Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cool Branding Event! Social Media Contest Boosts Rita's Italian Ice

Offering promotional products and free cold treats is a great way to make new friends. That's a lesson Rita's Franchise Company, the Trevose, PA¬-based operator of the popular Italian ice and custard shops, learned during a recent Facebook campaign – doubling its fans in two weeks and driving traffic to its 500-plus locations.

This year, as it has done for the past 17 years, the company offered a free Italian ice to every customer who visited one of its stores on the first day of spring. But this year, Rita's introduced a new flavor – the Peeps Italian Ice, co-branded with Peeps Marshmallow Candies – and rolled out an aggressive social media program to boost interest.

"Every year we do something different," says Kelly Banaszak, chief corporate communications director for Rita's. She gives the example of last year, when Rita's held a contest inviting guests to try a "secret flavor" of Italian ice and then suggest a name for it online.

For this year's promotion, the company gave away a year's supply of Rita's ice to a randomly selected Facebook fan every day for two weeks in late March and early April. Additionally, for every 1,000 new fans that joined the company's page, a lucky winner received a swag bag full of branded Rita's and Peeps promotional products. These included stuffed-animal Peeps and the Rita's Ice Guy, as well as T-shirts and coupons. "It was a fun mix of products from both of our brands," says Banaszak.

Partnering with Lórel Marketing Group, Rita's helped the promotion go viral by developing Peeps Fandemonium, a Facebook application where users could assess their "Peeps-onality" (playful, sassy, etc.) and post the iconic marshmallow bunnies and chicks to their Facebook page. Lórel further helped Rita's spread the word through in-store advertising, radio promotions and online, through Rita's website and e-mails to its Birthday Club database.

Rita's saw a spike of 28,000 fans in one day, and by the end of the Fandemonium campaign, the company had added more than 105,000 new fans, more than doubling the number of fans to 210,000. There was also a traffic increase at the store level, as the number of guests visiting to get their free Italian ice on the first day of spring spiked to 1.3 million, up from 1.2 million last year.

Following this success, Rita's began a co-branded promotion with Tastykake, offering a Butterscotch Krimpets-flavor cream ice starting at the end of July. "We're giving out more prize packs and doing another Facebook promotion," says Banaszak. "It was a huge success and we're really happy with how it's gone."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Great Post from Seth Godin

Any of us that work toward making change in an organization or a community can relate to this. I love it...and will start to incorporate it in my life!

Turning the tables on critical trolls
How to deal with the colleague/board member/voter who is quick to criticize whatever you're proposing?

It can't work/it's been done before/it's never been done before/you can't do it/we don't have the time/money/skills...

So easy to be right when everyone else is wrong, so easy to be confident when someone else is putting themselves on the line.

I start with this: do we agree that there's a problem? An opportunity?

Do we agree that we need to take action, that something needs to be done, that there's an opportunity here?

If we don't agree on that, then don't waste time listening to my solution. Before we do that, let's spend more time deciding if there's a problem or opportunity here.

Once we agree on that, then the response seems simple: "What do you think we should do?"

"Be specific."


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Seth Godin

I always love to read Seth Godin's blog, but today's was short and sweet and caught my attention.

Responsibility and Authority
Many people struggle at work because they want more authority.

It turns out you can get a lot done if you just take more responsbility instead. It's often offered, rarely taken.

(And you can get even more done if you give away credit, relentlessly).

More Seth Godin at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/