The following is the first in a two-part blog series addressing How to Capitalize on Market Trends Via Social Media.
When a company name is synonymous with their product category, that business has reached the pinnacle of marketing and advertising. The most common examples of this phenomenon have occurred with household items such as Kleenex®, Q-tips® and Ziploc®. Consumers refer to generic versions of these products by their most popular brand names. This same principle applies to Huy Fong Foods®’ Sriracha sauce – the hot sauce that has taken kitchens, social media, and the world by storm.
The red bottle of sauce with the pointy green cap has become so popular in recent years that it has generated a cult following, and has spawned countless variations of imitation products from other companies. While Huy Fong Foods’ original Sriracha sauce is still the most preferred by the masses, many brands and restaurants are implementing similar ‘Sriracha’ tastes into their products, menus and recipes. Sriracha-flavored everything has become as common as the use of ketchup on fries, or the combination of peanut butter and jelly.
Huy Fong Foods was founded in 1980 in Los Angeles’s Chinatown by David Tran, a Chinese- Vietnamese businessman and former Major in the army of South Vietnam. By 1987, the popularity of Tran’s Sriracha sauce resulted in Huy Fong Foods’ moving to a 68,000 square-foot facility, and by 2013 the company had reached $60M in annual sales.
In 2014, Huy Fong Foods was involved in a lawsuit in which residents near their Irwindale, CA plant complained that fumes from the factory were stinging their eyes and making their neighborhood smell bad. However, the lawsuit was eventually dropped, and as a proactive measure to avoid future issues of the sort, the company opened its factory doors for public tours. The response was overwhelmingly positive, as cult followers of Sriracha sauce flocked to see their version of Graceland.
The factory tours have served as powerful marketing tool, and to this day they are heavily promoted on social media with the hashtag #34spicyyears. Visitors of the plant post images of themselves and the product, and the proliferation of the sauce’s popularity continues to soar.
There is, however, something incredibly unique about the story of David Tran and Huy Fong Foods’ Sriracha sauce. Surely a brand of this magnitude spends a considerable amount of their budget on marketing and advertising…right?
WRONG – the company has never leveraged traditional paid advertising. Instead, the brand has created a dedicated, engaged and loyal following in its community. At the end of the day, Tran’s Sriracha sauce empire is the product of powerful word-of-mouth, combined with efficient use of social media.
As of October of 2015, Huy Fong Foods boasts a significant following on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Like most hot trends (pun intended), other business have tried to catch and ride the massive wave of popularity that Huy Hong Foods has created with their Sriracha sauce – and they’ve succeeded.
In order to get an idea of just how much influence the original Sriracha sauce has had on the CPG and Food & Beverage industries, we collected social data relevant to ten brands that currently incorporate a variation of Sriracha into their products or recipes. Data was collected from August 4th, to October 6th 2015, with the goal of finding out what the overall social conversation surrounding Sriracha was like, who was ‘winning’ the overall discussion, and what did ‘winning’ even mean?
By examining the Volume of social conversation surrounding each brand or product, we were able to determine which business has been able to get the most social media users to discuss or show interest in their Sriracha-inspired product online.
Posts refer to any original content that is created and published by a social media user.
Interactions refer to any action taken by social media users on a piece of content, such as ‘liking’, sharing/retweeting, commenting, etc.
For more insight into How to Capitalize on Market Trends Via Social Media, be sure to download our latest Research Report below!
For teams using social media dashboards, like those in Tracx, making sure everyone who uses these tools understands these changes should be a top priority.
Brands that have not relied on organic reach in Facebook and Instagram will not likely see any changes this year. Those who do will need to take a serious look at other options.