I still love what TB is doing, but I have a new shining star example of a brand doing marketing, particularly social, right: Wendy’s.
I’ve always been a fan of Wendy’s and have eaten way too much of it in my lifetime (raise your hand if you love a spicy chicken sandwich meal!). Plus, who didn’t absolutely adore Dave Thomas?
Up until recently, though, Wendy’s has taken a back seat in the fast food game. Until the brand decided to have some fun and executed lots of award-winning social content as well as traditional media to shape the brand over the past five years. Last week, I got to hear from them at Ragan Communications’ Social Media Conference at Disney World. Here are some examples of what they did from a social — particularly community management — standpoint.
Make Friends, and Invite Them to Lunch
Jimmy Bennett, senior director at Wendy’s, said they wouldn’t be doing the brand justice if they were only using social to make friends. So, they “invited them to lunch.” But first, they asked themselves, “Why are consumers on social media and what do they want to get out of it?” They did tons of research and social listening to find out.
The image above (from the conference presentation) shows their approach from equity messaging (listening, helping, entertaining), to price point messaging (offers, assistance, pricing, etc.). Pretty straightforward, but effective. After awhile, after they listened and learned, and put a messaging plan in place, it was time for the next step.
Find Your Voice
Wendy’s is SASSY. But they have different approaches to the sass with their “sass factor.” Case in point: They may speak differently on Twitter than on TV. And even on Twitter, they need to be mindful of how they are sassy, particularly if a customer has an issue. Here is their sass factor scale:
- Lively: Full of life/energy
- Cheeky: Impudent or irreverent in an endearing way
- Feisty: Lively, determined
Roast-ess with the Most-ess
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Wendy’s is the ultimate roaster on Twitter. While roasting isn’t new (thanks, Jeff Ross), Wendy’s took their sass to a whole new level with #NationalRoastDay. And so many brands were here for it. Plus, this is something few would expect from a fast food restaurant from humble Ohio beginnings. Now it’s a yearly thing. Some of my favorite highlights from this year:
Amazing! And after all that sass, the brand mostly had all positive sentiment and a huge lift, including:
- 68.9 million Twitter impressions
- 101.3 million earned media impressions
- 737% increase in mentions of Wendy’s
- They didn’t mention sales here, but I have to think they were good
I wish I could share their sizzle highlight video from the past year — it was epic. As Michael Scott would say, “Boom, ROASTED!”
During the presentation, Matt Keck from VMLY&R (Wendy’s agency), noted that we can’t ALL be on Twitter roasting Hooters or making a mixtape against McDonald’s and Burger King. He jokingly said that you’re not going to see a brand like Sherwin-Williams say, “This paint is lit!” Well sure enough, a member of the audience tweeted at Sherwin-Willliams and this was the amazing result:
Now, to Matt’s point in all honesty, we can’t all have the Wendy’s sass. It just doesn’t work for most audiences. But the takeaway that Jimmy and Matt said, was that great ideas are critical, but not nearly enough of us are dedicating time to these great ideas. The Wendy’s team looked at the noise, turned it into data, and then from that data, put it into action. Their tip? Become observant and capture ideas and insights right in the moment. From there, you can come up with your own version of “roasting” even if you’re talking about HVAC equipment or hospital beds. It will just look slightly different…
Now excuse me, I’m off to dip my fries into my frosty.