Twinkies and Social Branding

Social Branding 1Really, we shouldn’t be a bit surprised by the fact that Twinkies can provide us with a lesson in branding.

Saying that America has been in love with Twinkies since the 1930’s, when Twinkies were introduced to the world, might be a stretch. However, to say that we were all shocked by the thought of Twinkies no longer being around – some might have curled into the fetal position and ate, what they thought would be, the last box of Twinkies they would ever consume. Now that’s what we would call an iconic brand.

In a Forbes article, Michael Stone talked about Twinkie’s impressive comeback and said that, “… nostalgia can be a very powerful marketing tool.” This was extremely beneficial during the great comeback of this brand. There wasn’t anything new to talk about, the same Twinkies were coming back, no improvements, no story… Except the comeback!

So how can Hostess make sure that these branding efforts don’t fade? Eventually, the excitement of the soon-to-be-infamous Twinkie Comeback of 2013 will disappear, turning into a great story that we will tell our grandchildren. Not only that, Hostess has to battle the ever increasing health-aware trend, as they don’t exactly provide products that coincide with this trend.

Erich Joachimsthaler, a former Harvard professor and author on a large number of articles about branding, states that the key to the success of the branding efforts by Hostess and Twinkies will require more than just simple social branding.

What is social branding, exactly? It has always been about applying traditional branding principles to social causes; attempting to form a cultural bond surrounding a brand. Joachimsthaler tells us that “social branding is all about social business.”

Consumer behaviors will change and it is necessary to take advantage this. We live in a society where preferences, perceptions, and opinions change all the time. Companies need to always be on the look-out for how to keep up with these changes. At the same time, these changes need to be done carefully, with a strategic plan still in place.

Social Media Today suggests three things to think about when considering these changes in order to keep up with customers:

1. Focus on the end goal. Remember your reason for the business and work back from there.
2. Dream big. Take small steps. Move quickly. Big dreams don’t equate big money. Start with small steps, this will keep costs down. The small steps still get companies momentum when it comes to branding, especially.
3. Real-time information. Keeping information up to date helps companies ensure that they are not overwhelmed or providing numbers that are misleading.

Branding can be a tough thing to tackle. Getting into the consumer’s mind and keeping up with their ever changing perceptions can be overwhelming no matter how long you have been in the game. Contact Susan J. Campbell today and let us help you with your social branding.

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