In downtown, on a very busy main street, a man built a hot dog stand.
The building is at an odd angle on the lot and there is no dining area.
It is raised about three feet off the ground so the drive through window is so high that I have to sit on a phone book or get out of the car to reach the food.
The drive through lane only holds two cars at a time and making a left turn back onto the street is the equivalent of signing your own death warrant.
But we went anyway to check it out. The food was okay. Big hot dogs, good chili, chips and cold drinks. All pretty good.
I think the hot dog stand lasted about 8 months, maybe a year. But then it closed. Everyone blamed the logistical challenges of the building and it's location.
About six months ago, a taco stand opened where the hot dog stand used to be.
They repainted the building and cut the grass, but otherwise the setup was still the same. We expected the food to be the same too.
But we went anyway to check it out. I ordered a pork taco and asked to add cheese, they said no. Okay, i respect a chef that wants the dish to be tasted the way the recipe is written, so I played along. Wow, so glad I did, because the food is fantastic. Truly great. Unlike any taco I have ever eaten before.
Who would have thought to put apples in a taco! Who knows what is in the oh so good special sauce.
Best taco ever.
But no one was going there for lunch. Part of the reason was the same logistical challenges that had closed the hot dog stand. Part of the reason was a lack of awareness.
So we started talking about them on Twitter. We started talking about them on Facebook. We used social media to share the brand.
And the most amazing thing happened. Even though the location was still the same, and it is still really hard to get in and out of the drive-though line, people starting going to the taco stand.
Because the food is great and the experience is delightful, more people started going. Within a few weeks, Taco Sisters was creating a traffic jam.
Did social media make them successful? Nope. Branding them through social media developed awareness which led to trial and then turned into advocacy. It wouldn't have worked if their taco was just like everyone else. Using social media didn't make them successful.
Edward Boches, Mullen, talks about this phenomenon in his blog, A Flip Mino, a Twitter account and a little social media knowledge will not make anyone a marketer. He discusses how Gary Vee, Kogi and Zappo's have all used social media to spread their message and connect themselves with their fans.
Can social media turn an ordinary product into success? It is more likely that social media provides a platform to make consumers aware and a clubhouse for the fans to gather and engage about the experience.
Sr. Partner/Brand Strategist