By Samia Nasir, University of Texas Dallas
In the virtual world of advertising today, there are too many campaigns for a person to even fully comprehend. Bright, blinking colorful ads trying to convince you to buy a product, or follow a certain cause. In this craze, how can one company stand out? I have pondered this question for quite a while, and decided to extensively research some companies who I feel I can affiliate with and see the way they did/do things. I decided to pursue my search with Sprinkles Cupcakes; the world’s first most well off cupcake bakery brand, and discover their recipe for success.
A small history lesson: Sprinkles Cupcakes started in Beverly Hills seven years ago under Candace Nelson. The bakery gained lots of popularity overnight for good quality cupcakes, and soon there were long lines forming with a loyal fan following. Celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Ryan Seacrest also acknowledged the store, causing the business to really take off. Currently, Sprinkles has stores spread out internationally, and has premiered on big channels such as Cupcake Wars, Food Network, and more.
A look into the social media campaign is really all it took for me to see a great insight into the Sprinkles success. Candace Nelson recreated a childhood classic into a more sweeter, delicious, and elegantly designed desert. She knew her brand, and was evidently loyal to it. After Sprinkles took off, she stayed true to that brand, and the quality of cupcakes presented. She also took advantage of the marketing tools around her by effortlessly engaging her followers. The goal of every social media campaign is to engage their users and establish a connection, and that is exactly what she did. The Sprinkles Whisper Word campaign is the most successful promotion technique they currently have. Everyday, secret words (often pertaining to a current event) such as “dream” (MLK day) or “ho ho ho” (Christmas) are released on the main Facebook page, and the first 50 (or other amount) fans who whisper the word/phrase at their Sprinkles store receives free cupcakes. This tactic turned out to be just the thing that customers needed, and soon enough there were lines forming outside the bakery’s doors, with people who had their “whisper words” ready and wanted a delicious free cupcake. This technique also caused people to want to respond, and engage with the brand.
The reputable company has now grown internationally, and continues to expand its social media marketing tactics to this day. There are new promotions as well such as “proposing through Sprinkles cupcakes” (and win), design competitions, monthly Sprinkles trivia, and more. With the addition of the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM, there are also chances to win hidden gift cards inside your cupcake, and other assorted prizes.
After looking into the creative success of Sprinkles, one can draw many conclusions as to what lessons we may learn from social media. Firstly, it is vital to believe in your brand, and really invest into it. If you do not feel loyal to your brand, then no one else will. Secondly, employ engaging social media campaigns for your brand. Make people want to actually comment or respond, offer incentives and prizes, and just be creative! Sprinkles really sparked because the idea of whispering strange phrases into employees’ ears was just something different! Thirdly, be innovative. In this generation, it is no longer enough to just follow one tactic endlessly. There is too much competition, and you must keep up and continuously work into your brand. Sprinkles didn’t just finish with fine cupcakes; they established the world’s first cupcake truck, a cupcake ATM, and more. They strive to stay unique and creative, and that’s what really allows them to continually stand out. And lastly, stay true to your brand. If you are really invested in what you believe in, you will not be easily strayed. These points are a few of many which will help your business/brand thrive, and keep all your social media campaigns interesting, unique, and engaging.