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Social Media in the Confectionery Industry


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How the confectionery industry can use social media marketing for profitable growth. Presented at the 65th annual PMCA Production Conference in Lancaster, PA, April 2011, and published in the June 2011 issue of The Manufacturing Confectioner magazine.

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Social Media in the Confectionery Industry

  1. 1. Using Social Media toSweeten ConfectioneryIndustry GrowthThe millions of conversations on social media provide us newways to learn more about what matters to our customers.Pete HealyGyroHSR listen to and understand customers — forT he best businesses in any industry focus tirelessly on the ultimate driver of theirsuccess: the customer. The confectionery now, let’s focus specifically on consumers — has grown almost unimaginably throughindustry has important channel partners — the advent of social media. By now thedistributors, wholesalers, retailers — who names of social network sites such as Face-are, of course, valued customers. But the book and LinkedIn have become familiar toultimate arbiter of our success is the cus- many of us, but these represent just a part oftomer we call a consumer, because this is the tens of millions of online conversationsthe person who decides whether our tea- that also take place around the clock on Pete Healy is VPinfused chocolate, our carbonated chewing blogs, forums and platforms such as Twit- account planning at GyroHSR LLC. Prior togum or our guacamole-flavored jelly bean is ter. Millions of additional pieces of what this appointment heworth the money in his or her pocket today, has come to be known as consumer-gener- was the director ofand whether it will still be worth the price ated content — photos shared on Flickr, Crowbar Marketing.tomorrow. videos uploaded to YouTube and the like He previously worked at Perfetti Van Melle Understanding customers — and thereby — are posted daily. If our ability to capture USA and Jelly Bellygaining their business — depends largely, of consumer conversations five years ago was Candy Company.course, on listening. Even when a customer akin to overhearing occasional snatches ofisn’t yet sure what he or she wants, that very water-cooler conversation, it now seems thatuncertainty can provide us insights that lead we have been transported into the middle ofto new opportunities to meet that cus- cacophonous crowds in Times Square ontomer’s needs — and very possibly the same New Year’s Eve.or similar needs of the customer’s friends, And, frankly, the quality of the conver-family or colleagues. This is true whether sations varies as broadly as the range of top-we sell candy, computers or carpeting. ics, from the mundane to the philosophical, In just the last five years our ability to from politics to potato chips. We are, after ➤ The Manufacturing Confectioner • June 2011 37
  2. 2. Social Media in the Confectionery IndustrySocial media offers all, just plain people before we’re con- retain loyal consumers in an intensely com- the confectionery sumers, but therein lies the payoff. We are petitive, impulse-driven category. industry an social animals, and most of us enjoy being “in the know,” sharing our opinions and THE CURRENT SOCIAL MEDIA unprecedented LANDSCAPEXXXXXXXXXXXXX opportunity to influencing others. How good is that new In 2008, Brian Solis, a highly regarded new- leverage the voice restaurant? Which 4G cell phone is the best? Is that new dark chocolate candy bar as media thought leader based in San Fran- of the customer in good as it looks? cisco, mapped the “universe” of social- developing and Like it or not, people — consumers, in media sites as a color wheel (Figure 1),delivering products commercial terms — are using social media with a spectrum that ranged from main- that can attract, to talk about our products and our brands. stream and niche social network sites engage and retain (Facebook, LinkedIn) to video and music This is human nature, but now vastly ampli- loyal consumers. sites (YouTube, Pandora) to blog and con- fied through a new-media universe that’s here to stay. Do we want to listen? Do we versation platforms (Blogger, Tumblr, Twit- want to learn? Do we want to converse ter). This map, which Solis entitled “The with people who clearly are engaged Conversation Prism,” also depicts dozens enough to share their raves, complaints, of other sites through which millions of suggestions and desires? Social media people share text-based and graphic con- offers the confectionery industry an tent of all types. Solis’s map is an insight- unprecedented opportunity to leverage the ful snapshot of a very young universe; some voice of the customer in developing and of the sites listed will disappear over time, delivering