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Wendy’s social media case study, presented by Brandon Rhoten

April 17, 2018 86 No Comments

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SocialMedia.org’s Brands-Only Summit is an annual event featuring 16 peer-to-peer collaborative workshops, 12 how-to classes, 12 real-world case studies, 3 brilliant authors, and 2 amazing keynotes. To learn more, visit socialmedia.org/summit/.

To download the slide presentation in this video, visit http://wom.us/1AplB6r.
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In his Brands-Only Summit presentation, Wendy’s Brandon Rhoten talks about how they convinced a multi-billion dollar system to embrace digital and social media marketing.

He shares their overall social media strategy, brand voice and tone, and how they work mobile into the marketing equation.
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Below is live coverage of this session:

— Wendy’s has been around for about 50 years, and we stared with our founder on TV. This is a brand that’s comfortable with advertising. Television has worked for a long time, it drove sales, that’s what we did.

— We also have a lot of people working for us — around 250,000 people. Convincing a large organization to change what it’s been doing well for decades can be a challenges.

— I’m going to center this conversation around three things:

-Headlines
-Our simple plan
-How we use language that the organization understands to convince the organization this is the right thing to do.

— You can imagine what a fast food company gets with 200,000 16-year-olds working for us. About once a week, we get an email that makes us cringe about something that comes up on a social network. That bit of fear has driven the organization to say they need to do something with this social media thing.

— But we’ve also had a lot of good headlines. These seriously convince an executive board that they might allocate money to it.

— First, we empowered someone to build the social media plan. I think having a person empowered ot do this is important for big organizations.

— We also had a specific focus on the habits of the consumers. We had to establish a clear voice and rules for interacting with people online. It’s not complicated, and that’s on purpose. Finally, we proved it with data that’s actually accepted in the organization — and this is going to be different for every organization. Our company is comfortable with TRPs.

— Customer habits: A desire to learn about the traditional information about their food. This was a surprise to us, but we found they wanted to know. So we built a tool on our website to help people figure it out. We built tools despite what we thought was good for our company, because people asked for it and wanted it.

— Our basic rules:

-We talk to people how, when, and where they want. We base every effort off of a trend that already exists in the market.
-Location and timing is critical (you think about Wendy’s five minutes before you go in).
-Mobile and social are a part of absolutely everything we do. We start our plans with mobile and social.
-We give people what we want.
-We’re not going to be a jerk and interrupt your experience with content.

— Our voice: Challenger with charm, don’t take life too seriously.

— What happens when you search “Massive stupidity?” A positive article for Wendy’s social strategy, “The Secret of Wendy’s Social Media Success: Massive Stupidty.” The lesson: If you don’t get people talking about what you’re doing, maybe you’re not pushing hard enough.

— An example: We’re trying to show up between a picture of your cat and your Aunt’s Facebook post. So we go with funny — we do a lot of interesting effort, but we’re trying to be entertaining, be interesting, and not take life too seriously.

— Wendy’s does not belong on Spin magazine, but sometimes we do something interesting enough on social that we end up there.

— How do we show the company that social media helps sell cheeseburger? What we do is work with partners like Neilson who helps us prove that we have cross-platform reach as well as Facebook-only reach. Some data:

-TV only: 51.7%
-Cross-Platform: 27.1%
-Facebook only: 8.3%

We equate our TRPs with revenue to give our company a conversation with the language they’re comfortable speaking.

— Our voice often uses consumer content: We’re running a program in December that’s going to use consumers talking to us in social media. We’ll be using #earnedit. Tell us how we earned it.

— Brandon puts out the call for everyone to be a part of their new campaign by using #earnedit.

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