Consumer Response Baked In – How Greggs Wins with Online Media Coverage for its Festive Treat

Online media coverage is helping bakery chain Greggs to punch well above its weight when it comes to generating Google search for its Christmas specials. In the run-up to the festive season, Greggs’ share of Google search compared to key High Street rivals has been given a massive boost by online media coverage about its Festive Bake.

Tribe used its PRSV media evaluation to reveal how much Google search for Greggs’ Festive Bake was directly attributable to online media coverage. As other high street food outlets, including McDonald’s, Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Wetherspoons, began to get online media coverage for their 2019 Christmas menus, Greggs’ search volumes trailed behind levels of interest for competitors.  Cue the Festive Bake, a pastry-encased version of the Christmas dinner, complete with stuffing and cranberry sauce. This product is now established as a regular feature in the seasonal culinary calendar. When online media coverage for the Festive Bake began to increase in early October, volumes of search for the brand accelerated rapidly, as the chart below shows:

Chart 1 – trend in consumer search for Christmas menus, attributable to online media coverage

PRSV analysis shows that over the entire pre-Christmas PR campaign to date, online media coverage about the Greggs Festive Bake has enabled it to compete directly with the biggest names on the High Street for the millions of lucrative pre-Christmas shoppers searching for something festive to eat.

In the last couple of years, Greggs has acquired a reputation for innovative and eye-catching PR campaigns, culminating in winning Brand of the Year at the prestigious Marketing Week Masters Awards in October. Without doubt, one of the things that will have impressed the judges was the significant improvement in business results, helped by Greggs’ ability to spot original PR opportunities and exploit them for business advantage.

The company’s launch of the vegan sausage roll was a real coup in terms of riding the healthy eating wave, but effective PR has also done wonders for its market capitalisation. In the first six months of 2019, Greggs’ share price almost doubled, after it announced sales of over £1bn for the first time in 2018. From an advent calendar featuring Baby Jesus as a sausage roll, to a candlelit Valentine’s dinner at Greggs and the hilarious undercover appearance as ‘Gregory and Gregory’ at a gourmet food festival – the brand’s tongue-in-cheek approach to PR has earned far more national and trade media coverage than could normally be expected for a company of its size.

When weighing up the overall contribution of PR activities to business performance, PRSV applies statistical techniques to show how commercial outcomes- including increases in sales, website visits, consumer search and other key performance indicators – can be attributed to online media coverage. On that measure, Greggs is doing superbly this Christmas and on its way to another Happy New Year of rising profits.

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