Following on from Hannah's blog about Tunnock's and their brand storytelling, we decided to get in contact withthe purveyors of "DAD'S BISCUITS - DO NOT TOUCH!" and send them the link to our post. In the previous post Hannah reflected on all of the recent media exposure for this well-loved brand, and wondered out loud why they were nowhere to be found on social media, other than pages set up by their own customers.

Before I continue any further I must pause to examine this more closely (which vexes me deeply as there is a delightful development I am dying to share with you).

Brand Evangelism is the Holy Grail sought by every brand and every business. Whilst millions of companies around the globe strive to produce meaningful and engaging content which will bring in new customers and retain existing ones, there are a special few who have achieved something which is very powerful and coveted in the extreme. The standard definition of Brand Evangelism is where customers are so happy with the product or service they receive they become voluntary advocates – acting as a cheerleader for that product or service and convincing other in their social and professional circles to use it.

In the case of Tunnock's however, I think the situation is a little bit more unique. Of course their customers are happy with their products, but it goes deeper than that. There are so many childhood memories and emotions which are irrevocably bound to their range, whether it is the aforementioned Caramel Wafers which were kept in a separate tin on the highest shelf because these were the sole property of the family's patriarch, or the timeless Tunnock's Teacake that could light up your lunchtime when you opened your lunch box to find one inside.

Things like this, whether it be old cartoons, toys, penny sweets or jingles from TV adverts ("If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit...") are not just things from our childhoods. They ARE our childhood.

So when the opening ceremony of this year's Commonwealth Games featured giant dancing teacakes whirling around Celtic Park in Glasgow, the impact was incredible. The roar that reverberated around the UK did not come from consumers or from demographics, it came from human beings. Human beings who, in this country for certain, love something which is a bit bonkers, but more importantly love something which is so integral to us that it gives us a lovely warm shock when it is brought to the fore. It is the same with observational comedy.

The response was overwhelming. Not only did sales soar but the name Tunnock's flooded social media, filled column inches in several broadsheets and for a fleeting moment it tapped into something very personal with all manner of people, young or old, male or female, around the country.

Now the cynics might suspect that this was some sort of cunning plan cooked up by a devious marketing executive at Tunnock's. We at theblueballroom, however, know the truth. How do we know? Because the day after we posted our blog, Tunnock's gave us a call. The lovely Ann rang to say she had read our blog and rather than just write us an email, she preferred to give us a "wee ring" and answer our question regarding their absence from social media in person. We had a wonderful chat and told us that it was a family decision to not involve themselves in Facebook or Twitter. That might change at some point down the line, but for now they were very happy with things as they are.

Ann also told me that, although they did give permission for the iconic image of their teacakes to be used, they had no idea that images of dancing teacakes would be beamed around the world. It caught them completely by surprise!

Five minutes later, and with the promise of a packet of Dark Chocolate Caramel Wafers being posted for our next Tunnock's Tuesday, Ann and I said goodbye and I was left to collect my thoughts.

  • How many businesses can boast of being a family-owned business today whose origins began in 1890?
  • How many businesses do you think prefer to pick up the phone and give somebody their time of day, just because they wrote a blog about them?
  • How many brands do you think would kill to have their products invoke that level of benevolence?
  • How many brands are self-assured and confident enough to eschew social media entirely but still have their customers talk about them everyday online and setup their own fan pages?

 

In our opinion, not many. They are an example to businesses everywhere that sometimes you don't have to follow the herd. Sticking to your guns and knowing who you are as a company can lead you to what is intrinsically right for your business.

 

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