The American Dietetic Association’s annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, which gathers more than 8,000 registered dietitians, nutrition science researchers, policy-makers and healthcare providers, is a big deal for Nestlé.
These are the folks (the ADA has more than 70,000 members) that recommend Nestlé products as well as consume them. So this past September the brand decided to sharpen up and streamline its two separate show-floor experiences—Nestlé Nutrition and Nestlé USA—and join them under one roof. The resulting Nestlé Good Food Good Life Home booth resembled a house where each product could be showcased in the context where it would be used in real life. A lunch nook, for example, featured Lean Pockets. The pantry was stocked with dry goods like PowerBars, Ovaltine and Nestlé Hot Cocoa. And the snack area featured Lean Cuisine, Toll House and Jenny Craig products (see “Room to Grow” at right for a room-by-room overview).
“This concept made things a bit more realistic, welcoming and inviting,” says Laura Taylor, global events manager at Nestlé, whose team created a pre-show direct mail promotion inviting attendees to join Nestlé for its Open House. “Rather than having a silo approach where generally each operating company would have their own little area, which was the approach we had taken in the past, this new approach integrated all of the brands and represented them in the area of the home where it made the most sense.”
The central piece of the booth and the experience was a large Dinner Table. This was where Nestlé hosted the ADA Foundation Nutrition Symposium sponsored by the Nestlé Nutrition Institute, which held scheduled expert talks focused on the theme, The Family Meal: Reclaiming the Dinner Table. The host of the Dinner Table was the Nestlé “mom,” who invited attendees to take a seat at the table and conducted the talks. Every attendee received a USB drive created by the Stouffer’s team with a Family Meals Toolkit that included easy-to-use tools, including tweetable tips, to help promote healthy family dinners. To drive attendance to the talks, Nestlé tweeted live from the conference about the sessions. More than 300 attendees took home a toolkit.
Attendees also received a Healthy Lifestyle Blueprint of the Nestlé Good Food Good Life Home that illustrated where all the Nestlé brands could be found in the “home.” Nestlé enticed attendees to travel through the different zones by offering them the chance to enter in a drawing to win a Dolce Gusto Coffee machine by getting stamps from five of the 10 engagement zones.
Though the new strategy and booth were a success, Taylor shares that the biggest challenge was making sure its on-site sales team was comfortable with the new setup, which required them to be more flexible given that some brands overlapped in more than one zone.
“They’re so used to standing behind the counter and selling their products and wares, but this was completely different,” explains Taylor who, with Chicago-based handling agency Live Marketing, organized three formal training sessions to get everyone on board. “It required our representatives to make more of an effort to have an emotional connection with attendees rather than relying on the message. It was more authentic and engaging and interactive. We did get very positive feedback from our attendees.”
Change may not be easy, but Taylor says that Nestlé is taking the same approach at this year’s event. “Last year we really put ourselves on the map with this house concept and everything that was tailored around that,” she says. “We have been attending ADA for many years. I think you do need to change your approach from time to time. It does get noticed.” EM