Wendy’s Brings the Sass to Social

Wendy’s is one of the few brands to successfully create multiple breakthrough campaigns on social media sites, specifically Twitter. Most have heard of their strong Twitter feed and ability to build community engagement in a way that has not been done before by other quick service restaurants. Today, Wendy’s Chief Concept and Marketing Officer Kurt Kane joined a panel of experts, including Twitter’s Brand & Content Strategy Lead Nina Mishkin, and Actor and Social Media Influencer Josh Peck, to get a behind-the-scenes look into how their social media voice was created. The panel was moderated by Marcus Peterzell, the executive vice president of entertainment at Ketchum.

Wendy’s was based on a real person, the founder Dave Thomas’ own daughter Wendy. When the restaurant franchise was looking for their social media voice, they looked through thousands of previous ads to find what fit the image they were going for. As their social media has evolved, they have become the sassy friend of everyone on Twitter.

They have been able to do so by use of their conversational and sometimes controversial tweets that reflect the slang of the younger generations. They also engage with their followers on a regular basis at any given time of the day. Twitter is the perfect platform for that. It is a two-way dialogue and Wendy’s capitalized on that because they’ve been able to connect on a deeper level. It’s helped turn customers into advocates in a special way.

The use of conversational slang makes Wendy’s seem more authentic to their followers. They talk to people about any topic and engage like a real person and Twitter as a platform has really has been a game changer for the company.

The fact that Wendy’s created a mixtape that didn’t flop and instead went viral is a testament to the brand image they’ve been able to build. When other brands ask for advice on how to do what Wendy’s does, it’s difficult to reproduce it with another brand, Kane said.

“They don’t have the history that this brand does,” he said. “You have to play the cards that you were dealt. Wendy’s has a unique set of cards because of how it was founded, who was involved and how it’s been going on for years and years. There is a lot that goes into being able to have the social voice we have. If you’re a big brand and you don’t have all of that you have to play a different game. Stay true and authentic to who you are as a brand”

To stay authentic, it is important to know your brand. Learning the history, having a memorable motto and doing the hard work to unpack what exactly your brand means to you is how you stay true to the brand. It is how Wendy’s was able to find their social media voice.

For creators who partner with Wendy’s as well, the brand understands the marriage between creator and product. Creators like Peck get to control how his fans see the advertisement. It makes Wendy’s seem like an adaptable brand, which is important for creators. Flexibility is  what keeps a brand strong in this business, and Wendy’s has recognized it and capitalized on it.

Fatoumata Ceesay

Writer at Advertising Week
Fatoumata is a senior studying Journalism and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her favorite thing about the advertising industry is how creative and personal ads can be.

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