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The Chicken Sandwich Wars and Brand Personalities

It all started with a Tweet. Suddenly the battle that nobody saw coming was in full swing, and out of nowhere, people were lining up at Popeye’s left and right. This whirlwind has left everyone wondering: how exactly did Popeye’s go from a nondescript fast food joint to a suitable rival for Chick-Fil-A? As usual, the answer is simple: social media.

15 Minutes of Fame

Similar to Dunkin Donuts and IHOP changing their names, Popeye’s chose the viral marketing stunt route. Surprisingly, the debate began with a tweet by Chick-Fil-A, which was quickly and hilariously followed up by a response from Popeye’s marketing executive. This set off a conversation that would go on for weeks. The post was retweeted 87.7K times and received 325K likes. Evidently, Popeye’s came out with the win, with $65 million in marketing revenue in less than a month.

Brand Personalities

Brands are no longer just companies selling to us. They’ve adopted online personas and can interact with consumers in a way that’s kind of eerie; one voice becomes the spokesperson for an entire franchise made up of millions of people. It’s easy for people to get involved in online conversations with brands, especially fast food joints like Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Jimmy John’s. They talk the way we talk. They take on approachable, comical, and sarcastic tones that can easily be converted into memes or other reshareable images. 

The best thing for brands like Chick-Fil-A and Popeye’s, in this interesting time of social media popularity contests, is to say something unexpected online so that they become the topic of conversation. Obviously, it worked for Popeye’s.

The Importance of Online Engagement

Some companies undervalue the importance of social media engagement. But the effect it can have on a business is huge, if you do it correctly. Almost anything can be brought into the spotlight, with the right voice and brand personality. Here’s how you can improve your online presence in 3 ways:

1. Be Consistent

It’s important to know what people are talking about so you can engage with them in a way that they can relate to. One of the ways to do this is be consistent. Strike up online conversations with small, medium, and large accounts on a daily basis. Post often, go live, and use all the tools of the app to engage.

2. Weigh in on Popular Topics

Sometimes brands can get out of hand with the things they say online, and this can lead to trouble. Be honest, but not too honest. You want your followers to get the sense that you’re being transparent without revealing too much. Maybe it’s not relevant for your company to join in on the chicken sandwich wars, but there is something else out there that your brand can have a say in.

3. Create Brand Personas

Brand personas are a great way to visualize the types of consumers interested in your product. Come up with three or four “types” of people that might buy your product. List their values, personality type, lifestyle, philosophies, fears, goals, etc. This helps you adjust your voice and content to target the right audience.

The Chicken Sandwich Wars Are Not Over Yet

Although Popeye’s has sold out of their legendary sandwich, Wendy’s has joined in on the debate. There’s no doubt that more brands will start to interact the same way with their rivals and consumers to garner attention and sales.

It’s difficult to predict exactly what will go viral on social media. If it’s not Area 51 memes, it’s chicken sandwiches. You have to really understand your audience in order to achieve the massive success that Popeye’s did, and stay one step ahead of everyone else. And although it does say something somewhat negative about our society’s values, it is a great marketing tactic for companies to try to replicate, if they have the right product.

Over Branding: How Much Is Too Much?

The Kardashian-Jenner family is not known for their subtlety, but Kylie Jenner’s recent Instagram vacation managed to take over branding to a whole new level. Meant to promote her new line of skin care products called Kylie Skin, Jenner’s trip was a marketing campaign not exactly in disguise. The 21-year-old billionaire was recently criticized for a walnut facial scrub in the product line, which experts claim creates micro cuts in the skin. Even so, she successfully used the “luxury travel influencer” approach to advertise the product launch.

Pink Paradise

Jenner, who already has a massive Instagram following of 142 million, traveled with a group of friends to Turks and Caicos in a private jet emblazoned with the Kylie Skin logo. If you think that’s extra, it doesn’t end there. The logo was also on the eye masks, satin pillows, sweaters, water bottles, and make up sets in the plane. On the island, it was on everything from the floor mats and coconuts, to the cotton onesies (maybe even on the toilet paper?).

All of this begs the question: when it comes to branding, how much is too much?

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Video Marketing is King of Content

Visit your Facebook or Instagram feed right now. What’s changed? You might notice that every third or fourth post is a video, whereas it used to be mainly text posts and images. Vine, YouTube, Snapchat; there are endless ways that video marketing has slowly made its way into our lives. But is it really the most effective method of marketing?

How Effective is Video Marketing?

Every day, users watch more than 1 billion hours of video on YouTube. Embedding videos on your website leads to higher conversion rates, more shares, and better ranking on search engines. Also, videos are more alluring, memorable, and effective at building trust.

