"Houston, we have a problem."
THEM vs THEMSELF
The Early Days
When everyone is doing the same thing something is wrong.
We started our growth tactics in April of 2016. Quest Cooking was a vertical within the Quest Nutrition umbrella and co-branded social giveaways were something not yet adopted to entice engagement, grow social following and provide free product to your community (targeted trial in GROWTHBUSTER talk). Quest Cooking ran a social giveaway with a brand called Halo Top (twice!)...ever heard of that brand? Quest Cooking doubled its social following within months due to a simple system CREATIVE + COMMUNITY + INNOVATION.
Creative - we switched the social aesthetic from high-res editorial cookbook style photography to UGC (user generated content) mostly shot from an iPhone.
Community - we built a community around foodies. Quest Cooking was all about taking Quest products and creating recipes that are typically horrible for you, but now macro-friendly and actually good for you ––low sugar, high protein and delicious. Think churros, donuts, mug cakes, enormous cookies etc. We also ran foodie nights and invited SoCal's top foodie influencers for a social gathering at HQ where we presented our top recipes for them. "You were ballsy inviting us to try healthy foods," one person said. Fact of the matter, the funnel cakes, puddings and other desserts were all so good you couldn't even tell that they were good for you. What came from that was a lot of earned media and rapport from foodie accounts with a total of 1 million followers+ that RSVP'd.
Innovation - we "Questified" products and transformed them from having from up 50g of sugar down to as close to zero as possible while packing the recipes with protein.
Over a long enough timeline, this recipe will always win...and that it did.
Fast Forward to 2019
Social giveaways are oversaturated. Every brand is running US vs. THEM social content - a major component in the Quest vs. Non-Quest recipes that we built out within Quest Cooking and have used sparingly since the imitation has evolved. The problem with this is when every brand is looking and sounding the same, there is no true way to differentiate yourself. In every feed, consumers are seeing the same exact thing over and over again. In our experience working with startups, we strive to make brands the first them rather than the second someone else. Failing to do so and developing brand identity will only hinder long-term success.
To take it a step further, many brands are just aiming for that overall social following number to put into pitch decks for investors to revel over. But the truth is, there is no real community behind those brands...just a lot of people that clicked FOLLOW in order to enter a giveaway.
Lastly, it is far too prevalent for brands to look, observe, imitate rather than taking a fresh approach with CREATIVE + COMMUNITY + INNOVATION. Kudos to the brands differentiating themselves by placing as much emphasis on giving back as they do to drive revenue. Brands like RightRice, who are partnering with No Kid Hungry, and Killer Creamery partnering with Raincoast Conservation Foundation. On top of truly innovative offerings, the brands are emphatic when it comes to being human and relatable.
Put in the work. Innovate. Solve a problem. Be a good, human brand. Be the first YOU. And let the chips fall as they may. Because if you're unethical in victory you still lose in the long run. And if you're ethical in defeat you win over that same timeline.
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