Just because Sunkist’s brand has been synonymous with citrus for decades, it doesn’t mean advertising and public relations manager Gina Widjaja can merely pick up a paycheck and bask in the glow of name recognition, though she does enjoy that part.
“I always wanted to work at a company that everybody knows, and now I do,” she said.
“The challenge is how do we make citrus new. My job is to keep us top of mind even if the product isn’t on the shelf.”
A key part of that job since she joined Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., in 2005 has been the development of the company’s social media and Internet presence in the expanding universe of consumer cyberspace.
“Gina is Sunkist’s guide into the new world of consumer marketing and social media,” said Sunkist vice president of sales and marketing Kevin Fiori.
“Her social media creations have been very impactful, entertaining and educational.”
In 2009 Widjaja helped Sunkist launch its social media efforts. She said it has been a valuable tool in closing the gap between her and Sunkist’s customers.
“Social media isn’t just about numbers of followers of friends, though,” Widjaja said. “It’s about engagement.
In addition to launching social media campaigns for Sunkist, Widjaja also expanded the company’s Web presence.
When she started in 2005, Sunkist had only one website.
Now, because of Widjaja’s efforts, there are separate websites for Asia and other foreign countries. She also updated and upgraded the foodservice portion of the Sunkist website and created a presence for the company on YouTube with a variety of videos.
One series of Sunkist’s YouTube videos features growers meeting consumers. Another uses interviews with chefs to educate consumers about ways to use citrus in recipes.
Last year, when she wanted to have a lemon video contest, others tried to convince Widjaja that a recipe/photo contest would be better. She stood her ground, though.
“Everyone was expecting to get really rough footage from cell phones propped up on kitchen counters,” she said.
“But we got some highly produced entries of really interesting things people are doing with lemons. If you don’t try something new, you won’t ever know if it will work.”
That follow-through attitude is one of the things co-workers and superiors at Sunkist talk about when they discuss Widjaja’s work style.
“She can take a good idea and make it better, following through with implementation and getting it done right,”said Sunkist director of corporate communications Claire Smith.