Many people are predicting that eventually, Facebook will be all video posts. There’s a rise in video social networks, and people are watching videos online more than they watch television. This exponential increase is enough to show that video marketing works, and works well. Here’s why.

Video Marketing is Better at Triggering Emotions

There’s a reason people cry when they watch sad movies. It’s much easier to tell your brand’s story through video than through text. This medium has the power to inspire, educate, amuse, scare, or surprise. It can even do the job of explaining a product or confusing idea.

When you look at recent consumer trends, you’ll notice that people tend to spend their money with their values in mind. A video can get your message across to your audience clearly and call them to action more effectively. Videos are persuasive and build trust, especially if you feature yourself or your company.

Canadian Tire: Wheels Campaign

Canadian Tire released an emotional ad that ran during the 2016 Summer Olympics. The ad went viral for its sentimental message that captured many people’s hearts.

Our Brains Prefer Video

Our monkey brains are easily distracted by movement and noise. 65% of people are visual learners, so most of them prefer to watch, not read. Video makes the message and content easier to digest in a shorter amount of time.

All-in-One

This is the only medium that can include all types of content, visual and auditory. A video can feature whatever it wants: images, infographics, text, music, blog posts, or podcasts. Not to mention, animations are trending, so it’s a great opportunity to bring in this element for the added simplicity, entertainment, and nostalgia.

EH-video-marketing

How Video Helps Brands

Many businesses have started embedding videos on their websites and have seen an increase in conversion rates (up to 80%). If autoplay is enabled, even better. Videos are great for SEO; search engines are ranking them higher than ever before. They also increase the amount of time customers spend on your page, which gives you more of a chance to connect with them.

Video Marketing and Mobile

People spend a lot more time on their phones than they do on other Internet devices. To reach mobile users, videos should be high quality and optimized for low-bandwidth connections. Brands should take into account strong visuals and make sure the video makes sense without sound, since many people watch them in public. They should also be shorter and have a clear call to action somewhere in the middle of the video.

Businesses have noticed that video is the simplest way to convey information in the amount of space that they have. It’s guaranteed to engage with audiences, or at least distract them enough to hit play.

energyhill video marketing services

Video is the most engaging way to tell your brand’s story. Let us help you achieve brand awareness so you can start seeing some positive results. Check out our portfolio to view some of our past successful video campaigns with clients.


Influencer Marketing and Consumer Behavior

The marketing world is evolving, and so are methods for capturing an audience’s attention. Today, most people ignore traditional marketing methods like commercials and billboards. So more and more people are spending time on social media and influencer marketing is rising steadily. As a result, brands are realizing the true potential of this marketing style and how it’s affecting consumer behavior.

What is an Influencer?

Influencer marketing has been around forever, but it became popular a decade ago through social media. The modern definition of an influencer is someone who works in a specific niche and has a strong impact on the purchase decisions of others. They’re typically hailed as “experts” in topics like health, fashion, yoga, or food.

Macro and Mega Influencers

Macro and Mega influencers include celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Justin Bieber, and Ariana Grande. Large brands use macro influencers for more visibility and awareness. In this scenario, companies have a lot of control over what is posted and said about their product.

Micro Influencers 

Micro influencers are smaller, more approachable accounts that still have a considerable number of followers. Lately, brands are reaching out to micro influencers more because they’re seem to be more authentic. Also, they have proved to have better audience engagement and a fairly high ROI.

Nano Influencers

These individuals usually have less than 1,000 followers and have strong influence within their community. They’re the most relatable of the bunch and, like micro influencers, also have a high level of engagement with their followers.

Making Brands Appear Human

Companies must relinquish some creative direction when they rely on micro and nano influencers. These individuals use their own voices and personalities to make brands appear “human.” This contributes to the honesty and relatable factors that influencer marketing is all about.

However, this industry may turn out to be more misleading than genuine. Accounts must to put #ad or #sponsored in the captions of their posts if they’re promoting certain products. If they’re not careful, influencers could lose some loyal followers that feel like they’re being excessively advertised to.

Influencer Marketing and Consumer Behavior

According to the latest Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, Millennials have different values than other generations. They prioritize experiences like travel over traditional ideas of success, are spending their money with companies that align with their values, and are untrustworthy of blatant advertising. Also, they’re very aware that celebrity endorsements are hardly, if ever, authentic. More and more businesses are investing in this industry to skyrocket their engagement and reach audiences they never would have been able to reach on their own. 

