Building buzz and saving bees: inside Bottle PR's campaign for Rowse Honey

Bottle PR won ‘Best Socially Responsible Initiative’ at The Drum Awards for Social Media in 2021 with its campaign for Rowse Honey. #FeedTheBees distilled the power of millennial influencers to remind a whole new audience to love its insect neighbors. Here, the team behind the entry explains how they built that buzz.

Rowse, the ‘bee-utiful honey’ brand, believe it’s important to do as much as they can to help protect and save the incredible honeybees. In September 2020, under their Hives for Lives program of vital initiatives, we activated a social-led campaign, partnering with influencers, to raise awareness of the dwindling wildflower population in the UK, and called upon the nation to find a patch, planter or pot and #FeedTheBees by signing up for free seed balls, via a dedicated campaign microsite.

We enlisted nine Instagram influencers, who had keen foodie or garden-loving millennial followers, to produce a series of Instagram stories and grid posts over a two week period to help spread the word and encourage their fans to buzz over to the campaign microsite to sign up for their free seed balls.

A flowerful bouquet of content was also shared on Rowse’s own Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. As well as a helpful hive of information, including how to guides (downloadable and video), published on the dedicated microsite. Ensuring the campaign ‘took-over’ the brands own digital channels during the 2-week period.

We exceeded the social reach and engagement goals for the campaign, driven significantly by the partner influencers. And some bonus results we didn’t expect were achieved too, including Instagram follower conversion and site traffic volume.

For the first iteration of this brand campaign, the awareness became action. Recognizing the desire for people to actually do something to the support bees and pollinators in the UK was the real winner.

Objectives and Budget

  • Brand Awareness – To reach over half-a-million ‘millennial mindset’ audience members active on Facebook and Instagram.

  • Engagement – To achieve 20,000 social engagements (likes, comments, shares, tagged user-generated content) across Rowse Facebook, Rowse Instagram and influencer partner’s Instagram channels.

  • Brand Activation – To drive traffic from social and secure 8,000 campaign sign-ups on the dedicated campaign microsite, resulting in 8,000 seed balls being sent to individuals.

  • Total Budget - £67,000

Target Audience And Strategy

Rowse has an existing ‘millennial mindset parent’ target audience group in the UK. Insight and social listening helped to form a persona that is aged between 25 and 39 and who are likely to have children aged between 3 and 12 years old. They make conscious efforts in their day-to-day activities and lifestyle choices; they have opinions on sustainability issues and they’re hyper connected on social. They engage with brands who teach them something new, add value and can make them smile. It was important for Rowse to expand the re-wilding conversation with this core group.

In order for the campaign to be seen and engaged with, it had to be visible in the online channels this ‘millennial mindset parent’ audience were actually active on daily. Following a platform review, the following channel mix was decided upon:

  • Influencers on Instagram – to tap into already engaged audiences and use the influencers authoritative voices to share the campaign key messages

  • Rowse’s own Facebook & Instagram social platforms – with a combination of boosted posts to existing followers, targeted paid ads to non-followers, and re-shares of the influencers content

  • A Dedicated Microsite – where the influencer partners (and Rowse) could direct social users to go to, to sign-up for free wildflowers seed balls, as well as utilize a hub of informative how-to guides

Creative and Implementation

The final nine influencer partners were divided into the following niche verticals to optimize the chance of the campaign being seen across the target audience’s different areas of interest when active on their social channels:

  • Playful Parents – including @thegeorgiaedit and @matildagoad

  • Foodies – including @alicefevronia and @rosiefoodie

  • Gardening Enthusiasts - including @arthurparkinson and @thehomegrowngardener

  • Plus, a Hero Influencer who had a strong presence on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube; as well as being a known, prime-time TV horticulturist @MrPlantGeek, was enlisted too

A flowerful banquet of content was created by the influencers in advance of the launch. All of this was used for the Rowse social channels and the dedicated campaign microsite too. Assets included:

  • An Emoji garden for Instagram stories – to seed the internet with digital blossoms

  • Photography of #FeedTheBees influencer hampers containing Rowse honey product and FTB wildflower seeds for Instagram stories and grid posts

  • Videos of influencers sowing their seeds at home, some with their children, for Instagram stories, grid posts and IGTV

  • And, specifically with the hero influencer (TV horticulturist Michael Perry);

  • ‘How to Sow’ and ‘How to Grow’ YouTube videos

  • ‘The Plant Geek’s Guide to Natural Gardening’

  • ’11 Delicious Wildflowers for Bees’

The live campaign ran for two weeks.

Results

After 14 days of the live campaign, the buzz was loud.

A campaign ‘reach to seeds’ conversion of 1% (8,000 / 680,000) was aimed for, but it actually achieved a conversion of 4% (23,000 / 548,000).

The results in detail are as follows:

Brand Awareness:

  • Paid social reach (FB & IG) – 197,000

  • Organic social reach (FB, IG & TW) – 84,000

  • Reach via IG influencer partnerships – 351,000

  • Total reach – 632,000

Engagement:

  • Rowse Facebook and Instagram total engagements (via paid & organic) – 19,800

  • Engagements on influencer partners posts (IG) – 21,900

  • Total engagements – 41,700 (against the KPI of 20,000)

Brand Activation:

A total of 23,000 sign-ups for free wildflower seed balls (against the KPI of 8,000). The target was smashed in the first 24 hours and so had a top-up order was placed in order to deliver more seed balls, to more followers for the remainder of the 2-week campaign period, and of course get more people sowing wildflowers.

And some bonus results we didn’t expect:

  • 68,000 unique visitors went to the dedicated microsite, many of whom returned more than once as 91,500 sessions were logged during the campaign period

  • Out of the 68,000 unique visitors, 42,500 of these came from Facebook or Instagram

  • 42% of participants opted in to receive more news from Rowse

  • Instagram saw a 25% increase in followers just in those 2 weeks, 1000 of which were from influencer partners followers

Evaluation

This campaign wanted to demonstrate something new: a strong consumer call-to-action, the Rowse brand authentically starting a movement that was not only close to their hearts but also connected to a topic that had growing importance in society and in the media, and a brand platform that could grow.

For the first iteration of this brand campaign, the awareness became action. We may not have achieved the ambitious reach goal but recognizing the desire people have to actually do something to support bees and pollinators in the UK.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Social Media. To find out more, including which competitions are currently open for entry, visit The Drum Awards website.