The Marketing Bureau

Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs



KiwiYo - A Social Media Success Story

By Brian H Meredith
From the NZBusiness"Marketing Maestro" Archive
First published February 2013 

It’s new. It’s growing in popularity and it’s reinventing just about every aspect of communications in our business and personal lives. It’s dynamic. It’s chaotic. And it’s still frightening the life out of many marketers. From the CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) of multinational brands to the owner/operators of our smallest businesses, there is fear, confusion and uncertainty. It is Social Media and its’ spawning of the concept of Social Marketing.

I suspect that one of the biggest barriers to us truly grasping and exploiting this powerful new relationship building and communications world is the existing marketing communications paradigm which simply does not allow us to, readily or easily, see or understand just how we need to use social media in the development and implementation of our marketing communications activities.

Another factor could well be that social media is not owned by multinational media corporations but, rather, by its users – the people.

And perhaps the biggest factor of all is that social media has developed, and continues to develop, so rapidly that getting a grip on what it is, how it works and, therefore, how to integrate it into our marcoms thinking, is tough – very tough.

It’s not about placing ads on social media sites. It’s not about infiltrating the peoples’ interactions and trying to brow beat them with our brand messages. It’s not about trying to use any technique we can to get our reach and frequency numbers up. No, it does not work on any of those basis. Indeed, such activities can have a fast and very damaging effect on a brand.

If we are going to begin to really understand and productively and meaningfully participate in the growing and ever changing social media landscape then we need to start to think differently. Think more creatively. Think in the way that the users of social media think. We need to shift our paradigm.

There are no rules. No meaningful guidelines and no established protocols. Just opportunities to identify and connect with customers and potential customers in whole new ways. We must commit the time and energy to working out how. And then we must be prepared to do it all over again next week because the social media landscape will have changed and our strategies might need to as well.

I attended a meeting this week with the Marketing Director of a relatively new business that has clearly grasped the role and contribution of Social Media in its own brand development and marketing efforts. I was impressed by the open mind, the creative energy and the raw enthusiasm that this Marketing Director displayed and found myself wondering how this could be bottled and sold to every marketing professional in the country.

The business is KiwiYo and their Marketing Director is Chantal Janssen. KiwiYo Self Serve Frozen Yoghurt is a frozen yoghurt store in Mission Bay, Auckland and with a second branch recently opened in Botany and there are more to come.

KiwiYo offers customers a bright, light and immaculate environment in which they can create their own Frozen Yoghurt masterpieces from a selection of flavours, complimented by selections from over 50 options ranging from chocolate fish to jelly beans. Customers then pay for this desert based on its weight.

KiwiYo fully understands that Social media is a potentially powerful, effective and highly personalised way to build and nurture relationships with its customers, a significant percentage of whom are teenagers and young adults with a strong female skew.

Their strategy has been to install a flat screen panel in the store which is equipped with software which takes photographs and immediately uploads them, in a KiwiYo Frame, onto Facebook. From there, the customer can seek out their own pic/s and share them with friends & family.

Not a complex strategy but one that has become a huge success. It is now standard practice for groups of customers to build their desserts and have themselves and their creations photographed and posted onto Facebook. Indeed, there are customers who visit the store just to do this (although it is clear from their own Facebook posts that they love the product too!)

In a relatively short period of time, many thousands of pics have been taken and posted onto Facebook and it is common for these to generate posted comments from the customers concerned, asking questions, making observations and, overall, delivering highly positive feedback to KiwiYo.

And the next impressive element of this strategy is that KiwiYo then respond to significant numbers of these posts in a personalised manner – “Thanks for posting your positive opinions about KiwiYo, Susan – so glad you enjoy it!” Signed by the KiwiYo Marketing Director, Chantal Janssen, who commits a significant amount of energy and time to building and maintaining this momentum.

The result? Most weekends there is a queue outside the store that makes Disneyland look a bit boring and old fashioned!

KiwiYo have got it right – they know the business they are in, they know what they are selling, they know who they are selling it to and they know why they should want to buy it. And they know that, falling out of the bottom of that lot is the importance of moving beyond a transactional relationship to a brand relationship that builds new and repeat business on a  significant scale.

Well done KiwiYo. 



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