© Four All Ice Cream Inc., Four All Ice Cream Facebook page, Retrieved from Facebook on October 30, 2017
Ice cream is a perennial favourite dessert or sneaky late night treat for most of us. Four All Ice Cream in Kitchener, Ontario, has taken the universal appeal of ice cream to heart. When Ajoa Mintah decided to pursue her dream of starting an ice cream company, she did this with an awareness of the importance of community. Four All is committed to using locally sourced ingredients which keeps Four All inextricably connected to local farmers and producers. This sense of connectivity plays out in the categories of frozen treats that they produce because there is something for everyone: Childhood, Vegan, Foodie (creative flavours), and Classic.
When asked if social media plays a role in product development, Ajoa Mintah told me about her recent social media campaign to come up the flavours and names for their Halloween treats via Facebook for their Four All-oween event. (A. Mintah, personal communication, November 1, 2017) She integrated her campaign with Four All’s Instagram account and Twitter account to drive followers to their Facebook page where the poll was held. Four All had previously solicited ice cream flavour ideas through their website. Ajoa commented that, “This is our first time explicitly crowd sourcing ice cream flavour ideas for a specific theme and timeframe.” (A. Mintah, personal communication, November 1, 2017)
The three ice creams and one vegan sorbet each had a Halloween character assigned to it. The initial poll first established what the main flavour would be for the Halloween ghoul. The follow-up poll was to name the new flavours. The customers who participated in the poll had to name a Ghost ice cream that is blue and has toasted marshmallow, a Zombie ice cream with pistachio and white chocolate cranberry bark, a Vampire ice cream with dark chocolate, raspberry and cherry, and a Witch sour apple and hard cider sorbet. The customers who won the naming contest were given a free pint of the ice cream they named.
Using social media for product development by running polls for ice cream flavours is also a great way to build customer engagement with the brand. Because it is ice cream, it naturally lends itself to a sense of fun in coming up with names. The ice cream names that the customers came up with had a sense of whimsy, humour, and a dash of the macabre which was in keeping with the holiday.
Lessons for Others
Ajoa noted, “It is my observation that posts that solicit our customers input or ideas get the most traffic and engagement.” (A. Mintah, personal communication, November 1, 2017). Including social media polls in product development is a fun way to engage with customers. This level of personal involvement that customers have through product development polls are great incentives to get customers to purchase the products they feel connected to.
Social media for businesses is ultimately about building a community between the brand and their customers but also between the customers themselves. Polls such as the ones that Four All ran for their ice cream flavours had customers interacting with one another. This type of rapport engenders a feeling of goodwill amongst the customers that Four All is trying to reach through social media. This positive experience will carry on outside of the confines of Facebook and into real world interactions such as word of mouth recommendations of their product but most importantly it will lead to sales of ice cream.
Four All Ice Cream Inc.
Industry: Food Services
Name of Organization Contact: Ajoa Mintah
Authored by: Christina Austin
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Four All Home Page. (n.d.) Four All Ice Cream. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.fourall.ca/
Shaw, Richard. (n.d.). The New Innovation: How Social Media Informs Product Development. American Marketing Association. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.ama.org/publications/MarketingInsights/Pages/the-new-innovation.aspx.
Gehman, Stephanie. (2011, October 31). 3 Ways to Use Social Media for Product Research and Development. Social Media Examiner. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/3-ways-to-use-social-media-for-product-research-and-development/.