Innocent Drinks was recently named the number
one business in the Social Brands 100 for 2012. The smoothie
maker beat off competition from the likes of Starbucks who finished
second and GiffGaff who came third.
It comes as no surprise that Innocent topped the poll; the
company has been brilliant at fan engagement ever since it launched
in 1999. Innocent started off selling smoothies at a festival when
the founders Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright asked
customers to throw their empty bottles in one of two bins. One was
labelled, 'Yes, you should make this a full time business', the
other, 'No, you shouldn't'. At the end of the day the 'yes' bin was
Since then the trio has continued to speak to customers
by covering their packaging with conversational phrases, in an
attempt to engage with customers. They also invite customers
to call them on the office 'banana phone' or pop into their head
office at 'Fruit Towers' to chat to staff and find out more about
the brand - and they mean it.
"We've always wanted to build relationships with our drinkers,"
said Joe McEwan, communities manager at Innocent. "It started with
talking to people on our packaging and meeting them at events we
put on. It naturally extended into digital and social media as the
Currently, Innocent has 64,345 followers on Twitter, not as many
as some brands, but the engagement from the followers is
phenomenal. It seems the team replies to customer messages as quick
and often as it can, even the negative ones. Innocent also post
light-hearted pictures and jokes to create a friendly atmosphere
around its brand on Twitter. This friendliness is carried over
onto their packaging. If you turn one of the juice
cartons, at the bottom you'll find quirky messages like, "Stop
looking at my bottom". They also use fun games that can
affect the colour of your tongue or a jokey diagram such a the pros
and cons of having a tree growing inside your body.
Creating this engagement around your brand helps you to build a
fanbase. By impacting on customers' day in a positive way
people will not only like your product, but support the values of
your brand. The success and popularity of Innocent prove
this - businesses that put the customer at the heart of its
services and engage with them in every way possible are more liked
and therefore, sell more products.
To read five business lessons from Richard Reed, click here.