Hypermarket’s Guide To Successful Social Media Launch

Hypermarket's Guide To Successful Social Media Launch

(A Case Study) K-citymarket is one of the biggest store chains in Finland with over 72 hypermarkets all over the Finland. Retail & grocery chains have been basically totally absent from the social media in Finland and quite inactive in digital channels in general.

Our agency (N2 Marketing) got invited in pitch to rethink K-citymarket digital marketing. During the process we found mutual understanding of the right digital strategy and got chosen as the K-citymarket digital partner. The first manifestation of this collaboration was to launch the social media presence (namely Facebook page) to K-citymarket. Actually, the first Facebook page for a hypermarket in Finland, to be exact.

The Challenge

The marketing for the K-citymarket has been typically traditional over the years with heavy emphasis on print. The effectiveness of print advertising has been on the decline lately and people are starting to use more digital channels. How to be relevant in the digital sphere as a hypermarket?

Hypermarkets as such are not the most attractive Facebook pages to like. You might want to show that you are liking Louis Vuitton or your favorite band, but not necessarily flaunting your love of the place you are buying your toilet paper from. How do we get people to like something which is part of their everyday life?

Seldom you really have a brand, which has a target group of basically the whole nation. K-citymarket is one of those brands. How to make campaign which appeals to both young and old, women and men and big cities and rural areas? How do we make a campaign that appeals to the whole of Finland?

Because the scope and reach of K-citymarket is so huge, we needed to execute the launch properly and in a big way. Couple of thousands fans would not be enough, we had to attract tens of thousands fans to make it a worthwhile channel for our client. How do you make a Facebook campaign which gathers critical mass fast?

The Insight

We found that K-citymarket had huge advantages to which build the Facebook. First, the stores are really important media channels as themselves, second there are lots of interesting angles to communicate about the K-citymarket brand in Facebook. For example it is the biggest shoe store in Finland.

Due to the recent economic turmoil, people are increasingly more price-aware. Discounts interest huge amount of people nevertheless their background. When going gets tough, it is more and more important how much do you spend on your children diapers monthly.

IBM Crm Study

People are also starting to get picky in social media. Basically to like a brand you want to have promotions or discounts (as can be seen on the above perception gap picture from IBM, read the entire white paper here). So it seemed as the right decision to concentrate on the discounts with the initial launch of K-citymarket Facebook-page. But just revealing discounts seemed quite dull and obvious idea, but what if you could have an impact in social media to the discounts in the physical stores?

The Solution

We decided to launch Facebook-site at the same time when the legendary sales week of K-Citymarket “Mammuttimarkkinat (Mammoth Sales)” was held. The launch campaign was based on the three fundamentals build upon discounts:

1. Reason to like:
“Like & reveal the discounts”
K-citymarket tarjoukset

Before the initial campaign launch we aimed to attract the real K-citymarket fans who were waiting for the start of the annual discount weeks. We informed K-citymarket newsletter subscribers about the opportunity to unleash discounts before the print advertisement.

This attracted 9.000 fans even before the initial campaign launch.

2. Reason to share:
“Duel of the discounts”

People could actually have an impact of what products there are in discount in the physical stores. Utilizing Facebook-likes you could vote the product of your fancy to be in discounts.

Mammuttimarkkinat tarjousten taistelu

The winner of that battle would be in discount in the very next day. Very seldom you see such a rapid response in social media and retail space.

Duel of the discounts was a huge success. Together with the client we had chosen products which sparked emotions and polarized opinions. One of the most successful duels was the battle between wine glasses and beer jugs.

Wine afficiandos won that battle which invoked bitter comments from beer fans. It was the traditional discount marketing turned upside down: people were spreading the word to their tribes about the discounts.

3. Reason to go to the store & return back to Facebook: “Receipt lottery”

Receipts are a huge own media for retail chains. In every receipt there was a coupon code which forwarded you to Facebook.

Mammuttimarkkinat kurkkaa kuittiin

When you entered the code you took a part in the competition for a trip to the place where mammoths were living (namely South-Africa).

Nowadays these fundamentals serve as the framework for the campaigns for K-citymarket in Facebook). Every campaign has to have these three reasons to pass the planning phase.

Also the facebook.com/citymarket address was included in all the integrated marketing activities for the discount weeks to raise awareness about the new page in Facebook.