Below are some successful campaigns that benefitted from influencer marketing.

nike-ad

Nike

Nike is one of the top performing brands in the industry. In 2018, they used the Colin Kaepernick controversy to their advantage and weren’t afraid to show the less polished side of the brand. In their case, the backlash helped them stay relevant. 

Apple

Apple capitalized on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) by partnering with YouTube to create “unboxing videos,” which gave influencers that were fans of the brand access to products before they even came out. This drove a huge wave of attention to the latest product as soon as it came out.

Dunkin’ Donuts

DD launched a campaign on National Donut Day and allowed eight different users to take over their Snapchat account and post their own content. This way, they expanded their audience and gained thousands of followers that they wouldn’t have been able to reach organically on their own. 

Embracing the Shift

According to Business Insider Intelligence, influencer marketing ad spend will reach $10 billion by 2022. There’s no doubt that as this industry progresses, it will become more and more difficult to appear “authentic.” Brands have to continually rework their strategies to stand out in the crowd and work with the values of their audience.

At energyhill, we know how important it is to tell your story, not just your mission statement. We’ll help you discover what makes your brand unique and do the research so that you better understand your audience and their wants. Contact us to start your campaign today and experience organic growth.

IHOP Name Change – Marketing Stunt, Campaign, or Just Luck?

Remember that brief time in pancake history when IHOP changed its name to IHOb? Yes, it was a change that left the entire nation puzzled and somewhat feeling betrayed. However, this new identity was all too swift, as they went back to their old roots. And now, this change got us questioning, was this a brilliant IHOP marketing stunt or just luck?IHOP Name Change - Marketing Stunt, Campaign, or Just Luck?

Return on Investment for the IHOP Campaign

IHOP received great exposure that put it on the spotlight. Otherwise, how else would they bring attention to their new menu addition – burgers? We can speculate that this IHOP campaign to bring attention to their burgers worked. It got people lining outside their doors, including Food and Wine. Whatever the reason for this IHOP name change was, we sure are happy to see that the beloved International House of Pancakes would never turn their backs on pancakes – as they captioned on Instagram.

IHOP Backlinks

Getting these types of backlinks (e.g. Food & Wine) is ridiculously good for IHOP. When, if ever, would IHOP get this type of exposure? They wouldn’t. This clever IHOP marketing stunt was a success that gave the chain restaurant online prominence.

IHOP Campaign Media Coverage

With any major news comes major media coverage. And of course, this IHOP campaign was no exception. The media coverage for the IHOP name change illustrated their surprise as well as that of consumers. Fox News and NBC Right Now are some of the TV news stations that commented on this change. Sure enough people took this matter to Twitter where IHOP held a poll for users to guess the meaning of their new acronym.

Brilliant IHOP Marketing Stunt

We must admit that it was the best marketing stunt ever by a chain restaurant. Why? It’s simple. Not only did this unexpected name change shake consumers to their core, it also brought plenty of press to the chain restaurants. The fine dining magazine Food & Wine, equally as surprised as the rest of us, featured the IHOP name change in an article about the restaurant’s identity. This reflects the genius behind their marketing strategy because, again, when would IHOP get this type of exposure? It got people talking everywhere, on social media, on news channels, at work. Also, curious consumers and regulars now felt they had to go and try their burgers.

https://twitter.com/AntoniaMireles_/status/1012402427587416065

Faux Outrage?

Twitter is the platform of choice for people to take their opinions to. And surely consumers gave the world a piece of their mind, but did they take it too far? Did this new name call for a boycott?

IHOP Campaign or Mere Luck

We should also consider that luck played a role in the campaign. IHOP, a stamp for pancakes, has been around for decades. What better way to make national noise than to tease a brand change, while adding new menu items and increasing foot traffic to their restaurants? But how much more creative can one get to push a campaign for a menu item? Does that mean that other chain restaurants should pull the same strategy in exchange of exposure? I dare say no, this was just a one-time thing for IHOP and I do not think it will work for other restaurants. Think cry wolf. Our digital culture is quick to realize and adapt … and even filter out future attempts. So, yes, maybe the stars aligned just right to bring them the luck IHOP needed to pull this off. However, with smart campaigns, is luck even planned for?

Well done IHOP! You kept us entertained, confused, and intrigued for a while, all to present your newest menu item and tease that you were changing your brand. At Energyhill we were fascinated by this IHOP marketing stunt and think it was a smart move for the chain. As a marketing and advertising company, we understand strategies and always devise tactics to help businesses grow. Now, don’t worry, we will not use this card of name change, but we will use business strategies to push your business forward. Contact us to get more information and get the conversation started.

Engage with us on social and give us your thoughts on this brilliant campaign. It was a campaign right IHOP?

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