Last Wednesday was Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Free Ice Blended Day. I love coffee as much as any caffeine junkie. The only thing better is free coffee. The only thing better then free coffee is free Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf 
. I am a devoted Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf fan. So I was happy to cast my vote on Facebook for my favorite Ice Blended flavor.
Coffee Bean’s campaign went like this: they created a Facebook app and event promoting the release of three new Ice Blended flavors. Users voted on which flavor seemed the yummiest, and then on July 1st
the winning flavor was given away at participating locations. So far so good.
It was an awesome idea, but it seems like they put in a lot of effort for relatively short-lived gains. All those people who came out as fans of Coffee Bean for the length of the promotion could have been converted into long-term brand loyalists and maybe even the coveted brand ambassadors.
They did some things right with this campaign, but could have utilized Facebook to achieve even better results for less ad spend, and built a broader group of fans and followers.
Consider the following a list of must-do’s for any brand developing a Facebook campaign:
- Make all Facebook destinations be the company page. Coffee Bean could have attracted permanent fans either to the brand page or to a new flavors page. Facebook recently added the highlights stream on the right of each profile. Each time someone fanned the new flavors’ page, the new fan’s canoodle of friends would have been notified in this *FREE* stream. Free advertising to reach an infinite number of peer-suggested customers? Yes, please! Even after the contest, this new flavors page and its’ fans could be used for countless other promotions and consistent consumer awareness of the brand’s happenings.
- Develop a quiz or other application. Coffee Bean could have reached an infinite number of customers for free. For example, offering a quiz to tell me my personality was more like the Instant Karma flavor (nutty and sweet?) would have gotten my attention! Also, same as above. User takes the quiz, all of user’s friends are notified and invited to take the quiz. Rinse and repeat. At the quiz results page, a link to the new flavor’s page and Free Ice Blended Day announcement could have been provided. Here quiz takers fan the page, and again, notify everyone how much they love Coffee Bean.
- Avoid making an event. An event achieves only temporary brand awareness and fans. I became aware of the Free Blended Day from a paid ad with the event as the landing page. This means Coffee Bean had to spend ad money to promote an event whose fans were going to disappear on the event’s date. Also, as a person with a plethora of friends, I do not even read many event invites. They appear in the same section as all the silly invites I receive. I do not read my 14 daily requests to play Mafia Wars, nor would I read a corporate promo event announcement.
When utilizing Facebook or any other social networking site, we have to remember the most valuable advertising comes from the users themselves. If we create content users like and use, the content will be used by fans and then shared with their network. It is with transparency and user-oriented content that companies gain users’ trust and loyalty.
As more and more companies are starting to blur the line between digital marketing and real-life rewards, it becomes more and more difficult to keep the two very distinct goal measurements separate. In “the real world,” we measure a campaign’s success through (more or less) getting product in the hands of the client. However, in the world of digital marketing, success is often a bit harder to judge. For many brands, the more valuable metric is acquiring a user as a friend/ follower/fan. These friends then become brand loyalists and ambassadors for life. And get even more of their friends hooked on Ice Blendeds.