Very Cool, Cookie

As someone who works on the web and in social media, I’m always looking around at the industry, finding great ideas and best practices, particularly when they pertain to brands. I work for a brand. A pretty big one. And working for a brand, especially in social, requires a certain finesse. You have to encapsulate the voice of the brand and yet it needs to feel appropriate for the channel that you’re on.

As someone who works on the web and in social media, I’m always looking around at the industry, finding great ideas and best practices, particularly when they pertain to brands. I work for a brand. A pretty big one. And working for a brand, especially in social, requires a certain finesse. You have to encapsulate the voice of the brand and yet it needs to feel appropriate for the channel that you’re on.

One brand that is just way beyond everyone else in terms of engagement and knowing their audience and their brand is Oreo. Not only are these cookies beloved and universally known throughout the world, they have a passionate audience to the tune of over 27 million Likes on Facebook. Part of the reason that they’ve got such great engagement is their Daily Twist campaign like the one below that they shared on Pride Day:

Daily Twist - Oreo Pride

One of the great things about having something as identifiable as a black-and-white cookie is that it can be modified to be so many different things, including items that are movie-related:

Oreo Daily Twist - TDKR

I’m a big fan of Oreo and what they’re doing. Yesterday, they tweeted:

 

Now, my company has a “No Outside Food and Beverage” policy (as do most theatres, concert venues and sporting arenas). Oreo knows that because they even used the #slicksnacker hash tag to indicate that outside Oreos are contraband in a theatre. So I decided to have a little fun.

 

8 minutes.

8 minutes was all it took for us to craft a 3-word response. No legal departments. No approvals. Our social media team has such a great amount of trust from our leadership that we can speak off the cuff through our brand voice and know that we have their support. It helps when we’re clever, too.

Shortly after we sent the tweet out, I left the office for the afternoon for a Kansas City tech conference. Now, I’ve got AMC’s Twitter account connected to my phone. I kept up with the feed during the conference and watched as our terrific followers began retweeting and retweeting and retweeting. By the end of the night, the tweet reached over 200 retweets, which translates to a WHOLE LOT of reach in the world of Twitter. I was pretty proud of what I had done. I shared it on Facebook and went to bed thinking that was the end of it.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Sometime between the time I woke up this morning and the time I got to work, it exploded. It made the front page of AdWeek, thanks to this AdWeek blog post and my Twitter feed began getting inundated with congratulations and kudos. The number of retweets was over 500 and climbing rapidly and Oreo even responded.

 

Not a #humblebrag, but a point

I promise this post isn’t meant to be one giant #humblebrag. I have a point to all this. The truth is that an interaction like this is why I believe so fervently in the power of social media professionals within brands. With the proper structure and governance (and a buttload of trust from your superiors), stuff like this can happen.

Trust is important.

I cannot emphasize this enough. As the AdWeek story circulated around the office, I wanted to make one thing clear to my superiors: successes like this are not purely the result of being clever. Being given the latitude to react and respond is critical for a social media group within a brand. Trust matters. The trust that we have been given is an invaluable asset in instances like this. And I will continue to live up to that trust…why wouldn’t I? I am a representative of the brand (a brand that I am proud of), so why would I do anything that would harm the brand?

That ownership in what we do better equips myself and my colleagues to do amazing things. It helps if you have a brand whose voice is defined as “fun and engaging.”

Now what?

The story continued throughout the day. More and more retweets of our “NOT COOL, COOKIE” post (it’s now over 1,000) and too many congratulations from people around the office. Still, we saw one more opportunity to engage with Oreo’s response.

What we came back with was pretty fun, I think (big hat tip to my colleague and AMC’s Social Media Manager Justin who had the idea).

 

Yes. Those are Oreos on my eyes.

If there’s anything to learn from my story, it’s this: if you are a brand representative in social spaces, be sure that you understand your brand voice. Fight for an amount of autonomy where it makes sense so you can be agile and respond not just to customer service-related questions, but to the pop culture zeitgeist as well.

Author: Shane

Shane Adams is a marketer, designer, blogger and preacher man who lives in the Kansas City area with his beautiful artist wife Alli and his corn-chip-smelling dog, Dreyfuss.

69 thoughts on “Very Cool, Cookie”

  1. Great post. Governance should be based on Trust and Autonomy not a Legally prescribed strait-jacket that would’ve prevented this exchange. Nicely done for your response. Kudos to your management for understanding the realities of this medium.

  2. @Seaphotog – We’re trying to do something behind the scenes. Being able to do something internally is easier than trying to coordinate two brands of our size. :)

  3. Interesting post! Seems like a bit of an argument with the C-level (at large) on the value and validity of Social Media Managers today. That’s a broader topic that interests me. Since it sounds like AMC is really behind your Social Squad it would be cool to hear what makes it work from your perspective. Thanks!

  4. I’m a big fan of the use of humor in social settings. The fact that you made me laugh made me love your brand. You successfully humanized a big business with these few tweets (and the surrounding hoopla which made me aware of your tweets). Great job. Great post.

  5. I don’t know where those Oreos went, but the box of cookies at the end of the day…was gone. Long live Oreos! I ate at least 4 of them that I know of.

    I love the fact that the post-it note with the tweet Shane wanted to post made me laugh so much when he put it in front of me. That is a moment I’ll relish every single day at AMC. And, as he mentions, the trust that our company gives us is amazing and inspiring.

    More things afoot on the Oreo front. We are in contact. I’m sure Shane will share important developments on this blog!

  6. This was a great post Shane! You hit on the perfect point in this situation, TRUST! In order to allow a little diversity in your content and/or strategy, you need to have trust from management. Most companies, big and small, have a hard time bridging the trust gap between management and the social person/team. First, it takes great employees, but after that it’s up to management to believe in them. Great job Shane!

  7. Awesome, awesome idea. love it. I wish more brands trusted their employees the way AMC and Oreo do. You’re setting a great example, keep it up.

  8. This awesome and such a great post about the trust that must go into SM management in order for it to do its job succesfully. And, congrats on being the MOST POPULAR hit on AdWeek right now!

  9. Great work, but too bad you work for Oreo. My mom cared about me and my brothers so much that she always baked cookies from real ingredients.

  10. I agree with SEAPHOTOG – There’s no better way than to amp up your Twitter followers than by capping this exchange off with a real-world execution, like by giving away Oreos or AMC theatre tickets to brand followers or with an Oreo night at your theatres!

  11. Thanks for sharing this story. As one who has spent some time in the churning waters of brand conversations on Twitter, I really appreciate your take on situations like this. Now back to my McLobster…

  12. What a wonderful story, and congrats on all the positive buzz around this! And, you’re absolutely right. Trust is imperative to seeing great results from any social media team.

  13. As a non us citizen I must ask. A non outside food policy? Why have that at a movie theater? Since this whole social situation serms to be dependand on this policy…

  14. Great post Shane! And big congratulations. It’s still going. I just came across this post today (way to make the Twitter blog!) Cold milk coming soon at a theatre near you. Love it!

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