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In an article originally posted in PRWeek, Senior Vice President of Text100’s Content and Social Media team, Jeppe Christensen, provides best practices around when and how a brand should involve itself in random exchanges with users, using Wendy’s #NuggsForCarter as the scenario.
There are a few things going on here. First of all, serving your customers in a public nature creates value for the brand. Wendy’s recognizes this, which is why they’re engaging both advocates and detractors on their social channels. Understanding their core audience, they’ve chosen to employ a sassy and cheeky tone; they come off more human and less like a bland corporate identity. This is resonating well, especially with teenagers and younger adults.
We’ve shifted from a broadcast model to a stimulus-response model where brands and customers can have conversations with each other. The customer’s expectation is being changed, and it will be increasingly difficult for brands to stick to just broadcasting content, and not engaging in reactive exchanges with the people they pretend to care about.
Best practice in content marketing is to address the needs of your audience. In this instance, Carter Wilkerson was looking for a reaction from Wendy’s, and they gave it to him.
Secondly, content needs to be relevant and provide some value. Otherwise, you’re not going to get your audience to engage with the content. Wendy’s reactive approach to content is unexpected, humorous and at times quite controversial. It’s valuable because it’s entertaining and emotional, and for fans of Wendy’s, it provides a sense of community and belonging; they feel like they’re part of something.
Wendy’s have been successful getting a lot of shares of its content, providing valuable earned distribution and a lot of visibility. This drives awareness and consideration, often with audiences who otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to Wendy’s messaging through social media.
However, it’s worth noting that a sizeable chunk of Wendy’s content is dedicated to engaging detractors publicly with tongue-in-cheek comebacks ranging from playful to just plain out insulting. This type of humor doesn’t have universal appeal and may have a negative effect on some audiences. Will the joke get old over time and lose its allure, or will they take it one step too far?
Back in January, Wendy’s got in a bit of trouble after tweeting a Pepe the Frog meme in response to a customer. Pepe the Frog has been adopted as a white nationalist symbol and has been deemed a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League. Wendy’s ultimately decided to delete the post.