We caught up with Macsween Haggis for a chat about their business, a working day for Haggis HQ, social media and their plans for the future.
K: Hello Team Macsween, tell us what a typical working day consists of at the moment?
At Haggis HQ in Edinburgh our four products, traditional haggis, veggie haggis, black pudding and the microwavable range, are hand made on a daily basis in our custom built premises.
In 1953 Charlie Macsween established the company as an Edinburgh butchers shop, his grandchildren, James and I, are now the dynamic duo who run the business. I nurture and build the Macsween brand, whilst James focuses on the operational and technical side of things.
As a family-run business, working as a team comes naturally to Macsween and everyone is encouraged to participate, all employees get the chance to take part in weekly tasting panels and contribute to the creation of products in the new Macsween development kitchen.
K: What are the flagship plans for Macsween in 2012? Any big marketing events/new products you’d like to share?
We’ve just exhibited at the Royal Highland Show which was a great opportunity to connect with our community and meet new people. We were trialling two new products which we hope to launch later this year. The show was a great opportunity to involve consumers in new product development, giving them the change to help shape the future of haggis. You will hear more about these new products later in the year, but it’s safe to say that winter 2012 will be a very exciting time for Macsween. We will also be linking up with other iconic Scottish brands for unique tasting sessions and will have some rather unusual characters appearing in our weekly blog line up.
K: How big a part does Social Media play in your overall marketing mix?
We were early adopters of digital media, embracing the global reach that it gives us, and using it to engage with a younger and wider customer base. It allows us to actively participate in conversations with our customers which is very important to us, allowing us to continually feed their views back into the business and to keep us close to their changing needs. Social media played a vital role in launching the new microwavable products in 2009, employing our online community in product testing & design.
Haggis is a mysterious product and participating in conversations on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and Kiltr enables us to educate people on Scotland’s national dish. Our mission is to entice Haggis Virgins to give it a go and for those who already love our products, we share both Macsween, and customer recipes to feed their haggis hunger!
Our YouTube channel is very popular; videos include ‘step by step’ guidelines to cooking haggis, recipe ideas, and tips and advice for hosting Burns Night celebrations. More content will added to YouTube shortly ….watch this space!
K: Further to this, what would you like to see from your KILTR Organisation profile this year?
We’d like for KILTR to help us connect with other great Scottish brands, promoting Scotland’s food and drink industry to a wider audience. Kiltr also offers us the opportunity to connect and communicate with the Macsween community around the world. We host regular competitions and whilst it’s not always possible to send haggis prizes abroad, we do have other Macsween goodies to give away.
K: We’re fascinated by the Scots/Scandinavian connection with haggis – Scandinavian in origin – the Swedish ‘hugga’ mean to cut or chop. So how did this relationship become established in Scotland?
The origins of haggis are somewhat mysterious, but it is thought that it dates back thousands of years to when hunters would use the ready-made container (the stomach) to cook the parts of the animal that needed eating right away. It is thought that Scandinavian pirates brought the first haggis over on their longships during the Viking raids of the ninth century.
K: We’re loving Hamish Macsween! When was he born and what does a normal day entail for the Macsween mascot?
Hamish together with his girlfriend Morag and their friend Fast Angus have celebrity status, wherever they go they are asked to pose for pictures with their fans. As ambassadors for Scotland’s national dish they lead a pretty glamorous life, attending events such as the Royal Highland Show and mingling with stars and members of the public alike. They are also pretty mischievous, hijacking celebrity cooking demonstrations, distracting the Olympic Torch Relay police and joining a flash mob who ceilidh danced in the middle of the Royal Mile, their daily antics can be followed via our Social Media presence.