Ben & Jerry's successfully extends social media marketing to French consumers

Ben & Jerry's successfully extends social media marketing to French consumers

Ben & Jerry’s French social media strategy shows it is possible to successfully extend social media marketing outside a company’s home country. Their scheme positively engages French fans of the brand, although some criticise the company for a lack of availability in France.

Ben & Jerry’s, the well-known ice cream manufacturer, have a well established social media strategy. Their global Facebook page has over 1.5 million fans. However, most fans of the page are American and therefore the brand has recently sought out consumers from other markets. Their French Facebook page now attracts 70,000 fans and is a hub of activity for some fans of the brand.
 
Social media monitoring from WaveMetrix shows that the brand have been successful in engaging French consumers with their product. Facebook fans are generally positive towards the brand and say they “love” the taste and flavours of the ice cream. However, some Facebook fans also react negatively to the “under-publicised” road shows and lack of flavour availability.
 
WaveMetrix analysis shows the majority of recent discussion on the Facebook page is positive:
 
Ben & Jerry's successfully extends social media marketing to French consumers
 
  • Ben & Jerry’s seek to engage French consumers with the brand: Traditionally a US company, Ben & Jerry’s use their French Facebook page to promote their philosophy of making the best ice cream possible, in the best possible way
  • The brand emphasise the quality of their ingredients and their Fair Trade credentials: By using a game called Fair or Not Fair, the brand also focus on the quality and fairness of their ingredients
  • Through Facebook posts, Ben & Jerry’s encourage consumers to debate: Official brand posts stimulate debate around the best flavours, as well as general discussion around Fair Trade, promotions and offers
  • Offline, Ben & Jerry’s seek to engage consumers with the brand through a series of road shows: The road shows offer new flavours for people to try for free and aim to promote the brand’s image
 
Facebook fans like the taste, but focus more on Ben & Jerry’s promotions and availability:
 
Ben & Jerry's successfully extends social media marketing to French consumers
 
  • Consumers tend to focus on Ben & Jerry’s promotions: Many talk about the promotional Ben & Jerry’s road show, describing it as a “great day”. Others say it’s “super” to eat Ben & Jerry’s “quality” ice cream for free. However, a few say they were “not aware” of the road shows and that staff were “not very friendly”
  • Other consumers complain that Ben & Jerry’s is not available where they live: They complain they “cannot find” some flavours in the shops. Others say they would “really like” all the Ben & Jerry’s flavours to be available
  • Consumers say they “love” the various Ben & Jerry’s flavours: They describe particular flavours as “the best in the world”, with others saying they “love” the “yummy” taste of the ice cream
  • Those discussing the brand more generally are happy it is now Fair Trade: Other brand discussion revolves around the French television advert for Ben & Jerry’s
 
Given that Ben & Jerry’s is a traditionally American company, extension of social media marketing activities to areas like France carries the risk of consumer hostility. However, our social media monitoring shows that they have successfully avoided this pitfall, with most discussion on their Facebook page being positive. By stimulating debate and conversation, Ben & Jerry’s drive positive brand and product discussion. However, our data also shows that heavy marketing promotion can be received with some negativity if the product has a limited distribution or range in that area.
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