Building corporate reputation is highly correlated with better business results . It’s also a never-ending mission. In the two years Fonterra had actively been advertising to improve its corporate reputation, they discovered it was a lot like gardening. You can never put enough time and love into it, and weeds always pop up.
If there was one thing worth cultivating, it was Fonterra Milk For Schools (FMFS), one of New Zealand’s biggest acts of corporate social responsibility.
Every school-day across New Zealand, 140,000 kids drink milk supplied by Fonterra, for free. Yet hardly anyone knew about it. Fonterra needed them to, because their farmers invest massively in the programme out of their own pockets, and it wasn’t having the positive impact on Fonterra’s reputation that the investment merited.
A few people knew about FMFS, and the kids that drank milk every day at school for free knew, but unfortunately their parents didn’t know – and parents were the most likely to improve their perception of Fonterra upon finding out about FMFS. Kids had no reason to talk to their parents about something as habitual as drinking milk at school, meaning FMFS was stuck in the school gates, unknown by parents.
This was quickly changed by providing parents the opportunity to get long-time proud Fonterra ambassador Richie McCaw to visit their kid’s school…in a helicopter. Entering was as simple as visiting the campaign website.
The nation went nuts! Videos were created and went viral, fledgling actors were discovered, and FMFS became famous with parents for the first time. There were so many entries, an extra, fifth and final Richie school visit had to be added in.
57,647 New Zealanders entered the competition, awareness of FMFS more than doubled, and perceptions of Fonterra were massively improved.