From celebrity chefs to frat guys with far too much time on their hands, it seems everyone is lauding bacon as a culinary miracle. While enthusiasm for the salted, cured meat is currently running high, brand loyalty is another matter altogether. Bacon eaters are fickle; the name on the package merely a formality in their pursuit of crispy fried deliciousness. Meat producers are justifiably eager to grab hold of their share of the bacon rush. In 2015, Oscar Mayer teamed up with the digital marketing agency 360i to figure out how to nail down their share of an otherwise fickle market. Their answer was to create the Tinder of bacon—Sizzl.
That's right; Oscar Mayer commissioned a dating app centered around people's love of bacon.
Sizzl is simple. The user enters in their basic information (profile, picture, etc.) along with their most intimate bacon preferences: crispy or chewy, pork or turkey? The app then matches users by their preferences, allows them to indicate their interest, and then exchange messages.
Oscar Mayer wanted to a create a whimsical space in which their fans could engage not only with their brand but with each other. The concept seems silly, but it worked. 54,000 people ended up downloading the app, resulting in more than 890 brand impressions for OM. The bottom-line impact: a 5.4% increase in sales even in the midst of a 4.2% category-wide retraction.
There are three things community managers can take away from Sizzl’s huge success:
1. Create a Space for Community Engagement
A loose association of customers and fans is nothing more than a crowd. In developing Sizzl, Oscar Mayer created a space for those fans to come in and connect with one another; to become a true community of customers.
Research shows that an engaged community of customers fosters brand trust and loyalty, culminating in higher sales. What kind of spaces are you creating to invite customer engagement, not only with your brand but with each other?
The proliferation of community venues on social media channels like Facebook or hosted community sites like Vanilla Forums has made this easier than ever.
2. Actively Promote Your Space
Much to Kevin Costner’s chagrin, the “if you build it, they will come,” approach to marketing died several decades ago. In the case of Sizzl, it wasn’t enough to create the app. 360i developed a marketing campaign around a promotional video, social media, and earned press coverage to promote their app. It took nearly 40,000 views on YouTube 5,000 stories in the media for Sizzl to reach Oscar Mayer's desired results.
It’s not enough to create a space for your community. You have to promote it. Give customers and fans an incentive to go there and engage.
Whether you have to offer an initial stream of premium content, product discounts, or a set of exclusive perks for community members, look for creative ways to point people to your space
3. Get Out of the Way and Let Your Community Generate the Content
One of the best features of Sizzl was that Oscar Mayer was able to release it into the wild and then let it go. After the initial app development, the content was entirely generated by users. By creating a profile, they were populating the communal space and allowing the users to drive the experience.
After you’ve created your space and promoted it, encourage your community members to connect and share. Maersk Line does this better than virtually anybody. Active on over 30 social media channels, the worldwide shipping company encourages customers and fans from all over the world to photograph and video their shipping containers. The result is a steady stream of compelling visual content from all over the globe.
In the new digital media landscape, virtually every business has to deal with the same crowded field of competitors as Oscar Mayer did. Those companies who learn from their example and build engaged communities of loyal brand enthusiasts will find it much easier to compete.