How Chobani Used Social Media to Boost Sales

Chobani has tapped into a highly effective marketing and social media strategy that has catapulted it to the top of its industry.

The Chobani brand grew out of the promise upon which the company was built.  As stated by Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani, Inc.: “Our founding mission is to provide better food to more people. We strongly believe that access to affordable, nutritious, delicious yogurt made with only natural ingredients is a right, not a privilege.” (Source: PRNewswire, Dec. 18, 2013)

Greek yogurt producer Chobani became a billion dollar brand after just seven years in business and almost single-handedly built the Greek yogurt category by defining its core belief and developing a brand promise that was embraced by consumers.

From the start Chobani established unique points of difference on characteristics (i.e., taste, texture, authenticity) that were valued by customers.   Relevant and purposeful, the brand became known first as significantly different — then as significant.  As a result, consumers have been willing to pay a premium for it.  Chobani’s brand differentiation is reinforced through all of its marketing activities.

One example of Chobani’s effective marketing programs is 2013’s “Go Real” campaign.  Through this campaign, Chobani articulated the company’s overall mission and brand essence.  The creative work expressed the heart and soul of the company — and the community it had created.  Through the campaign, Chobani allowed consumers to get to know the real people behind its products, and to understand the care and craftsmanship that is behind each cup of its yogurt.  The campaign reinforced that the brand that stands for something extraordinary – that it is an authentic strained yogurt that’s made with only natural ingredients by people who have passion for bringing better food options to the masses.

Chobani fans had already been sharing hundreds of real “Chobani moments” through the brand’s social media channels on a daily basis prior to the campaign.  In essence, the campaign amplified those real stories though television spots to give more people the chance to engage in the conversation around “Go Real Chobani.”

The Company then launched a digital and social media campaign across Facebook and Twitter that asks fans to share their memories of when they tried Chobani. The resulting images, tweets and posts were aggregated digitally via #tastereal to create an interactive content mosaic which lived online at Chobani.com. Consumers also had the opportunity to share Chobani coupons with friends to inspire their own taste of Chobani.  Thus, the campaign engaged Chobani consumers and empowered them to share their unique Chobani experiences.

The result has been an engagement level on social media vehicles that is significantly higher than that of other brands in its category.  It has earned the top spot for brand engagement among yogurt companies, according to market research firm SymphonyIRI Group, and boasts nearly 600,000 Facebook fans. By comparison, food giants Nestlé and Green Giant have 570,000 and 400,000, respectively.   Moreover, according to The Wall Street Journal, Chobani holds the top spot with about $1.5 billion in sales expected this year, following a 32% jump in revenue in revenue last year.

Chobani’s presence is authentic, consistent, and consistently engaging across all its media properties – including social networks.  Chobani’s social media activities are an example of how the brand has effectively utilized brand ambassadors to grow its popularity – and revenues.  How has your company effectively used brand ambassadors and social media to grow?

Posted in Branding in Action, Social Media Marketing Tagged with: , ,