CXO Series: Fresh Approach

How a commitment to continuous improvement drives HelloFresh’s marketing, branding and product development success.

HelloFresh’s distinctive lime brand color punctuates the visual landscape at the brand’s photo studio in Manhattan with green fruits, brightly colored kitchenware and more. In this strong visual expression of the brand, specifically on the HelloFresh film set in the new studio, Brand Experience interviewed Matthew Fitzgerald, vice president of marketing for HelloFresh, for our next CXO episode. On these pages is a preview of the interview, which will air in August.   

Fitzgerald has been with HelloFresh, far before the brand was a household name in the U.S. “When I joined we had about two people in marketing,” he recalls, “and today we’re probably about 60! We’ve been able to extend the range of skills at our U.S. team to include everything from a strong creative team and a ‘creative’ operations team to front-end and back-end engineers and media experts.  It’s remarkable the breadth of skills we have in house today! For example, our data science and business intelligence team members are able to provide comprehensive insight that drives performance.”  

Informed for market disruption  

HelloFresh SE was founded by Thomas Griesel and Dominik Richter in November 2011 in Berlin, and the group has offices around the world including New York, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Sydney and Toronto. The company prides itself not only for being a leading global provider of fresh food at home in multiple worldwide markets but for a powerful data-driven technology platform specifically designed to enable its global operations to disrupt the food supply chain and change the way people experience food from the shopping experience to preparation.  

kitchenGriesel’s and Richter’s leadership, says Fitzgerald, drives the group’s commitment to data for informing their development, design and marketing strategies. This commitment compels the entire executive team to look for best-in-class examples of testing and iteration across categories. “In a chat with one of our of executives, Netflix revealed that they could run up to 900 A/B tests a week because of how many people are engaging with the Netflix platform,” Fitzgerald explains.  

Inspired by Netflix, the HelloFresh U.S. team was charged with a mandate to empower innovation, which is why they created the Manhattan photography studio and in-house film set. Fitzgerald explains. “We want to be able to quickly produce photography and video for our app, website and advertising.” Quickly producing the content enables HelloFresh’s U.S. marketing team to run dozens of A/B tests on its website every month and regular tests of its marketing communications against revenue goals.

 

An evolving go-to market strategy  

HelloFresh’s marketing innovations go beyond testing which ad performs the best on social media or what commercial drives customer acquisition. “For the very first time, we’ve expanded into a retail environment,” Fitzgerald explains. “This latest evolution changes the product. It’s not a subscription. This is a grab-and-go solution for an impulse shopper, and it’s very complimentary to our core product.”  

The new retail offerings enable grocers to tap into innovations fueled by the more than 60,000 U.S. customer data points collected by HelloFresh per week. These insights delivered meal kit solutions, which includes recipes and ingredients for Peppercorn Steak, Chickpea Couscous, Paprika Chicken and more, endorsed as delicious by a broad consumer base.  

Fitzgerald’s team also worked and is working closely with its retail partners to understand the category. “It’s been a very collaborative and iterative process,” he says. “We’ve had to work through questions together, such as where is the right placement in the store, how do we implement benefit marketing in all the various signage? What type of branding will pop at the shelf, so we don’t blend in? Our retailers have been great partners because they’ve provided strong feedback throughout the preparation of the launch, and are staying close to the performance of the product live at shelf.  

One example Fitzgerald shared during our interview lies in how HelloFresh and its partners tested to solve the question of store placement. “We tried produce,” he says. “We’ve tried deli. We’ve tried being with the proteins. Where we’ve landed to launch is in deli because deli is an area where the retail staff was able to help answer questions or explain what this new product is.”  

Packaging to win at shelf

 

HelloFresh also beefed up its own design capabilities. “We have a very exciting new hire—our first creative director [Jodi Edwards] who is a very talented packaging designer and has vast experience in retail in addition to a number of other great skills and talents,” Fitzgerald notes. “She took our retail packaging to the next level. You see the new packaging uses wonderful, dynamic color to separate the different SKUs. It communicates quickly on shelf and stands out in the retail environment. People already associate HelloFresh with the green color, but this use of color creates boldness that brings the retail shopper in.p[ackage  

 “The new retail packaging is a great example of the capabilities we have today,” Fitzgerald explains. “That would have been a challenge a couple years ago, but today we can start with a very high-quality output based off of that evolution of the team and how we can execute.”  

Measuring success and prepping for the future

 

HelloFresh’s marketing suite has two centers of excellence. One, clearly, is brand marketing. The other is growth media. “In growth, we absolutely expect full revenue management as part of the channel manager’s mandate,” Fitzgerald says. “We have very empowered channel managers, who can evaluate the acquisition costs, the scalability of a channel, the payback period, the creative performance and the financial reconciliation, and they are expected to evaluate the performance of their channel across our very rigorous standards. They have to take into consideration the cost to acquire a customer and the payback period. Revenue is critical.  

“Our marketing team also needs the courage to pursue new product offerings,” he adds. “They can’t be afraid of failure. So we learn very quickly and apply those learnings to our next product initiative.”  

In Fitzgerald’s interview with Brand Experience, which airs at 2p.m. Eastern on August 2, 2018, he details two examples where the HelloFresh team was brave enough to experiment and quick to minimize risk by recognizing failure and using those failures to inform future products. This is in addition to discussing HelloFresh’s data-centric and iterative approach to brand and revenue marketing, which was previewed in this article; how HelloFresh is using acquisition, smart partnerships with both retail buyers and ingredient suppliers and brand extensions to lead in its market space; and how collaboration both within the U.S. teams and global entities moves the company as a whole and HelloFresh’s U.S. operations to success quickly. To register for this free broadcast of this CXO episode, visit bxpmagazine.com/cxo-Matt-Fitzgerald