The following post is an essay on Skittles that I turned in for my Digital Marketing class under Professor Camilo La Cruz Smith. I’m happy to say I received high marks for this essay which made it a no brainer to post on my social media blog.
Skittles has been one of those brands that have been extremely successful in redefining and reenergizing their business and digital strategies. In the recent past, they were able to successfully define their problem, and address it by simply understanding their consumer. They recognized that their consumers embraced social networks and were responsive and interested in being engaged with their brand. As a result, they were able to reach out to them in ways that put them ahead of their competitors. By experiencing the rainbow instead of their old functional strategy of just tasting it, they were able to reach out to a wider scope of their consumer and saw what their brand can do and where else it can take them.
While their strategy is fantastic and is indeed sustainable, Skittles was constantly thinking ahead, keeping things new. Skittles has been successful in stirring the Twitter community, spurred user generated content, engagement online and generated a lot of word-of-mouth-buzz. The difficulty I am seeing in Skittles maintaining their strategy is consumer fatigue from the pointless but entertaining activities that they constantly bombard their consumers with. This is the problem they will need to solve and should begin with.
To grow next year, Skittles must not only retain their current consumers but speed up this growth by expanding to other markets. In the consumer decision journey, they must target their consumers both in the loyalty and initial consideration stages. They must leverage the brand’s innate unpredictable personality, constantly be on their toes, watch the industry standard and then continuously disrupt it. Now we ask: Where to next after Facebook? In my opinion, Skittles should move towards 2012 by looking for ways to take their brand out onto the real world and investigate the potential of not only longer term content but of the possibility of touching the lives of those who also need it. Why not make use of free content from Skittles’ media channels to let the world experience the rainbow? In addition, curated content from consumers may also be used to create a more holistic platform where the brand and the consumer both participate in the conversation towards a social good.
The only barriers to entry that Skittles can face with is the likelihood of encountering people who aren’t interested in contributing to charity or Skittles choosing a cause that doesn’t strike a chord with the consumers. While that is farfetched, I think the consumers are willing to share the rainbow with other less fortunate people and would gladly participate in this highly engaging online activity.
Skittles must move beyond entertainment and take engagement to the next level – In 2012, a trend is seen in digital efforts moving towards having a socially responsible purpose. Gamification with a motivation or incentive for the benefit of a cause that matters for example, hungry children or in support of relief goods to a disaster stricken area, Skittles can, with the help of its online community, help these people in need “Experience the Rainbow” too. Skittles should communicate this effort across all channels (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc), since a brand should be consistent in its communications. After all, we must realize the need of the consumer to “help” others. With this, I think that Skittles’ consumers will have even more respect for the brand if they know that their favorite brand’s campaigns do not end online.
Gamification of Skittles through the purchase of Skittles packs, entering a code found (or scanning a QR code) inside each pack onto an application on Facebook is an example. Consumers can keep track of how much they have contributed to the cause through a dashboard showing how much they’ve contributed as well as how much the entire Skittles online community has contributed to this cause to visualize the progress that they are making towards supporting the cause. This dashboard can be in a form of a pixelated photo of the earth and each skittles packet code that is entered into the app adds a pixel in the form of a Skittles candy. This way, Skittles can truly make a difference in the world by letting the whole world experience the joy they previously brought just online.
There is approximately a 10% untapped market out there from competitors that Skittles can address with this kind of activity. This comes from a large market that results in not only incremental unit sales but a lot of PR and awareness especially since the application encourages the users to input a code found in the Skittles’ bags. Through this, Skittles can prove that they are not just about silly entertainment. They are a brand with a purpose, a brand that realizes that there is more to just its online community that is interested in experiencing the rainbow.