products — and an overall brand while others will grow and new ones arise. experience — that can attract, engage and Still, the point is that people have signed on to social media at an accelerating rate, evenThe Conversation Prism if it’s only to see (or share) photos of their grandchildren on Facebook. In fact, Americans have embraced sev- eral social network sites with fervor (with one exception: MySpace, one of the first mainstream sites, now in decline as newer sites grow dramatically). Figure 2 summa- rizes key attributes of the current main- stream social-media sites: The social-media landscape extends, of course, beyond network sites like these. The Ning platform or metasite (www.ning. com) comprises a virtual gated community of thousands of niche-interest groups rang- ing from accountants to rock-climbers to devotees of Renaissance music. The site invites visitors to create and run their own social networks under the Ning umbrella for a monthly fee. Figure 1 Flickr is perhaps the best-known photo- ➤38 June 2011 • The Manufacturing Confectioner
  3. 3. Social Media in the Confectionery Industrysharing site, containing an estimated 4.5 bil- “spectators” contribute no content, but Approximatelylion images uploaded by members into gal- read customer ratings and reviews, among 80,000 blogs areleries of all types. Approximately other activities; even at this lowest rung of launched each day,80,000 blogs are launched each day, with participation, social media is influencing with the total nowthe total now numbering in excess of 110 purchase decisions on a scale far beyond numbering in excessmillion (although many have become dig- traditional word of mouth. The amplifica- of 110 million.ital flotsam, unattended by their authors). tion of influence was recognized byTens of thousands of forums are main- Bernoff and Li when they added “conver-tained by people sharing interests in every- sationalists” to their model in 2010. Thesething from car seats to carpentry. Fiskars is are participants who do not generally postone company that has revitalized its brand original content, but who actively fosterof scissors by creating a forum dedicated to discussions on blogs, forums, opinion sitesand administered by passionate scrapbook and the like. At the top of the socialhobbyists ( technographics ladder are the “critics” and Of course, not everyone participates “creators” who, as their labels imply, reg-equally. In late 2007, Josh Bernoff and ularly post product reviews and authorCharlene Li of Forrester Research intro- blog entries, and upload photos, videos orduced a “social technographics ladder” to other content. (Of note is the fact thatrepresent the range of activity (Figure 3). videos and annotated photos are now“Inactives,” unsurprisingly, do not partic- widely used for many product reviews.)ipate in social media, although they may Why have millions of people gotten souse the internet to shop, for email or for involved in social media? First is the coresimilar “Web 1.0” activities. One step up, fact that, as we’ve noted, human beings areKey Attributes of Current Mainstream Social Media Sites Facebook Users (2011): 525MM worldwide; 154MM in USA (double since 2009) Demographics: 18 – 24 yrs = 25%; 25 – 34 yrs = 25%; 35 – 44 yrs = 20% Site Character: “Friends & family” Notes: Average FB user is on the site 25 min per day; 71% of all U.S. internet users on FB Twitter Users (2011): 190MM worldwide; 90MM in USA (up from 12MM in 2009) Demographics: 45% of users >35 yrs (average user age = 39) Site Character: Real-time, experiential, eclectic: from the mundane to the profound Notes: Annual household income of users: 30%>$100k, 58% >$60k YouTube Views (2011): Two billion views per day worldwide (600MM in USA) Demographics: Global Site Character: Eclectic in content, multilingual, multicultural Notes: FB users in aggregate watch 46.2 years of YouTube videos per day; each auto-share tweet about a YouTube video spurs seven new YouTube user sessions LinkedIn Users (2011): 95MM worldwide; 45MM in USA Demographics: 64% male; average user age = 41 Site Character: Professional; networking and discussion forums Notes: Average annual household income of users: $110k MySpace Users (2011): 46MM (USA); down from 65MM in 2009 Demographics: 56% female; 44% are 18 – 34 yrs Site Character: Bands, high school students, 30-something moms Notes: Annual household income: 46% at <$60k Figure 2 ➤ The Manufacturing Confectioner • June 2011 39
