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Brand Building Through Random ...

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Everyone likes free stuff.

Everyone enjoys an unexpected act of kindness.

Put the two together, and you’ve got a killer branding-building exercise. Before I talk about Pretzel Crisps – which I’ve enjoyed for some time as an alternative to the typical chips marinated in saturated or trans fats – some background …

My second oldest son, Elliot, has got the disc golf religion. For those not familiar with disc golf, it follows the same concept as golf with the objective of landing the disc in the basket. You’ve got driver discs, putting discs, wind-cutting discs and the list goes on. The only thing missing is the disc that will do a double pike and smile for the judges.

Disc golf tournament - action

Elliot asked me to caddy for a disc golf tournament in Novato two weekends ago.

Upon accepting, I figured how much can a bag of 25 or so plastic discs weigh? I didn’t account for close to a gallon of water and sundry snacks to keep Elliot fortified while trekking up and down hills for 27 holes on the first day.

He needed a Sherpa, not a caddy.

Disc course

Still, channeling the great Carl Spackler, I performed my duties with dignity always walking five paces behind the boss and keeping my visions of grandeur to myself (“IT’S IN THE BASKET!!!”).

And it worked.

Elliot won the intermediate division, his first experience in winner’s circle at a PDGA sanctioned tournament. Lest you think this is just a dad bragging, you can see the trophy below:

Disc golf trophy

Right, it’s a beauty.

After rehydrating, I turned to Twitter.

Lou - Twitter Disc Golf

This is where Pretzel Crisps enters the picture.

PretzelCrisps Twitter

I don’t know if this was completely random or if they follow the @PDGA a la Red Bull to get in on the ground floor on nascent sports. Regardless, they’ve made two and half friends for life (Elliot’s girlfriend was mildly impressed).

Combining free and the unexpected does conjure a psychology that cuts through the noise. Judging from its tweet stream, Pretzel Crisps sifts through the rubble to identify five to 10 people or organizations each day to send a box of free snacks. It’s the multiplier effect in action with these 1000+ folks morphing into mini brand ambassadors who spread the word. I’m guessing the out-of-pocket cost for the campaign over a year is less than $10,000 with postage consuming most of it.

I’m reminded of a post from Dick Costolo before he took the reins at Twitter. After placing an order with a company called Moosejaw.com, he received this note:

“If you are actually reading this note you should be super happy. First, you have received your order, reading is fun and getting something in the mail (even if you bought it yourself) has got to make the day better. Second, I put your order together all by myself.”

Costolo goes on to say:

“That’s a fun note to read. I like Moosejaw more because of that note. Is it silly? Sure, it’s a silly note and it’s pre-printed, so I know that everybody else gets one. Why does the note make me like Moosejaw more? People like it when companies have personalities.”

That’s exactly what Pretzel Crisps is doing – only better.

By leveraging Twitter for random acts of kindness, the company cultivates a fun personality.


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