Organization Name: Lay’s Canada
Industry: Food & Beverage
Name of Contact: N/A
Web References: pepsico.ca, lays.ca/flavour
Twitter Posts:@layscanada, #dousaflavourcanada
Facebook Posts:Lays Canada
Despite the best laid plans of marketers in the food and beverage sector today, the use of social media in most marketing campaigns remains a rather listless comment/response dynamic that has done little to further the relationships customers have with brands. A ping to their pong. But with the third edition of the popular “Do Us a Flavour” contest, Lay’s Canada has found a way to not just engage their customers in social interactions and discussions – their customers are helping to create the very products the company is trying to promote!
Born as a way to try to engage their customers in new product ideas and development, the Do Us a Flavour campaign is crowdsourcing at its finest. A customer base creates – and picks – the best new products for the company, then this same customer base helps distribute the news via their own social networks.
As background, the contest invites customers to submit:
- their taste idea
- three required ingredients
- a chip style (Original, Wavy or Kettle Cooked)
- and the region of Canada that inspired the flavour
(Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec, or Atlantic Canada)
The four best ideas, as judged by a company panel, are created and distributed across Canada for customers to try. They then vote via a microsite that is linked to Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Winners receive a $50,000 prize, plus 1% of all sales of their chip flavour.
Since the contest’s inception two years ago, Lay’s has received over 2 million suggestions from across Canada (http://pepsico.ca/en/PressRelease) – a substantial success from both a product development, and brand awareness, perspective. But when looked at through the filter of social media efficacy, this story just keeps getting better and better.
As customers have purchased and tried the four finalist flavours, they have taken to social media en masse. Facebook shares. Tweets that have trended. Even posts on YouTube where people of all ages, and demographics, have taken to reviewing the products for their followers, have only helped to stimulate the hunger for the chips.
One of the most compelling elements of this campaign has been the way that Canadians have beckoned fellow customers to vote based on geographical regions, flavour groups, and even a preference for Wavy over Kettle-cooked chips, and how these groups have utilized social media to further their cause. This has provided Lay’s with the type of discussion and engagement that traditional media simply does not allow for. At its most base level, it offers Lay’s an almost voyeuristic look at how people are reacting to – and discussing – their products. But taken a step further, it has allowed the company to enter into conversations with these users, based on the users’ preferred types of media (be it Facebook, Twitter, forums, users groups, chat, text, YouTube, etc.) and about topics and issues that are customer-driven. It is these discussions that research has shown to be the most predictive in terms of affinity, willingness to promote and endorse, and the most useful in cases of conflict resolution and user concerns.
Ultimately, what may differentiate this campaign from almost any others currently in the marketplace, is in the cycle from conceptualization through to promotion. It takes ideas, generated by their own customers, and delivers it to the market for everyone to try. This take-to-market provides a sense of input for the contestants that serves to make them engaged participants in the process. It then encourages discussion and interactions on the social media level, in a sense, reviewing the work of the fellow participants. They have essentially created a process whereby customers determine the product, then promote and endorse it themselves, to their own followers and influencers. A full circle of the business cycle:
It is in establishing this community of participants that Lay’s has the real success. By creating a common goal and the means for accomplishing it, it links customers to the contest, to fellow participants, but most importantly from a marketing perspective, the brand. And despite the ways that we engage, affinity for the brand will always be the flavour of the day.