  4. 4. Social Media in the Confectionery Industry The simultaneous inherently social animals. We want to outfits: these all represent the role of development of a belong. Beyond our obvious survival needs, brands in our need for self-identity, self-consumerist culture we want to voice our thoughts, exchange expression and peer affinity. and mass ideas and learn from others. In fact, for many of us, these two emo- communications Second, the simultaneous development tional drivers have engendered a third, during the 20th of a consumerist culture and mass com- which we can call the brand/friend blur, century fostered munications during the 20th century fos- that is, the fact that we often rely on brands our tendency to tered our tendency to connect to brands for comfort, excitement or other emotional — to choose Ford over Chevy, for exam- boosts — much as we might expect from connect to brands ple — through our relationships with other friends. Coffee shops were coffee shops through our people. Describing the merits of the new until Starbucks came along, elevating the relationships with Lexus around the water cooler, debating emotional reward of consuming coffee to other people. who makes the best golf clubs with friends a level that engendered remarkable and at a barbecue or seeing platoons of teens at enduring brand loyalty. The coffeehouse the mall all wearing Abercrombie & Fitch chain remains a friend of sorts to count- less millions around the world. Fourth and last, online social media andThe Social Technographics Ladder networks have immeasurably increased the opportunities each of us has to be a “brand champion,” that is, to recommend a product, a service or a brand to a far larger and widespread audience than our traditional circles of family, friends and colleagues. Of course, the same audience is available when we play the role of a “brand detractor”; either way, the point is that social media provides for many individuals a scope of influence unimaginable even 10 years ago. But that’s not all, as some TV ads pro- claim. Another wave of amplification is hitting us at this moment: the increasingly rapid diffusion of mobile technology in the form of smartphones (Figure 4). The inter- net marketing-research company com- Score reports than one in four cell phone owners in the United States now uses a smartphone, a clear indication that we’re increasingly online while on the move. In fact, comScore research confirms that nearly 40 percent of smartphone owners are using internet browser functions to access news and information online, and Figure 3 nearly 25 percent regularly use their smart- ➤40 June 2011 • The Manufacturing Confectioner
  5. 5. Social Media in the Confectionery Industryphones to access social network sites. This Consider a broader issue such as the crit- The likely fact ismeans that the conversations that take icisms expressed by some health advocates that consumers areplace across the internet have even greater and consumers over the use of high-fruc- already talkingreach as people participate from smart- tose corn syrup in food and beverage prod- about your brandphones and other mobile devices. ucts, including, of course, confectionery. or your business. Your company may have received no You can remainIMPLICATIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES inquiries or complaints so far, but the man- silent while theFOR CONFECTIONERY R&D/PRODUCTIONNXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX ner in which social media disseminates and conversation perpetuates discussion — with, arguably, a continues, or youSociology and changes in the media land- disproportionate representation of extreme can present yourscape are well and good, but what do theymatter for confectionery-industry profes- opinion — may at some point draw your own point of view.sionals working in product development or business into the fray. Why do you use high-production? The answer lies not only in how fructose corn syrup in your products? Whysocial media amplifies, but how it also accel- don’t you label it more clearly on yourerates conversation among consumers, and packaging? When do you plan to stop usingbetween consumers and businesses. Con- it? The risk to your company’s reputationsider the consumer who feels she received and to its brand image may be unhelpful response from your customer Senior corporate managers may right-service department to her question about fully object to the possibility of unjustifieda possible allergen in your product. In the attacks or ill-informed accusations fromrecent past she may have told a handful of vocal activists online. Marketing managersothers about her dissatisfaction. Today, she may fear that they will “lose control ofhas the option of using her blog or a social their brand” if they venture into the social-network to share her discontent (or worse) media realm. But if you are one of thosewith hundreds or thousands of others managers, the likely fact is that consumersinstantly, some of whom will likely share or are already talking about your brand orecho her message with others in their own your business. You can remain silent whilenetworks. This ripple effect can be aston- the conversation continues, or you canishingly fast; and while it may dissipate just present your own point of view. Whenas quickly, it may also gain force as it mom-bloggers were offended by an onlinespreads, provoking attention from reporters ad campaign for Motrin in September 2008,in mainstream media. they unleashed their anger quickly and vociferously on their blogs and throughSocial Media Amplification Twitter. