‘consideration’:

  • The first twelve months of activity performed very effectively against our consumer consideration objective. We achieved both hero metrics and exceeded 6.5 out of our 7 KPIs.
  • Our strongest area of performance was website referral rate from social media. Despite a dip in July this remained consistently above our benchmark. It was also our biggest drive of traffic across the site.
  • Our poorest area of performance was consumer engagement with a third-party retailer tool on the website. This underperformed for the first three months and only scraped our benchmark in the second three months. At the six-month mark we retired the tool and developed our own custom model - which outperformed the third party offering for the remainder of the year!
Love Seafood scampi campaign graphic, features plate of scampi with text 'Delicious scampi a kit approved classic'
Family favourite scampi was also featured in our summer of feel good food

Performance against brand tracking

This is where things are starting to get interesting. Our audience lifecycles, consumer behavioural trends and market insight suggest it’s wise to keep focusing on a generational shift in attitudes, to positively change perceptions of seafood. It’s important to remind ourselves that our strategic mandate is built on a 20-year plan to achieve this. However, we’re starting to see some incremental shifts – good and bad, which will inform our brand strategy for the next 3-5 years. 

Of the four main areas for focus, we’re seeing some small, but indicative shifts in attitude across all. We’re basing these changes on three waves of six-monthly consumer surveys. The positive and negative shifts across the four key areas are as follows:

  • Food consumption in general (positive) – Over the past 12 months, consumers are reporting a decrease in consumption of ALL animal proteins. Seafood is the least affected across all demographics combined.
  • Awareness of seafood brands in general (positive) – We saw a negligible brand awareness increase for Love Seafood in wave 2, vs. wave 1 at the six-month mark. However, it was encouraging to see a 5% overall increase between wave 1 and wave 3.
  • Frequency of seafood consumption (positive) – More people are telling us they’re eating seafood more often than once a week.
  • General perception of seafood as a source of food (negative) – ‘Value for money’, ‘choice’ and ‘convenience’ are key messages that don’t seem to be landing with our consumers when it comes to seafood. Alternatively, ‘balanced living’ (health messaging) is landing and being more frequently recalled by consumers.

What will we take away from this?

We’ve seen some interesting results across our longer-term objectives and Love Seafood brand tracking. Here’s a summary of our findings and next steps for year two onwards:

Longer-term objectives
It’s fair to say progress and success against the three, longer-term objectives have been a mixed bag. We’ve seen our weakest results under objective 1 – ‘driving awareness of the Love Seafood brand and activity’.

Given stimulation of brand awareness is such an important preliminary part of the consumer lifecycle, it’s clear this needs additional focus. It’s encouraging to see strong results for ‘understanding’ and ‘consideration’ (objectives 2 and 3), but we’ll struggle to keep feeding those parts of the traditional marketing funnel if we don’t capture the attention of the masses early on.

With a strong start in year one’s first two quarters, we’re also keen to ensure future success is spread throughout the activity year. This will give consumers a more consistent brand experience and build on an all-important frequency model.

Brand tracking
This one’s a game of two halves! Positive, upward shifts in brand recall shows that when our activity is seen, it resonates. So, we’d be wise to build on this – much in the same way we’d be wise to focus on and invest in activity under objective 1 (above). However, we need to make sure the right messages are landing. Negative, downward shifts in perception of seafood based on key messages mean we’ll need to simplify our approach.

What we’ll adjust, moving forward…
We’re keen to focus most of our short-term, tactical efforts on increasing awareness, without losing sight of our longer-term objectives. Year one results have helped us develop stronger, annual activity objectives, which in turn work hard to help us achieve the longer-term objectives.

To show tangible results both now and in the future, our strategy has evolved into three phases:

  • 1-year: Activity Objectives
  • 5-year: Strategic Brand Objectives
  • 20-year: Strategic Vision and Long-Term Goal

Our longer-term objectives around ‘awareness, understanding and consideration’ will sit under our 5-year plan. With ‘awareness’ as the key area of focus for year two. With this learning, we’ve determined further awareness-focused activity objectives for the next 12 months. These are as follows:

  1. To raise awareness of seafood via Love Seafood through a reach of 60 million across the target audience groups, by October 2022.
  2. To raise awareness through increased outputs, crafted for our core target audience groups in line with channel KPIs, by October 2022.
  3. To raise awareness of our Love Seafood brand pillars through consistent pull-through of at least one key message in 90% of content by October 2022.
  4. To raise awareness through increased visits and time spent on the Love Seafood website in line with channel KPIs by October 2022.

Each activity objective above will be supported by numerous, channel specific KPIs.

We’re confident this will help Love Seafood drive short-term impact, that builds long-term legacy. We’ll keep monitoring performance through regular dashboard and quarterly evaluation, and we’ll carry out our next brand tracking survey in May 2022.

On a personal note, I’m inspired and encouraged by what we’ve achieved in our first year. It’s been a monumental, collaborative effort from all involved. Thank you to our industry-led Love Seafood Group (LSG), who have helped craft and define our activity plans. Thanks to all the seafood businesses who gave up their time to become our Champions. Kudos to our agency partners, for creating such a vibrant brand experience. And a huge thank you to our Love Seafood team at Seafish, whose dedication knows no bounds.

Love seafood campaign graphic, features variety of fish and shellfish dishes with text 'Feel Good Food'
We celebrated UK species of fish and shellfish in our Spring 2021 campaign