Social media case study: Sweet brand creates consumer community for just $87

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Astra Sweets used an on-pack promotion rewarding customers for sharing how they enjoy the company’s Frisia brand Mini Marshmallows. This case study looks at how the Belgian sweet brand created a brand community of 371 consumers for just $87 (including packaging costs).

How much do you invest in growing your brand’s community? Have you added up all the costs of your social marketing-related staff time? Your Pay-per-click campaigns? Other advertising and direct mail? Do it. It’s good business to know your true costs. If you’re spending more than $.23 per person, read on.


Astra Sweets discovered a creative way to leverage the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets to engage its customers. The invitation to engage took the form of an easy-to-implement on-pack promotion that encourages (and rewards) customers to share how they enjoy the company’s Frisia brand Mini Marshmallows.

Stefan Debois, CEO & Co-founder of Survey Anyplace Mobile Surveys, provides a step by step guide to getting the most from a brand community.

4 simple steps to building a strong brand community.

1. Build a mobile survey

Knowing most of her customers carry a smartphone or tablet, Astra Marketing Manager Eline van Muilwijk turned to the mobile survey tool Survey Anyplace “We uploaded the Frisia graphic elements we wanted, which were incorporated into the mobile survey design automatically.”

Eline’s team purposely kept the survey short and fun, to make taking the survey painless for their consumers. “Nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet,” she adds, “so using mobile surveys to get the information we needed made perfect sense.”

After the survey is created, the site generates a unique QR code and URL that customers would use to access the survey with their mobile device. They either scan the QR code or enter the URL into their device, which eliminates having to install an app.

Engage people right as they interact with your brand for better feedback from loyal customers.

2. Added a sticker to the product

Going through costly packaging reprints was not economical for van Muilwijk’s team, so they printed black-and-white stickers with the offer and survey access elements. “The black-and-white stickers really stood out, in a good way, on our colorful Mini Marshmallow boxes,” Eline adds. “It was a very simple, quick and inexpensive solution, and we didn’t have to coordinate anything with the retailers or print additional promotional materials.”

3. Pushed new product to the shelf

The stickers were applied during packaging and shipped, as usual, to retailers. 17,000 boxes in all greeted customers in the actual candy aisle, inviting them to take a survey in exchange for a free box of candy Astra would ship directly to their homes (netting the company an important physical address, and another valuable touch-point, in the process).

4. Received feedback

“We loved that these mobile survey results are uploaded in real time,” says van Muilwijk. “We could monitor the effort at any time. The insights we got were priceless, as people took the surveys at their own convenience. Because they accessed the survey from the box itself, it meant they were actually with our product when responding.”

Talk about a brand community! Here’s one whose members contribute their own photos!


Astra scored a bonus by inviting people to use their mobile devices’ cameras to snap a photo to send with their survey response, showing how they were consuming the Mini Marshmallows. Astra, in turn, could use the photos in social media and other places as user-generated content!

A very short paragraph about a very small expense.

Mobile surveys may perform better than expected—mobile surveys often do. Even so, Astra paid just $29 per month for the Survey Anyplace tool for the three months of the effort. The cost of the stickers was negligible.


Speak-for-themselves results.

Astra had surveyed its customers in the past using email and other survey forms. But by making responding to this particular survey so simple and natural for their mobile-device-enabled customers, Astra got:

• 3 times as many responses as its former survey methods
• 371 enthusiastic customers’ mailing addresses
• Customer photos of their favorite way to enjoy the product

Stefan Debois is CEO & Co-founder of Survey Anyplace. Survey Anyplace Mobile Surveys allow for the capture of real-time customer insights without an app or need for an email address.


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