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the maker of Motrin, was further criticized for being slow and insincere in its apology. Once the apology was made, however, some mom bloggers called upon others to let the issue go, showing that a sense of fairness can prevail in social media, just as in offline communities. Returning to a positive scenario, con- sumers may be delighted with your new Figure 4 tea-infused chocolate truffles. You may dis- ➤ The Manufacturing Confectioner • June 2011 41
  6. 6. Social Media in the Confectionery Industry Social media cover that several prominent bloggers are bucks Idea, an online social community provides the R&D generating many positive comments in the coffeehouse chain launched in the or production response to their posts about your prod- spring of 2008. The premise was straight- professional the uct. In fact, someone has set up a Face- forward, as Starbucks told visitors to the opportunity to book page where nearly a thousand fans site, “You know better than anyone else access the voice are already sharing their ideas for new fla- what you want from Starbucks. So tell us.” of the consumer vors; seaweed-infused truffles are winning A recent check of the site showed thatalmost immediately, at the moment. more than 44,000 ideas have been submit- in real time and Of course, several aspects of these sce- ted for food and beverage items, including with little effort. narios — package design or new-flavor flavors, blends and formulations. This fig- requests, for example — traditionally fall ure does not include another 21,000 ideas within marketing or customer service. Here for merchandise other than food and bev- again, though, the rules are changing. Social erages. It also does not include thousands media not only amplifies and accelerates, of suggestions related to the customer it provides even the r & d or production experience inside Starbucks locations. professional ensconced in the most remote While Starbucks has the advantages of a laboratory or office the opportunity to global brand and thousands of its own access the voice of the consumer almost storefronts, it achieved that status only by immediately, in real time and with little listening to its customers. The advent of effort. Whether that professional scans social media has given the company even social media to stay ahead of potential more opportunities to deepen the engage- problems or to stay current with her col- ment and loyalty of its fans. leagues in marketing, customer service or sales, online conversations offer a tremen- IMPLICATIONS FOR CONSUMER- dous wealth of information and insights. DRIVEN BRAND ENGAGEMENTX In 2010, the semiconductor manufacturer If consumers increasingly regard their Intel decided to ask consumers for new favorite brands as a part of their self-iden- product ideas. The company launched a tity, as a platform for peer affinity and even Facebook page through which consumers as vehicles for self-expression, social media could submit their own ideas or comment clearly offer new ways to project those on those submitted by others. The winner emotional elements. Yes, that may be true of this promotion would be named vice pres- for cars or clothing, one might say, but isn’t ident of r&d for a day, with the chance to it far-fetched to ascribe the same dynamics work with Intel engineers at the company’s to a roll of mints or a bag of candy corn? product-development center. Other prizes Most marketers would agree that this is included notebook computers and software. not far-fetched, since the physical product, The results of the 10-week event were as important as it is, constitutes only the remarkable: 53,000 participants who gen- starting point for creating a brand experi- erated 5,000 unique ideas; 200,000 views ence that, if positive, can grow and deepen of those ideas; 8,000 comments and 110,000 over time. When the consumer’s emotional ratings; and a total of 420,000 engagements attachment is validated by positive reac- between consumers and the Intel brand. tions from others in his network, his Perhaps more relevant to food-industry engagement with the brand deepens, rais- professionals is the example of My Star- ing the odds that he will continue to pur- ➤42 June 2011 • The Manufacturing Confectioner
