For almost a decade, yoghurt brand Chobani has celebrated significant annual sales growth in Australia. The recipe for the company’s success? Understanding and celebrating the power of the personal.

When a keen Chobani superfan emailed the company last year asking if the yoghurt brand could be involved in her wedding, Chobani’s customer loyalty team went into overdrive. Cue flowers in yoghurt tubs, tiny pots of Chobani and branded balloons – all with just five days notice.

“In an era when everything is digital and automated, the human connection is very important,” says Maria Voronina, Chobani Australia’s Marketing Manager – Innovation and New Platforms.

Consumers who contact Chobani receive a handwritten note and perhaps a small gift or advance notice that a discounted flavour is returning. This personal touch is one reason why Chobani became Australia’s fastest-growing yoghurt brand, notching up double-digit annual sales increases for eight consecutive years after launching in Australia in 2011.

By 2017, Chobani had the largest share of the Australian yoghurt market. Eager to build on this success, the business signed up to SAP’s Qualtrics Experience Management Platform the same year.

With Qualtrics XM, Chobani is able to launch user feedback surveys in seconds and capture responses at every stage of the product lifecycle optimise offerings and services, while segmentation helps Chobani meet the unique and diverse needs of Australian consumers.

“We’d grown rapidly, we were continuously innovating but a lot of our data was outsourced, it took forever and it was expensive,” say Voronina. “We were the new kid on the block. We wanted to stay number one.”

Chobani was already a trailblazer in launching limited-edition yoghurts, such as ghost-shaped packaging for Halloween, and Chobani Flip, with a separate mix such as chocolate or nuts. But it needed a faster way to keep innovating.

“We may design a new product with 20 flavour options; we need to narrow down what is most appealing. Setting up a survey with Qualtrics takes about 30 seconds,” explains Voronina.

Rapid feedback also helps with marketing. When Chobani launched FiTX – a high-protein, no-added-sugar product – in 2019, the company knew the high-protein factor would appeal to a different market segment than its no-added-sugar offering. Chobani adjusted its launch communication strategy accordingly.

“We’re now equipped with tools that help out innovation and out brand tacking,” says Voronina. “It’s like a health check – we constantly monitor the live data.”