Rejuvenating a Brand Through Social Media

When Nestlé UK let customers vote via social media for their favorite new flavor of the company’s Kit Kat Chunky chocolate bar, customer engagement increased — and Nestlé developed successful new offerings.

Today’s managers understand the potential of social media engagement for generating business value. With each click, comment, “like” or post, consumers leave vital pieces of information — in effect, virtual footprints — that can be aggregated to generate new insights for brand management and engagement. However, companies often lack the right tools to guide them in this process. Without a framework with which to convert the mass of user-generated content into knowledge, the business value of social media stays hidden in plain sight.

One exception is Nestlé, which has developed a strong capacity to manage its social space and extract useful insights from the voluminous data created via social media. To gain insights into how Nestlé has learned to capture this value, for a year we followed Nestlé UK’s campaign to rejuvenate its Kit Kat chocolate bar brand among 18- to 24-year-olds. By successfully leveraging social media for the Kit Kat brand, Nestlé UK was able to induce positive word of mouth through the development of consumers who serve as brand advocates; increase sales and innovativeness; and generate a higher return on investment.

From these observations and other insights from our research, which also involved an in-depth study of social media use by another Nestlé UK brand, we have derived a four-step framework that we believe will enable companies in any sector to extract valuable information from the vast amount of data that social media engenders.

A Four-Step Framework for Social Media Utilization

After an extensive series of interviews and detailed observations of Facebook fan pages, we found that Nestlé UK followed a four-step utilization framework, which we call the SELI (Scan, Engage, Learn and Internalize) framework, to strengthen its Kit Kat Chunky brand by nurturing a social network. The sequential steps of this framework are documented in the following:

Before you begin: Specify the goal or objective. Before applying the framework and engaging with consumers on social networks, senior managers should specify a goal or business objective underlying the conversation with the consumer. In particular, managers need to direct the channel toward achieving a specific marketing or brand goal, such as increasing brand awareness, brand loyalty and engagement, intelligence gathering, or new product development.

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