  7. 7. Social Media in the Confectionery Industrychase the product. While the relevance of snacks a new way to share their enthusiasm Consumers useproduct categories varies for each con- for the brand. Without a large marketing social media tosumer depending on his or her needs and budget, the company chose Facebook as its amplify theirdesires, confectionery has the advantage platform to launch a series of monthly con- engagement. Theirof being a fun, low-cost category from a tests and sweepstakes, each centered on posts accelerateconsumer standpoint. sharing and rating consumer-generated con- imitation and The low-cost, low-risk attributes of con- tent, ranging from fan videos to flavor ideas. engagement byfectionery make it an easy product to talk Visitors to the Tornados Facebook page others. Marketersabout. Trial based on someone’s recom- could download coupons, and win points can access thesemendation is usually simple and inexpen- redeemable for Tornados-branded mer- engagements moresive, and in the “flat world” of social media, chandise — and even a family trip to a easily and broadlynothing more is required to post an opinion Nascar race at Daytona — by commenting than ever before.or review. (In fact, even product trial is on other visitors’ content. When the Face-optional, if one chooses to dismiss an item book page reached 100,000 fans, Ruiz Foodsas too weird, unhealthy or otherwise unde- committed to providing 100,000 free boxessirable.) In broader social terms, confec- of Tornados through downloadable buy-tionery is an easy conversation starter. Just one, get-one e-coupons. By the end of thelike wandering into a neighborhood party, campaign, the company had gained morethe first-time visitor to Twitter or another than two million brand engagements withsocial network site uses the topic to break consumers online and well over 150,000the ice, project some personality, establish new Facebook fans. And by any measure,rapport and create new acquaintances. If I Ruiz Foods was successful in boosting thelike salted licorice and you like sweet, we Tornados brand by using social media inshare a starting point from which to explore. combination with tried-and-true promo- But if I like Darrell Lea licorice and you tional activities to create new fans andprefer Panda, then we move from category strengthen consumer brand brands, adding another dimension to By now, millions of pieces of consumer-the conversation. Confectionery is inher- generated content about brands (includingently fun, at the same time evoking child- confectionery) have been shared on blogs,hood memories and other pleasant asso- Facebook and Twitter, and through videosciations. But we can talk only so long about and photos uploaded to YouTube, Flickr anda product type or category in general. similar sites. Consumers use social media toBrands, as we have noted, provide a spring- amplify their engagement. Their posts accel-board to do more, to project our individual erate imitation and engagement by others,personalities. Brands often serve as a and marketers can access these engage-means of self-expression. This is evident ments, however large or small, more easilyin consumer actions that range from the and broadly than ever before.simple — for example, the habitual use ofa tagline from a TV ad — to the elaborate, LEVERAGING SOCIAL MEDIA FROMas when friends gather to drop chewy mints CONCEPT TO CASH REGISTERXXXXXinto bottles of soda, releasing foamy gey- How do we turn brand engagementsers and provoking boisterous amusement. through social media into sales that help In the summer of 2009 Ruiz Foods our businesses grow? This can be done indecided to give fans of their Tornados hot numerous ways through each step of the ➤ The Manufacturing Confectioner • June 2011 43
  8. 8. Social Media in the Confectionery Industry Companies that process from product concept to cash reg- • LinkedIn Groups to track conversations integrate social ister, and can be tailored to the goals and on technical issues, particularly in inter- resources of any manufacturer. national contexts. media into their Corazonas Foods, a manufacturer of Marketing culture and • Facebook to engage consumers in con- operations will snack foods based in Los Angeles, is a good versation about your brands and products. strengthen example. Driven by the death of her father • Twitter and Facebook to promote and alignment of their from heart disease, ceo Ramona Cappello report in real time on sponsored events, business and started the company in 2005 with the goal roadshows, in-store demos. of creating tortilla chips and other snacks • Flickr to share event photos, or to invite brand strategies. that both taste good and can actually lower consumers to post their own photos cholesterol. The company’s products con- related to their experience of your tain plant sterols that have been clinically brands or products. • YouTube to share event or roadshow shown to provide this benefit, and prod- video, or to invite consumer-generated uct packaging includes the FDA-approved content related