Recipe for Success: The Great British Bake Off for Business

The Great British Bake Off is gracing our television screens again, with more innuendos and merciless judging than you can shake your rolling pin at. As a majority of the nation – over 12 million, in fact – gear up for another eleven weeks of culinary catastrophes and soggy-bottomed spectacles, more brands than ever are piggybacking on the fondly dubbed “Great British Bake Off effect.”

However trivial this GBBO effect may seem, an abundance of businesses have geared up more than a year in advance to brace themselves for a rocket number of sales in baking-related products, and have started executing carefully planned marketing campaigns to tug on the purse-strings, or hunger, of the British public.

The Great British Bake Off lends potential for brands and businesses to harness moment-marketing, as well as indulge themselves in conversations surrounding the show, which hits the top of Twitter and Facebook trends consistently each Wednesday evening.

“A slice of success…”

According to retail agency Summit, last year’s season of The Great British Bake Off sparked a 214 per cent rise in baking-product sales. The unquestionable influence the show has on consumer shopping habits makes it unsurprising that marketers – particularly in the retail sector – are craving a slice of this success. Supermarket giant Waitrose has revealed that the eleven weeks of The Great British Bake Off are the third most important event of the year, trailing just behind Christmas and Easter, particularly as grocery sales can see an increase of up to 392 per cent during the period alone.

The impact of the show can all be detrimental for brands who don’t quite make the cut for the next season. KitchenAid’s flagship mixer has been dropped from the show in this season, and thus the interest in the product has fallen by 14 per cent compared to this time last year. The fall in sales for KitchenAid further emphasises the influence the show has on consumer shopping habits, with the nation’s bakers turning to the show for tactical product recommendations.

The Great British Bake Off cast with a tactical KitchenAid mixer.

Ahead of The Great British Bake Off airing, supermarkets have also taken to opening new positions dedicated to handle the popularity the show brings, with Morrison’s appointing “Chief Baking Officer”, a position otherwise non-existent within the company. This is hardly unsurprising, as even online grocery searches for “Jaffa Cakes” rose by 136 per cent, after the item featured in a technical challenge. The show may have also inspired bakers at home to try the challenge themselves, as Sainsbury’s also reported a rise in online searches for the ingredients – including orange jelly and dark chocolate.

This sudden search for Jaffa Cakes was also likely fuelled by the nation’s online disgust at the act of Paul Hollywood dunking one in a cup of tea, as 2,700 participants took to The Great British Bake Off Twitter account to vote in a poll on whether dunking Jaffa Cakes is divine, or a crime, elaborating on the importance of social media throughout the show…

“It’s a piece of cake…”

Evidently, The Great British Bake Off doesn’t just take grocery stores by storm; the GBBO effect is well and truly echoed on social media too. The popularity of live-Tweeting along with the show has continued to surge, as the BBC harnesses the use of consumer multi-screening through the setup of an independent Great British Bake Off Twitter account; which acts as a dedicated platform to augment the show’s presence to an even wider audience and increase engagement amongst fans.

A witty, comedic tone of voice coupled with a dynamic in-the-moment strategy for online has seen a rapid growth in followers attracted to The Great British Bake Off account. On the broadcast of the first episode, the account’s following grew by approximately 23,800. This prompt increase in engagement is something desired by social media managers everywhere, and opens a potentially new timely tactic for their businesses: mimic this humourous and hearty tone in relocatable, shareable content.

In 2015, Tweets about GBBO surpassed 1.1 million, a number that can be expected to be left in the dust as bake-off fever continues to intensify series by series. The popularity of The Great British Bake Off online offers the opportunity for brands to immerse themselves in the conversations, with many of the recent sponsored Twitter adverts bake-off related.

Contrary to what most marketers may be thinking; you don’t have to be situated in the world of baking products to reap the benefits of this success. A number of brands, notably innocent drinks, have roped in momentous engagement simply through Tweeting along with the live show and sparking conversations amongst their followers. Becoming involved in current trends, regardless of your dedicated industry, can add an appealing human element to the face of the brand and generate conversations and engagement with users who perhaps wouldn’t have been attracted to your accounts before.

Plugging into The Great British Bake Off effect with funny and tactical messages can give brands the opportunity to soar engagement, generate conversations, boost relevant product sales and even offer the potential to go viral. Just be sure not to make a soggy bottom out of it all.

How will your business be cooking up a storm on social or in sales over the next few weeks? Tweet us your bake-off strategies @FastWebMedia

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