Don’t be a rip-off Wendy’s. Carefully identify your own brand

Building and maintaining an online brand that truly defines you as a company or person is important. Last week, Daily Harvest showed us why. They tried to go the Wendy’s way, and they went the wrong way.

The Brand Beef

Plant-based meal delivery service Daily Harvest went savage last week and started beefs with brands like Sour Patch Kids and Sunny Delight, But their strategy backfired: The company received snarky replies from other brands and Daily Harvest itself left an bad impression on Twitter.

Last week, Daily Harvest left many snarky comments on fast-food brand social media posts.  For instance, they replied to one of McDonald’s Tweets, a Tweet revealing their partnership with Mariah Carey: Mariah is back for the holiday season and this time, she’s bringing a whole menu with her.

Daily Harvest replied: Lowkey kinda shocked Mariah even likes you guys tbh…Like hard to imagine her ordering a Big Mac.

Sour Patch Kids, a Mariah Carey-stan, also commented on McDonald’s Tweet. No wonder she never returned my calls. (as if Mariah only appears during Holiday season!)

Daily Harvest responded:

And then the heat was on. Sour Patch Kids replied: lol ratio, bozo, and the back-and-forth arguing began….Enjoy the Tweets!

Yeah…Not the most fun conversation I’ve seen on Twitter. And a lot of customers and Marketers thought the same. They questioned what on earth Daily Harvest were doing. What was their strategy? Is this really the brand identity of Daily Harvest? Many Marketers felt like they were copying Wendy’s sassy and roasty identity. And that obviously didn’t work.

Why Daily Harvest Went Wendy’s

Brands are on Twitter for the fun: They talk, joke and share memes with customers and other brands. On the ‘Bird App,’ companies like McDonalds, Nike, Coca-Cola and Skittles want to leave a human-like impression:.

One of the corporate accounts that does this very well is Wendy’s, an American fast-food chain. Wendy’s is like the popular teenage girl everyone likes, even when she’s sassy all the time and roasts everyone.

On Twitter, the fast-food brand regularly takes the piss out of its competitor McDonald’s.

Wendy’s doesn’t shy away from roasting its own followers either: Each year, they organize the #NationalRoastDay. Ask them to be roasted and you will get roasted with love and passion.

Check out Wendy’s best roasts of 2021 on Twitter

Everyone loves Wendy’s Roasts. We see that the snarky and sassy strategy works: Wendy’s has 3.8 million followers on Twitter. Other brands notice that too, and some brands might think: “Hey, it has worked for Wendy’s, so why wouldn’t it work for us? Let’s try it ourselves!” Daily Harvest certainly isn’t the first brand that tried to be snarky and failed.

What Daily Harvest’s Twitter Strategy has taught us

In a later Tweet, Daily Harvest told that they wanted to make noise in the food industry. They admitted that the noise they made was a bit too much. After the Twitter fight, Daily Harvest have been a bit more silent, while at the same time leaving a friendlier impression when interacting with others.

The Twitter ‘Brand Wars’ taught us how impactful your Brand Identity and Social Media Strategy (or the lack thereof) can be. Before Tweeting, you first have to figure out what you want to Tweet about: Ask yourself the ‘Whys’ and ‘So whats’, stay close to your own identity and communicate your brand voice consistently.

The ‘Whys’ and ‘So Whats’.

Before posting something, you always have to ask yourself ‘Why?’ and ‘So What?.’ Why am I posting this? Does this post align with my brand? So what would be the added value for your own audience?’

And you should consider ‘Why’ and ‘So What’ too when you’re developing your own brand. Why am I picking this brand identity, voice and language? So what impression would I leave on my audience if I suddenly changed my brand?

Are we going for ‘friendly yet brave’, or going for ‘snarky yet caring?’ And why? Would these adjectives define our brand to the fullest?

To me, and to many others, it just seemed like Daily Harvest tried to mimic Wendy’s brand image, without looking at whether these Tweets would truly match the brand voice of Daily Harvest.

Stay close to your own identity

And that brings me to point two: Stay close to your own brand. Ask yourself whether looking at other brands is the right way to shape your own brand. In the end, a memorable corporate (and personal) brand distinguishes itself from other brands.

Be consistent

Third, it is so important to first strategize your brand identity, brand voice and brand language, you start posting. You build a social media guide for yourself. This guide helps you to communicate and a strong and consistent brand identity on every platform. The guide tells you what to do and what not to do.

It is also very important to have your online brand align with your offline brand. Maree Jones (@mareejones) adds:  “If your Twitter strategy or voice appears more rogue than the rest of your brand, it’s a good indication that there are more significant issues.”

It’s great if your cute or sassy Social Media Strategy brings you the engagement. But it’s less great if that Social Media Strategy doesn’t correlate with what your brand truly stands for.

And I felt like Daily Harvest weren’t consistent. They appeared very snarky on Twitter, but I felt like Daily Harvest was a green, healthy, aesthetic, cute and friendly brand on Instagram (Check out this puppy picture!). Daily Harvest is about ‘good, clean and sustainable food’. And that’s what should be highlighted.

Daily Harvest’s feedback from experimenting

But I do have to admire Daily Harvest’s braveness: They tried something and it didn’t work — it even backfired. But that’s the beauty of Marketing. Sometimes you just have to give it a shot, experiment, and see what happens next. Daily Harvest got valuable feedback from Brands, Customers and Marketers (Even Adweek wrote an article about it). And with that feedback, they can move forwards.

Pick your own brand voice

Brianne (@brianne2k) wrote a great thread on how to build a brand voice from scratch.

Here are some takeaways:

Want to build your own brand?

So do you want to build your own corporate or personal brand? Don’t look at Wendy’s. Because their brand is unique and yours should be too. Define which values and characteristics suit you best, and ask your customers how they would define your brand identity.