to a contest or promotion. health claim. • Google Analytics to understand visitor Corazonas Foods is another company traffic to and on your brand or company that has chosen Facebook as their key website, and to integrate website and social media platform through which to social-media consumer/brand touch- create and retain fans and customers. Much points more effectively. • Mobile applications to deliver incentives like Ruiz Foods, Corazonas offers coupons and personalized content to opt in con- through the social network site, but also sumers (may be triggered by shopper goes further with a direct “Prove It” chal- scans of quick response codes at point lenge. A visitor can register her name and of sale). email, and then have her cholesterol tested Sales/trade support before and after eating Corazonas snacks • LinkedIn Company or Group page(s) over a four-week period. If her cholesterol for distribution of value-add informa- doesn’t drop, the visitor will receive a tion to channel partners or retail trade customers. refund. The company extends the brand • Twitter for real-time updates on in-store experience, including social-media ele- demos or other promotional events. ments, all the way to the point of purchase, Customer service/consumer affairs where shoppers can receive cholesterol • Addictomatic or similar low-cost tools screenings near Corazonas displays and to scan consumer sentiment or response in-store sampling. The company uses Twit- to specific events. ter to announce screening schedules and • Twitter or Facebook to engage consumers, itineraries for interested consumers. facilitate resolution of complaints, proj- In general terms, then, manufacturers ect responsive image for the company. can leverage social media and digital tools INTEGRATION INTO BUSINESS in a number of ways to differentiate and STRATEGIESXXXXXXXXXXXXXX strengthen their brands: By its nature, social media is open and Product concepts/product innovation accessible. Conversation and collaboration • Google Alerts and similar tools to scan replace the one-way “push” communica- blogs and forums for trend-focused con- tions of traditional advertising and Web 1.0 versations on analogous categories such as flavored beverages, baked goods or corporate websites. Social media therefore cross-cultural fusion foods. challenges companies to attain higher lev- ➤44 June 2011 • The Manufacturing Confectioner
  9. 9. Social Media in the Confectionery Industryels of collaboration across corporate func- brand loyalty that drives sales and to The fundamentaltions in order to compete more effectively. improve operations while reducing inter- goal is to tap socialIn fact, companies that integrate social nal functional silos. For that reason, social- media as a newmedia into their culture and operations media team members should never be iso- tool to gainwill strengthen alignment of their business lated in a separate “department” of customer insights,and brand strategies, in turn strengthen- whatever sort, called upon only when a to innovate, toing brand equity and brand loyalty among manager wants a “funny viral video.” build brand loyaltyconsumers. that drives sales Like other c p g (consumer packaged RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT CONSIDERATIONSXXXXXX and to improvegoods) companies, confectionery manu- operations while That’s all great, one may ask, but what’sfacturers can integrate social media into reducing internal the bottom line? What’s the r o i (returntheir operations in various ways, depend- functional silos. on investment) of social media for a candying on business goals, resources and inter- company? In these early days of this newnal culture. Nonetheless, the foundationmust be a firm and sustained commitment media landscape, there is no single, simpleby senior management to leverage social answer. The good news is that tools ofmedia in order to do the following: measurement abound; the big questions• Engage consumers openly and authen- are what to measure, and why. tically about the company’s products Some successful business people see and brands. social media as an investment in learning• Recognize and reward fans of the com- more about customers through dialogue, pany’s brands. or as a way to anticipate and leverage• Optimize opportunities to support trends sooner and more effectively. What and/or promote retail trade customers. is the r o i on equipping your sales force• Inform those interested about the com- pany’s community-focused programs or with cell phones? What was the point of events. creating a company website 10 years ago?• Represent the industry of which the In fact, as more companies begin to use company is part. social media, what may have provided aWith appropriate support, senior man- competitive edge two years ago is fastagement in each functional area should becoming table stakes. But as we know,evaluate and propose ways to leverage ultimately there is a cost and, therefore, asocial media, and toward what objectives. net value to any business activity.