The Results

Amount of Facebook fans:
42.120 (Starting from the scratch and in under two weeks. Basically got over 2% of Facebook users in Finland to like K-citymarket during the campaign)

Amount of impressions:
Over 1 M impressions for the status updates from K-citymarket Facebook-page.

Amount of votes in Duel of the discounts:
Over 15K

Amount of receipt lottery participants:
Over 10K

Mammuttimarkkinat in fall 2011 was the most succesful Mammuttimarkkinat ever.

“This is only the beginning for the digital. Facebook is a really important part of our digital ecosystem and will be developed to become more interactive in the near future. Campaigns play crucial role in hypermarket business, but Facebook gives us also opportunity to deepen the relationship with our customers and enhance the dialogue and customer service”, says Pia Laaksonen, Digital Marketing Manager of K-citymarket.

This has been one of the groundbreaking cases I have been working on. The reaction response and the positive attitude to this whole project from the K-citymarket organization has been a great asset and without it the launch would have not gone so well. Combining the fast-paced retail industry with fast-paced social media marketing has been a good combination thus far. And we have just begun.

I know that we have just scratched the surface of the potential opportunities, but the initial results for this project have been really promising.

How do you see the future of Social Media & retail?

The Trick To Finding, Watching And Winning Facebook Sweepstakes
Steven Paul Jobs 1955-2011

About Riku Vassinen

Riku Vassinen is working as a Strategist in Finnish creative agency N2 marketing and is the Planning Director in K-citymarket account. He has written two books about social media and marketing: Digitaalinen jalanjälki (2010, awarded as the best marketing book of the year in Finland 2011) and Moccalattehipsteri (compilation of his blogs from the years 2008-2011). Tweet him up @pimpmycontent

View all posts by Riku Vassinen

10 Responses to “Hypermarket’s Guide To Successful Social Media Launch”

  1. KrisOlin Says:

    Hey Riku, thank you for sharing this awesome case with us! 

    It is not often that you see great results in such a short time. Did you guys use any other medias such as TV or radio with this campaign, or was it all integrated within the regular print advertising?


  2. Ramy Khuffash Says:

    This is brilliant! I am actually trying to break into the voucher market (very crowded here in the UK) by promoting vouchers that require likes or shares and this information was a great and relevant read. Thanks 🙂


  3. TopIMNews Says:

    Hi there this is a fantastic case study and I would be very interested in reading the books that you have written on the subject of social marketing. Do they happen to be in English as well, due to the fact that Finnish isn’t my strong point?!


    • Riku Vassinen Says:


      Unfortunately currently the two books are only available in Finnish (which quite dramatically reduces its target group). However, there has been some talks about translating “Digital Footprint” in English, but nothing certain yet.

      Also I am currently starting my third book at the moment which will be written in English. Hopefully getting that ready by the end of the next year. Currently the working title for it is “The Social Media Anarchist´s Cookbook”. 

      So the situation might improve in the current future.




  4. Leon Lewis Says:

    Wow. Lovely case study. Looking forward to your new book…. “The Social Media Anarchist’s Cookbook”…. fun name! Keep up the great work. Bookmarked.


  5. Evan Dawson Says:

    I noticed you went back to Disqus from LiveFyre. We just started using LF and I wondered if you wouldn’t mind sharing why you switched back. Thanks- enjoyed the post.


    • KrisOlin Says:

      Hi Evan,

      Thanks for your comment, mate! Yes, I did use Livefyre for a short time, but I wasn’t very comfortable with it. I talked about these two main commenting systems with my colleagues and  @osakasaul:twitter  pointed out that there is actually one extra step to make a comment on Livefyre than on Disqus. 

      Also Disqus gives you the opportunity to leave comment with just your email so you don’t have to belong or join any social groups. The Disqus interface is a bit cleaner and their control panel is more user friendly. Finally, and perhaps most importantly there are about 10 times more Disqus than Livefyre users and this can affect the amount of comments you get.

      So far I have been very happy with Disqus and I can recommend it highly. The change over from Livefyre to Disqus went very well. All my comments were automatically transferred and it was business as usual from day one.

      I hope this helps, mate. Let me know if you make the switch.


  6. Vimal Dwivedi Says:

    I never read this type of case study else where , looking forward to read more here..
    thanks for the share…


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