Branding a small business is not an easy task. Every choice from font color to Facebook statuses create an image for the public to see, praise and criticize. As I search for social media and branding inspiration, I look to one of my favorite companies, Jeni’s Ice Cream.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is an artisan, small batch ice cream company based out of Columbus, Ohio. They start with the best ingredients including milk from local, grass fed cows. Jeni’s was started by the creative, Jeni Britton Bauer, about 10 years ago, and since then, Jeni’s has won many accolades for their exquisite product including a gold sofi for their Lemon Frozen Yogurt in the Summer Fancy Food Show this weekend.
Beyond delicious desserts, Jeni’s has branded itself in a very cohesive, hip way on the world wide web. Their tag line is:
“Ice Creams that will Make You Blush.”
What a bold and sweet way to talk about your product. That sentiment spills over into all of their marketing, and there are five key reasons to blush at their fabulous marketing:
1. Everything is Visually Driven.
Every social media site from Facebook to Pinterest is driven by gorgeous photos of a delectable product. Who does not love food porn? A common image in their marketing is a simple antique spoon holding a scoop of ice cream. It is brilliant, simple and clean. One of their boards on Pinterest is simply called, “Spoonfuls.”
2. It Feels Homespun and Hip at the Same Time.
When I first purchased a pint of Jeni’s Ice Creams, I thought it was a homemade ice cream from my town. The flavor is written in black sharpie on the side of the carton in Bauer’s distinct handwriting. After exploring the company’s Facebook page with over 38 thousand fans, I realized the breadth of the business. Every Facebook post and tweet is a little bit sassy and on par with pop culture, like the above post.
3. It Tells a Story.
Jeni Britton Bauer’s ice cream journey is a part of the marketing. In a recent collaborative YOUTube video with LinkedIN and CITI, Bauer explained how artisan ice cream found her. How she tried and tried and tried until she finally found a formula that clicked. There is something about a face behind a product. People want to know where their food come from and who are the passionate people behind it.
4. She Shares Her Secrets.
Bauer recently released a cookbook with all of her scrumptious recipes for people to re-create at home. She has even created instructional videos on specific at-home techniques to use. She is transparent in the best sense possible, and her fans thank her for it. You can find her cookbook on Amazon here.
5. The Customer is a Major Player.
Lastly, Jeni’s is all about the customer. Their social media platforms are truly interactive inviting fans to get involved. There is a board on their Pinterest feed called, “You Shot It,” dedicated to sharing images fans have taken of the product. What a great way to show a third party endorsement and make customers feel special?