“Appropriate support” in planning, imple- The debate over the roi of social mediamentation and periodic measurement can reflects the tension between opportunitytake the form of a nimble cross-functional and risk in a new marketing landscape. Butteam trained in social-media practices. (For it has been intensified by attempts (oftenthose wondering why this would matter to by social-media proponents) to applyaccounting or hr managers, it’s worth not- financial terminology to nonfinancial meas-ing that professionals in those fields are ures: the number of hits on a companygenerally very active on social network microsite, the number of fans on a Face-sites such as LinkedIn and Ning.) book brand page, the number of views of Keep in mind that the fundamental goal a company’s YouTube video and the to tap social media as a new tool to gain These can be meaningful indicators, butcustomer insights, to innovate, to build they clearly are not financial measures. ➤ The Manufacturing Confectioner • June 2011 45
  10. 10. Social Media in the Confectionery Industry The millions of At this point the value of the sales-fun- with brands and with the companies that conversations on nel model comes to mind. Can we evaluate produce those brands. The one-way “push” social media can and select social-media-related indicators of traditional advertising is now joined by teach us new ways that might lead toward conversion? Can conversations moving in all directions. In to learn more we connect one consumer/brand touch- this rapidly changing landscape, marketersabout what matters point to another, and track the progression fear “losing control” of their brands and to our customers, to quantifiable sales points? For example, ceos wonder whether social media can including how they can we launch interactive digital ads that really help business. lead viewers to our microsite, where they But if nothing else, we have learned that influence each would receive an incentive to share with the millions of conversations on socialother, and why they friends via Twitter or Facebook, ultimately media can teach us new ways to learn morechoose to purchase driving new sales at nearby retailers? about what matters to our customers, our products. As mobile applications multiply, 4G cell including how they influence each other, phones with geo-location become com- and why they choose to purchase — or monplace, and quick response (q r) codes bypass — our products. We can explore the provide manufacturers with new ways to new social-media landscape one step at a incentivize consumers all the way to the time, learning as we go, if we’re commit- retail aisle, a social-media-driven sales fun- ted in that effort. This includes the clear nel becomes increasingly feasible. We have understanding that fans on Facebook don’t discussed the rapid diffusion of smartphones, equal register rings, but that more fans can which enables increasing numbers of con- mean more sales, more often if we set the sumers, while standing before product dis- right goals and measures. plays in a store aisle, to interact with the People are talking about our brands; that companies that make those products. We is a simple reality. The question is whether also have discussed the opportunity to use we believe we can grow our businesses by social-media platforms in combination with ignoring or by engaging in those conver- each other and with traditional marketing sations. As new as social media still is, smart tactics. In the case of Corazonas Foods and companies already know the answer. n its cholesterol-lowering snack products, this approach has enabled them to increase their REFERENCES share of acv (all commodity volume) up to Bernoff, Josh. Empowered. Forrester Blogs. Jan- uary 2010. Web: http://forrester.typepad. 40 percent in key markets, a remarkable com/groundswell/2010/01/conversationalists- achievement for a small company in an get-onto-the-ladder.html intensely competitive category. Bernoff, Josh, Charlene Li. Social Techno- But in all cases, and regardless of tactics graphics Ladder. Forrester Research, 2010. or technology, the essential nature of social Solis, Brian. The Conversation Prism v2.0. media remains paramount, in the form of @BrianSolis blog. March 30, 2009. Web: h t t p : / / w w w. b r i a n s o l i s. c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 0 3 / a willing partnership and ongoing dialogue conversation-prism-v20/ of the consumer with the brand marketer. CONCLUSION The advent and spread of social media in hardly more than five years has trans- formed the relationship consumers have Presented at the PMCA Production Conference46 June 2011 • The Manufacturing Confectioner