Meet McCormick's Award-Winning Consumer Creative and Digital Team
Consumers already know McCormick as a trusted cooking partner and follow our various social media platforms, YouTube channels, commercials, PR activations, and websites for meal inspiration, recipes, and flavor ideas. And over the last few years, there's no doubt that our consumer-facing Creative and Digital team has significantly spiced up our marketing efforts.
McCormick's approach to digital content transformed when we introduced our first in-house creative content studio in 2018 to support the digital efforts for our consumer brands like McCormick, French's, Frank's RedHot, Stubb's. OLD BAY, Lawry's, Zatarain's, Flavor Solutions, and more. The McCormick Studio team, part of the Creative and Digital team, makes more than 80 percent of US and Canada consumer marketing assets that McCormick distributes; working closely with the Social Media, Campaign, e-Commerce, and Kitchen teams to create recipe and product photography, videos, and graphic assets.
The team's efforts haven't gone unnoticed – in 2020, Gartner ranked McCormick as "Genius" in their Digital IQ Index Report. And Alia Kemet, Vice President of Creative and Digital Marketing, was named "Brand Leader of the Year" by Adweek in their inaugural Creator Visionary Awards.
And in March 2020, when millions were asked to stay home, forced to cook for themselves, the Creative and Digital team wasted no time shifting their efforts to cater to new home chefs.
"From a creative standpoint, we had to move fast during the pandemic," said Tom Rowe, Director of Digital Communications. "We had to create content by reacting to the consumer’s needs and wants."
McCormick Chefs and Food Stylists launched a "Cook With Us" series on Facebook and Instagram Live, hosting step-by-step cooking shows filmed in their home kitchens. And when the team noticed an uptick in questions from people who had never cooked before, a Q&A series was launched. Consumers could send questions to the McCormick Test Kitchen (ranging from "Is there any bread you can make without yeast?" to "What does tbsp mean?") and receive same-day answers.
The team constantly monitored what food and recipe trends consumers were searching on social media, Google, and YouTube and proactively created content. All content topics for videos, recipes, and blog posts were chosen based on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) trends. For example, when results for "banana bread" began to rise, the culinary team would plan a "Cook With Us" video with a banana bread recipe. Or if the search terms showed that air fryer purchases were sky-rocketing, the content team would develop and optimize all air fryer recipes on www.mccormick.com. Because of these efforts, traffic to the website was up more than 200 percent during the first few months of the pandemic.
These digital trends also helped McCormick's e-commerce team to pivot efforts around sales and production; offering guidance on which products to optimize online and which trends will provide prime opportunities for our online retailers.
At the same time, the team leveraged partnerships with celebrities like Drew Barrymore for Live cooking videos on the McCormick Spice social media channels, and partnered with vegan food influencer Tabitha Brown to launch her own seasoning brand called Sunshine All Purpose Seasoning, which sold out within an hour. This was the first time that a celebrity co-developed a flavor with McCormick.
On top of all of these new initiatives, the Creative and Digital team leads the process working with the McCormick Flavor Solutions and Consumer teams globally to release the 2021 Flavor Forecast trend report. For past trend reports, the Flavor Forecast team would enlist chefs and flavor experts from around the world to learn what's next in food, drink, and flavor. But, in a world without travel, McCormick team members participated in virtual culinary experiences to inspire recipes and flavor creation. The Creative and Digital team helped put together an immersive, at-home experience with "trend theme boxes" for hands-on tasting, allowing McCormick team members, chefs, and culinary experts from around the globe to converge on the potential flavors and themes for the 21st edition of Flavor Forecast.
"Our team works every day to create informative, entertaining, and mouthwatering content for consumers. We look forward to finding new and interesting ways to help consumers find and enjoy our products," says Amanda Bassett, Digital Culinary Content Manager.
We couldn't be prouder of our Creative and Digital team and the ways they have worked to form a deeper relationship with consumers.
To learn more about the Consumer Creative and Digital team's work, visit www.mccormick.com, follow McCormick Spice on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and download the Flavor Maker app on Apple and Google Play.